In this recent post to his blog Luc de Brouwer makes a recommendation about dereferencing your arrays - start thinking about it now even before the feature's added to the stable release!
Ever since I started programming object oriented PHP I've been using function chaining and function dereferencing. But there is another thing I'd like to be able to do that was added to the PHP trunk over 8 months ago that still hasn't made it to the current release. The function I'm referring to is array dereferencing.
The trick of dereferencing arrays is that you can pull out a value from a returned array without having to use another line of code (i.e. "foo()['a']"). His suggestion is that you start thinking that way now, but use a sort of hack function to pull it off - one that takes the array and a key and returns that value. There's other suggestions in the comments on how to do things differently though.