Node Types

Node types in PHPCR are somewhat analogous to table schemas in SQL. Node types enable you to define which items (properties or child nodes) a node may or may not have and what types they should be. They also allow you to apply constraints to these items and to specify if items should be automatically created when the node is created.

Node types can be defined as classes or as CND files. CND is an abbreviation for Compact Namespace and Node Type Definition, and is part of the JCR-283 specification. This tutorial will show examples using both the class and CND formats.

An Example

As an example we will define the node types required by a canonical blog application.

<acmeBlog = "">

[acmeBlog:blog] > nt:base, mix:lastModified, mix:created
- title
+ * (acmeBlog:post)

[acmeBlog:post] > nt:base, mix:lastModified, mix:created
- title (string) mandatory
- date (date) mandatory
- body (string) mandatory
- tags (string) multiple
+ * (acmeBlog:comment)

[acmeBlog:comment] > nt:base, mix:created
- author (string) mandatory
- comment (string) mandatory

Built-in Node Types


This node type does not place any restrictions on its content. This effectively makes the node act like a document in a “NoSQL” database.

nt:file & nt:folder

nt:file and nt:folder are built-in node types useful to map a file structure in the repository. (With jackalope-jackrabbit, files and folders are exposed over webdav).

TODO: List all built-in node types here

The Canonical Example

This has been copied directly from the Jackrabbit Node Type Reference.

/*  An example node type definition */

// The namespace declaration
<ns = ''>

// Node type name

// Supertypes
> ns:ParentType1, ns:ParentType2

// This node type supports orderable child nodes

// This is a mixin node type

// Nodes of this node type have a property called 'ex:property' of type STRING
- ex:property (string)

// The default values for this
// (multi-value) property are...
= 'default1', 'default2'

// This property is the primary item

// and it is...
mandatory autocreated protected

// and multi-valued

// It has an on-parent-version setting of ...

// The constraint settings are...
< 'constraint1', 'constraint2'

// Nodes of this node type have a child node called ns:node which must be of
// at least the node types ns:reqType1 and ns:reqType2
+ ns:node (ns:reqType1, ns:reqType2)

// and the default primary node type of the child node is...
= ns:defaultType

// This child node is...
mandatory autocreated protected

// and supports same name siblings

// and has an on-parent-version setting of ...

Further Reading

  • If you need to store additional properties or children on existing node types like files, note that while a node can have only one primary type, every node can have any mixin types. Define a mixin type declaring your additional properties, register it with PHPCR and addMixin it to the nodes that need it.

You can define your own node types if you want the equivalent of a strictly defined database structure. See JCR 2.0: 3.7 Node Types and JCR 2.0: 19 Node Type Management / PHPCR Node Type Namespace.