In Drupal 7 module development, I could include a custom inc, api, or php class file using the file[]= directive in the module.info file or the drupal_load_included() function.

With D8 using PSR, what is the proper way to package up a "plain ole PHP object" and reference it in DefaultController.php? Think something like: $a = new POPO();.

Is just giving the PHP file containing the class a namespace sufficient? How does the controller (or module in general) know to reference or scan for that class?


2 Answers 2


You don't use file[] = ... anymore. Instead, classes are autoloaded. For example, I have a module with the following file structure:

  • views_hybrid/
    • views_hybrid.info.yml
    • views_hybrid.module
    • src/
      • Plugin/
        • Field/
          • FieldFormatter/
            • HybridFormatter.php

HybridFormatter.php defines a class called HybridFormatter.

In my .module file, if I start typing in my IDE (NetBeans in this case) HybridFormatter it autocompletes to \Drupal\views_hybrid\Plugin\Field\FieldFormatter\HybridFormatter:: because it is autoloaded. Since I don't want that whole path littering my module, at the top I have placed the line,

use Drupal\views_hybrid\Plugin\Field\FieldFormatter\HybridFormatter;

along with use directives for other classes I am including for use with my module.

The namespace is defined in HybridFormatter.php like so:

namespace Drupal\views_hybrid\Plugin\Field\FieldFormatter;

class HybridFormatter extends FormatterBase { ... }
  • So to ensure I fully understand, HybridFormatter.php will be autoloaded... automatically? There is no need for an include_once()? Does HybridFormatter.php have a namespace defined?
    – Rick
    Sep 3, 2014 at 18:26
  • There is no need for include_once or require_once or anything. Hybridformatter.php does define a namespace. I'll include in the answer.
    – beth
    Sep 3, 2014 at 18:44
  • @beth Can you help me ? drupal.stackexchange.com/questions/233565/…
    – user60258
    Apr 8, 2017 at 7:03

I'd like to add that for including a custom class that doesn't fit into the D8 "plugin, controller, form, etc." defaults, you can still do so as noted PSR-4 overview here

For my use case, I dropped a "CustomClass.php" in /modules/custom/my_module/src/ At the beginning of the file I included the namespace declaration

namespace Drupal\my_module;

and in the file I wanted to use it in (in this particular case my_theme.theme) I added

use Drupal\my_module\CustomClass;

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