String Inflection

Laminas\Filter\Inflector is a general purpose tool for rules-based inflection of strings to a given target.

As an example, you may find you need to transform MixedCase or camelCasedWords into a path; for readability, OS policies, or other reasons, you also need to lower case this; and finally, you want to separate the words using a dash (-). An inflector can do this for you.

Laminas\Filter\Inflector implements Laminas\Filter\FilterInterface; you perform inflection by calling filter() on the object instance.

Transforming MixedCase and CamelCaseText to another Format

$inflector = new Laminas\Filter\Inflector('pages/:page.:suffix');
    ':page'  => ['Word\CamelCaseToDash', 'StringToLower'],
    'suffix' => 'html',

$string   = 'camelCasedWords';
$filtered = $inflector->filter(['page' => $string]);
// pages/camel-cased-words.html

$string   = 'this_is_not_camel_cased';
$filtered = $inflector->filter(['page' => $string]);
// pages/this_is_not_camel_cased.html


An inflector requires a target and one or more rules. A target is basically a string that defines placeholders for variables you wish to substitute. These are specified by prefixing with a :: :script.

When calling filter(), you then pass in an array of key and value pairs corresponding to the variables in the target.

Each variable in the target can have zero or more rules associated with them. Rules may be either static or refer to a laminas-filter class. Static rules will replace with the text provided. Otherwise, a class matching the rule provided will be used to inflect the text. Classes are typically specified using a short name indicating the filter name stripped of any common prefix.

As an example, you can use any laminas-filter concrete implementations; however, instead of referring to them as Laminas\I18n\Filter\Alpha or Laminas\Filter\StringToLower, you'd specify only Alpha or StringToLower.

Using Custom Filters

Laminas\Filter\Inflector uses Laminas\Filter\FilterPluginManager to manage loading filters to use with inflection. By default, filters registered with Laminas\Filter\FilterPluginManager are available. To access filters with that prefix but which occur deeper in the hierarchy, such as the various Word filters, simply strip off the Laminas\Filter prefix:

// use Laminas\Filter\Word\CamelCaseToDash as a rule
$inflector->addRules(['script' => 'Word\CamelCaseToDash']);

To use custom filters, you have two choices: reference them by fully qualified class name (e.g., My\Custom\Filter\Mungify), or manipulate the composed FilterPluginManager instance.

$filters = $inflector->getPluginManager();
$filters->addInvokableClass('mungify', 'My\Custom\Filter\Mungify');

Setting the Inflector Target

The inflector target is a string with some placeholders for variables. Placeholders take the form of an identifier, a colon (:) by default, followed by a variable name: :script, :path, etc. The filter() method looks for the identifier followed by the variable name being replaced.

You can change the identifier using the setTargetReplacementIdentifier() method, or passing it as the fourth argument to the constructor:

// Via constructor:
$inflector = new Laminas\Filter\Inflector('#foo/#bar.#sfx', array(), null, '#');

// Via accessor:

Typically, you will set the target via the constructor. However, you may want to re-set the target later. setTarget() can be used for this purpose:


Additionally, you may wish to have a class member for your class that you can use to keep the inflector target updated — without needing to directly update the target each time (thus saving on method calls). setTargetReference() allows you to do this:

class Foo
     * @var string Inflector target
    protected $target = 'foo/:bar/:baz.:suffix';

     * Constructor
     * @return void
    public function __construct()
        $this->inflector = new Laminas\Filter\Inflector();

     * Set target; updates target in inflector
     * @param  string $target
     * @return Foo
    public function setTarget($target)
        $this->target = $target;
        return $this;

Inflection Rules

As mentioned in the introduction, there are two types of rules: static and filter-based.

Order is important

It is important to note that regardless of the method in which you add rules to the inflector, either one-by-one, or all-at-once; the order is very important. More specific names, or names that might contain other rule names, must be added before least specific names. For example, assuming the two rule names moduleDir and module, the moduleDir rule should appear before module since module is contained within moduleDir. If module were added before moduleDir, module will match part of moduleDir and process it leaving Dir inside of the target uninflected.

