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Extensions (also referred to as decorators) allow for adding additional functionality to a DataObject.

In some cases, it can be easier to completely replace the used class throughout the core with your custom implementation. Have a look at Object->useCustomClass()&version=2.4&module=framework).


Your Decorator will nee to be a subclass of DataObjectDecorator or the Extension class.


// mysite/code/CustomMember.php

class CustomMember extends DataObjectDecorator {


This defines your own extension where you can add your own functions, database fields or other properties you want. After you create this extension however it does not yet apply it to your object. Next you need to tell SilverStripe what class you want to extend.

Adding a decorator to a built-in class

Sometimes you will want to add decorators to classes that you didn't make. For example, you might want to add the ForumRole decorator to the Member object.

Object::add_extension('Class You Want To Override', 'Your Class Name');

For example above we want to override Member with a Custom Member so we would write the following

// add to mysite/_config.php    
Object::add_extension('Member', 'CustomMember');</code>


Adding extra database fields

Extra database fields can be added with a decorator by defining an extraStatics() method. These will be added to the table of the base object - the decorator will actually edit the $db, $has_one, etc static variables on load.

The function should return a map where the keys are the names of the static variables to update:

class CustomMember extends DataObjectDecorator {

    function extraStatics() {
        return array(
            'db' => array(
                'AvatarURL' => 'Varchar',
            'has_one' => array(
                'RelatedMember' => 'Member',

NOTE If you want to add has_one or db items to a particular class, then that class must have that static variable explicitly defined, even if it's just a blank array. For example, the decorator method above wouldn't work if you added to a class that didn't have static $has_one explicitly declared on the object. This is because of PHP's crappy support for statics.

Modifying CMS Fields

The member class demonstrates an extension that allows you to update the default CMS fields for an object in a decorator:

public function getCMSFields() {
   $this->extend('updateCMSFields', $fields);
   return $fields;

The $fields parameter is passed by reference, as it is an object.

public function updateCMSFields(FieldSet $fields) {
   $fields->push(new TextField('Position', 'Position Title'));
   $fields->push(new ImageField('Image', 'Profile Image'));

Custom database generation

Some decorators are designed to transparently add more sophisticated data-collection capabilities to your data object. For example, Versioned adds version tracking and staging to any data object that it is applied to. To do this, you need to be able to create additional database tables and fields to keep your state stored in.

To do this, define an augmentDatabase() method on your decorator. This will be called when db/build is visited.

  • You can query $this->owner for information about the data object, such as the fields it has
  • You can use DB::requireTable($tableName, $fieldList, $indexList) to set up your new tables. This function takes care of creating, modifying, or leaving tables as required, based on your desired schema.

Custom write queries

If you have customised the generated database, then you probably want to change the way that writes happen. This is used by Versioned to get an entry written in ClassName_versions whenever an insert/update happens.

To do this, define the augmentWrite(&$manipulation) method. This method is passed a manipulation array representing the write about to happen, and is able to amend this as desired, since it is passed by reference.

Custom relation queries

The other queries that you will want to customise are the selection queries, called by get & get_one. For example, the Versioned object has code to redirect every request to ClassName_live, if you are browsing the live site.

To do this, define the augmentSQL(SQLQuery &$query) method. Again, the $query object is passed by reference and can be modified as needed by your method. Instead of a manipulation array, we have a SQLQuery object.

Additional methods

The other thing you may want to do with a decorator is provide a method that can be called on the DataObject that is being decorated. For instance, you may add a publish() method to every DataObject that is decorated with Versioned.

This is as simple as defining a method called publish() on your decorator. Bear in mind, however, that instead of $this, you should be referring to $this->owner.

If you want to add your own internal properties, you can add this to the DataObjectDecorator, and these will be referred to as $this->propertyName. Every DataObject has an associated DataObjectDecorator instance for each class that it is decorated by.

class Customer extends DataObject {

 static $has_one = array('Account'=>'Account');

 static $extensions = array(


class Account extends DataObject {

 static $db = array(

 static $has_many = array('Customers'=>'Customer');


class CustomerWorkflow extends DataObjectDecorator {

 function IsMarkedForDeletion() {
     return ($this->owner->Account()->IsMarkedForDeletion == 1) ? true : false;


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