Service contract design patterns

In the programming community, a design pattern is a recommended way of writing code that includes when to use, or not use, the pattern. Think of a design pattern as a best practice with conditions.

Design patterns for service contracts tell you which types of interfaces to define, and how and where to define and implement those interfaces.

Service contract data interfaces are now mutable.

Interface types and locations

A service contract must define data interfaces, which preserve data integrity, and service interfaces, which hide business logic from service requestors.

Data interfaces define functions that return information about data entities, return search results, and set validation rules and return validation results. You must define the data interfaces for a service contract in the Api/Data subdirectory for a module.

Service interfaces include management, repository, and metadata interfaces. You must define the service interfaces for a service contract in the Api subdirectory for a module.

Data interfaces

Define data interfaces in the Api/Data subdirectory for a module.

For example, the data interfaces for the Customer module are in the /app/code/Magento/Customer/Api/Data subdirectory.

The SimpleDataObjectConverter follows a strict ‘camel case’ to ‘snake case’ conversion of data keys (table columns). You should not use underscores (_) between alphanumerical characters in column names. For example, use default_shipping1 instead of default_shipping_1, as the Data Interface method defaultShipping1 will be converted into default_shipping1.

Data search results interfaces

When you pass search criteria to a getList() call, a search results interface is returned with the search results.

You must define one interface for each data entity for type hinting purposes. That is, the getItems() function in the CustomerSearchResultsInterface returns an array of CustomerInterface data entities. In GroupSearchResultsInterface, the getItems() function returns an array of GroupInterface data entities.

Service interfaces

Service interfaces include several interface subtypes:

  • Repository interfaces
  • Management interfaces
  • Metadata interfaces

For file names and coding standards, follow the defined PHP coding standards.

Place service interfaces in the top-level Api directory for a module.

Repository interfaces

Repository interfaces provide access to persistent data entities.

For example, persistent data entities for the Customer module include Customer, Address, and Group. Consequently, repository interfaces for the Customer module are:

  • CustomerRepositoryInterface
  • AddressRepositoryInterface
  • GroupRepositoryInterface

Repository interfaces must provide these functions:

Function Description

save(data entity interface)

If an ID is not specified, creates a record.

If an ID is specified, updates the record for the specified ID.


Performs a database lookup by ID.

Returns a data entity interface, such as CustomerInterface or AddressInterface.

getList(search criteria)

Performs a search for all data entities that match specified search criteria.

Returns a search results interface that gives access to the set of matches.

delete(data entity interface)

Deletes a specified entity. The entity contains the key (ID).


Deletes a specified entity by key (ID).

Each data entity has a corresponding interface. Consequently, the get() function in the corresponding interface, for example, can return the exact type.

Management interfaces

Management interfaces provide management functions that are not related to repositories. For example:

Interface Description


Defines the createAccount(), changePassword(), activate(), and isEmailAvailable() functions.


Defines the validate() function that validates an address.

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