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Loading arbitrary/custom files in Craft CMS Plugins


Working with Craft (like any other system) means that you are stuck doing things the way the system dictates or causing a lot of trouble for yourself.

One of the things where this becomes clear is when developers want to use arbitrary classes in their Craft plugins.

Usually this means people just dump the class somewhere (like in the services or model directory), bung an appropriate suffix to their classname (for instance Service or Model) so the class will get auto-loaded and Bob's your uncle.

Of course this has the disadvantage that your meticulously crafted SOAP client is now called SoapClientModel.

Besides being semantically wrong this is also confusing for any developer not familiar with the project.

So I thought to myself "There has to be a better way".

Using the framework's autoloader

At first I tried to get things to work through Composer and use the autoloaders it provides, but that felt very much like going against the grain. Craft is build on top of the YII framework (version 1, not version 2).

So I looked into how YII handles things.

The code of YII.v1 is a bit of an eyesore. Many things that are now considered a bad practice are prevelant in YII.v1. Naming conventions are one of them. This means adhering to some standards that are not PSR-2 or PSR-4 compliant. But it'll work none the less.

Go ahead, be a rebel. I'm sure no-one will mind, as long as it works.

Step by step

  1. Create a directory named src in the root directory of the plugin
  2. Call YiiBase::setPathOfAlias in the init method of the plugin class with a namespace of choice.
  3. Create a class in the src directory using the registered namespace.
  4. Done.

Please be aware that folders/files must match the namespace/classname capitalization. So if your class is called Foo\bar the filepath must be Foo/bar.php

Example files are included with this gist

Variation on a theme

Because of the way the "aliassing" works, it is not possible to add a "sub-namespace". If you have your heart set on using MyVendor\MyPlugin instead of the admittedly ugly MyVendor_MyPlugin, the src directory should be registered as vendor \YiiBase::setPathOfAlias('MyVendor', __DIR__ . '/src'); and a directory needs to be created in src named MyPlugin.

namespace MyVendor_MyPlugin;
class MyClass
/* ... */
namespace Craft;
class MyPlugin extends BasePlugin
/* ... */
function init()
/* Class autoloading */
\YiiBase::setPathOfAlias('MyVendor_MyPlugin', __DIR__ . '/src');
$myClass = new MyVendor_MyPlugin\MyClass(); // works!
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