Login to bookmark this video
Buy Access to Course

Removing Items from a Collection


Share this awesome video!


Keep on Learning!

With a Subscription, click any sentence in the script to jump to that part of the video!

Login Subscribe

Close up the POST operation. I want to make a GET request to the collection of users. Let's see here - the user with id 4 has one CheeseListing attached to it - id 2. Ok, close up that operation and open up the operation for PUT: I want to edit that User. Enter 4 for the id.

First, I'm going to do something that we've already seen: let's just update the cheeseListings field: set it to an array with one IRI inside: /api/cheeses/2. If we did nothing else, this would set this property to... exactly what it already equals: user id 4 already has this one CheeseListing.

But now, add another IRI: /api/cheeses/3. That already exists, but is owned by another user. When I hit Execute.... pfff - I get a syntax error, because I left an extra comma on my JSON. Boo Ryan. Let's... try that again. This time... bah! A 400 status code:

This value should not be blank

My experiments with validation just came back to bite me! We set the title for CheeseListing 3 to an empty string in the database... it's basically a "bad" record that snuck in when we were playing with embedded validation. We could fix that title.. or... just change this to /api/cheeses/1. Execute!

The Serializer only Calls Adders for New Items

This time, it works! But, no surprise - we've basically done this! Internally, the serializer sees the existing CheeseListing IRI - /api/cheeses/2, realizes that this is already set on our User, and... does nothing. I mean, maybe it goes and gets a coffee or takes a walk. But, it most definitely does not call $user->addCheeseListing()... or really do anything. But when it sees the new IRI - /api/cheeses/1, it figures out that this CheeseListing does not exist on the User yet, and so, it does call $user->addCheeseListing(). That's why adder and remover methods are so handy: the serializer is smart enough to only call them when an object is truly being added or removed.

Removing Items from a Collection

Now, let's do the opposite: pretend that we want to remove a CheeseListing from this User - remove /api/cheeses/2. What do you think will happen? Execute and... woh! An integrity constraint error!

An exception occurred when executing UPDATE cheese_listing SET owner_id=NULL - column owner_id cannot be null.

This is cool! The serializer noticed that we removed the CheeseListing with id = 2. And so, it correctly called $user->removeCheeseListing() and passed CheeseListing id 2. Then, our generated code set the owner on that CheeseListing to null.

Depending on the situation and the nature of the relationship and entities, this might be exactly what you want! Or, if this were a ManyToMany relationship, the result of that generated code would basically be to "unlink" the two objects.


But in our case, we don't ever want a CheeseListing to be an "orphan" in the database. In fact... that's exactly why we made owner nullable=false and why we're seeing this error! Nope, if a CheeseListing is removed from a User... I guess we really need to just delete that CheeseListing entirely!

And... yea, doing that is easy! All the way back up above the $cheeseListings property, add orphanRemoval=true.

187 lines | src/Entity/User.php
// ... lines 1 - 22
class User implements UserInterface
// ... lines 25 - 58
* @ORM\OneToMany(targetEntity="App\Entity\CheeseListing", mappedBy="owner", cascade={"persist"}, orphanRemoval=true)
// ... lines 61 - 62
private $cheeseListings;
// ... lines 65 - 185

This means, if any of the CheeseListings in this array suddenly... are not in this array, Doctrine will delete them. Just, realize that if you try to reassign a CheeseListing to another User, it will still delete that CheeseListing. So, just make sure you only use this when that's not a use-case. We've been changing the owner of cheese listings a bunch... but only as an example: it doesn't really make sense, so this is perfect.

Execute one more time. It works... and only /api/cheeses/1 is there. And if we go all the way back up to fetch the collection of cheese listings... yea, CheeseListing id 2 is gone.

Next, when you combine relations and filtering... well... you get some pretty serious power.