Static Rules

Static rules do simple string substitution; use them when you have a segment in the target that will typically be static, but which you want to allow the developer to modify. Use the setStaticRule() method to set or modify the rule:

$inflector = new Laminas\Filter\Inflector(':script.:suffix');
$inflector->setStaticRule('suffix', 'phtml');

// change it later:
$inflector->setStaticRule('suffix', 'php');

Much like the target itself, you can also bind a static rule to a reference, allowing you to update a single variable instead of require a method call; this is often useful when your class uses an inflector internally, and you don't want your users to need to fetch the inflector in order to update it. The setStaticRuleReference() method is used to accomplish this:

class Foo
     * @var string Suffix
    private $suffix = 'phtml';

     * Constructor
     * @return void
    public function construct()
        $this->inflector = new Laminas\Filter\Inflector(':script.:suffix');
        $this->inflector->setStaticRuleReference('suffix', $this->suffix);

     * Set suffix; updates suffix static rule in inflector
     * @param  string $suffix
     * @return Foo
    public function setSuffix($suffix)
        $this->suffix = $suffix;
        return $this;

Filter-Based Inflector Rules

Laminas\Filter filters may be used as inflector rules as well. Just like static rules, these are bound to a target variable; unlike static rules, you may define multiple filters to use when inflecting. These filters are processed in order, so be careful to register them in an order that makes sense for the data you receive.

Rules may be added using setFilterRule() (which overwrites any previous rules for that variable) or addFilterRule() (which appends the new rule to any existing rule for that variable). Filters are specified in one of the following ways:

  • String. The string may be a filter class name, or a class name segment minus any prefix set in the inflector's plugin loader (by default, minus the 'Laminas\Filter' prefix).
  • Filter object. Any object instance implementing Laminas\Filter\FilterInterface may be passed as a filter.
  • Array. An array of one or more strings or filter objects as defined above.
$inflector = new Laminas\Filter\Inflector(':script.:suffix');

// Set rule to use Laminas\Filter\Word\CamelCaseToDash filter
$inflector->setFilterRule('script', 'Word\CamelCaseToDash');

// Add rule to lowercase string
$inflector->addFilterRule('script', new Laminas\Filter\StringToLower());

// Set rules en-masse
$inflector->setFilterRule('script', [
    new Laminas\Filter\StringToLower()

Setting many Rules at once

Typically, it's easier to set many rules at once than to configure a single variable and its inflection rules one at a time. Laminas\Filter\Inflector's addRules() and setRules() methods allow this.

Each method takes an array of variable and rule pairs, where the rule may be whatever the type of rule accepts (string, filter object, or array). Variable names accept a special notation to allow setting static rules and filter rules, according to the following notation:

  • : prefix: filter rules.
  • No prefix: static rule.

As an example:

// Could also use setRules() with this notation:
    // Filter rules:
    ':controller' => ['Word\CamelCaseToUnderscore','StringToLower'],
    ':action'     => ['Word\CamelCaseToUnderscore','StringToLower'],

    // Static rule:
    'suffix'      => 'phtml',

Utility Methods

Laminas\Filter\Inflector has a number of utility methods for retrieving and setting the plugin loader, manipulating and retrieving rules, and controlling if and when exceptions are thrown.

  • setPluginManager() can be used when you have configured your own Laminas\Filter\FilterPluginManager instance and wish to use it with Laminas\Filter\Inflector; getPluginManager() retrieves the currently set one.
  • setThrowTargetExceptionsOn() can be used to control whether or not filter() throws an exception when a given replacement identifier passed to it is not found in the target. By default, no exceptions are thrown. isThrowTargetExceptionsOn() will tell you what the current value is.
  • getRules($spec = null) can be used to retrieve all registered rules for all variables, or just the rules for a single variable.
  • getRule($spec, $index) fetches a single rule for a given variable; this can be useful for fetching a specific filter rule for a variable that has a filter chain. $index must be passed.
  • clearRules() will clear all currently registered rules.

Using a Traversable or an Array

You can use a Traversable or an array to set rules and other object state in your inflectors, by passing either type to either the constructor or the setOptions() method. The following settings may be specified:

  • target specifies the inflection target.
  • pluginManager specifies the Laminas\Filter\FilterPluginManager instance or extension to use for obtaining plugins; alternately, you may specify a class name of a class that extends the FilterPluginManager.
  • throwTargetExceptionsOn should be a boolean indicating whether or not to throw exceptions when a replacement identifier is still present after inflection.
  • targetReplacementIdentifier specifies the character to use when identifying replacement variables in the target string.
  • rules specifies an array of inflection rules; it should consist of keys that specify either values or arrays of values, consistent with addRules().

As examples:

// $options implements Traversable:

// With the constructor:
$inflector = new Laminas\Filter\Inflector($options);

// Or with setOptions():
$inflector = new Laminas\Filter\Inflector();