Extending sabre/dav

If you are writing your own classes to extend sabre/dav, either because you are creating your own nodes, backend classes or plugins, you're extending sabre/dav.

We've noticed a fair amount of people doing this incorrectly. If you already know how to define your own classes in your own namespace and actively use composer, you can skip this guide.

Pick a namespace

All sabre/dav classes start with Sabre\. You are not allowed to use this namespace. Instead, pick a different namespace that matches your product or company.

For example, the Baikal project extends sabre/dav in a few places, and puts all its classes in a Baikal\ namespace. If your product is named Foo, you might want to put everything in a Foo namespace, or maybe Foo\DAV.

Use composer for installation

You should no longer use the .zip file install sabre/dav. Instead, you must use composer.

To do this, start with an empty directory and create a composer.json file that contains something like this:

    "name" : "foo/dav",
    "description" : "This is the FOO WebDAV server",
    "require" : {
        "sabre/dav" : "~3.2.0"
    "autoload" : {
        "psr-4" : {
            "Foo\\" : "src/"

A few things in this file are important:

After you've done this, run composer install on the command line to have it automatically download sabre/dav in the vendor directory.

Later on you can run composer update to update sabre/dav to the latest version.

Get your server.php in order

Usually the next step is to get your own server.php written. You can just copy example files from vendor/sabre/dav/examples, and they should mostly just work.

Add your own classes

Say if you are defining your own auth backend, this might look something like:


namespace Foo\Auth;

class Backend extends \Sabre\DAV\Auth\Backend\AbstractBasic {




Since this file defines Foo\Auth\Backend, it must live in the following filename:


Why src? Because that's what we've picked in composer.json.

If you've set it up correctly, your server.php will now automatically be able to autoload the php files in your namespace.

The full directory structure

If you've completed all the earlier steps, the directory structure in your project should now look like this:

Why can't I write my classes in the Sabre/ namespace?

The main reason in that from a philosophical point of view, you don't own or the sabre/dav project. The main reason people tend to make changes in the Sabre/ namespace, is because they think it's the only way they can extend sabre/dav.

The biggest issue is that you are now effectivelty making 'changes' to the sabre/dav project by adding files, or maybe even changing existing ones.

This makes it incredibly hard to figure out what you've changed, and to do updates in the future.

In contrast, if you did things the correct way, upgrading sabre/dav might be a matter of composer update.

In general this is also a fairly big 'offense' for any PHP development. This is not at all unique to sabre/dav, but the issue was common enough to warrant a guide on this website.