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Laravel News:
New Outer Array Functions Coming to PHP 7.3
Jul 18, 2018 @ 12:47:44

On the Laravel News site they've shown a spotlight on a new feature that's coming with the next major release of the PHP language (v7.3): outer array functions.

PHP 7.3 introduces two new array functions for working with the “outer” keys of an array. The RFC proposal included four new functions for both keys and values, but only the array key functions were accepted: array_key_first() and array_key_last().

[...] Although the outer array value functions were declined, at least new functions will be available for getting the outer keys of an array.

They then provide some code examples of this new functionality, showing how use these new functions to extract values. It also includes examples of the two functions - array_value_first and array_value_last - that were rejected from the RFC when voting happened.

tagged: array outer function php73 feature key value

Link: https://laravel-news.com/outer-array-functions-php-7-3

Larry Garfield:
PHP: Use associative arrays basically never
Jul 02, 2018 @ 10:50:59

In a new post Larry Garfield suggests and interesting approach to arrays in PHP: stop using associative arrays (or at least "basically never").

The other day I was working on some sample code to test out an idea that involved an object with an internal nested array. This is a pretty common pattern in PHP: You have some simple one-off internal data structure so you make an informal struct using PHP associative arrays. Maybe you document it in a docblock, or maybe you're a lazy jerk and you don't. (Fight me!) But really, who bothers with defining a class for something that simple?

But that got me wondering, is that common pattern really, you know, good? Are objects actually more expensive or harder to work with than arrays? Or, more to the point, is that true today on PHP 7 given all the optimizations that have happened over the years compared with the bad old days of PHP 4?

So like any good scientist I decided to test it: What I found will shock you!

He starts by describing his test environment (a local environment, not a cloud one) and the code for his baseline tests. The code generates an array of one million items where each item is an associative array of an integer/string combo. He wants to see what kind of memory consumption is involved in the creation and processing of this data set via sorting. His second test evaluated the serialization size (again, code provided) again checking the memory consumption. He shares the results of these tests and then moves on to similar tests on:

  • stdClass instances
  • objects with public properties
  • objects with private properties
  • anonymous classes

The post ends with a summary showing the results of all tests side-by-side with some interesting results (but you'll have to check out the post for yourself if you want to see those).

tagged: associative array never benchmark object class anonymous results statistics

Link: https://steemit.com/php/@crell/php-use-associative-arrays-basically-never

Frank de Jonge:
Array destructuring in PHP
May 01, 2018 @ 09:48:15

Frank de Jonge has a post to his site sharing some helpful hints around the use of arrays in PHP. In this quick post he covers some of the array "superpowers", list assignments and nested destructuring.

One of the things I like the most about JavaScript, and PHP also to some extent, is how flexible and expressive they CAN be (but not always are). I also believe that JavaScript, PHP, and Python have a number of features that make them a good fit for serving the forefront of the web.

[...] The most versatile type of PHP, to me, is the array. The array can be used to act like many different classic data types. You can use them as a List, a Set (although that requires some specific handling), a HashMap, just to name a few.

He starts with the "superpowers" that arrays gained in PHP 7.1 (the square bracket syntax for destructuring) and some code examples showing it in action. He then moves on to show how this update works for list assignment. He finishes up the list with a look at nested destructuring and referencing values from subarrays with this same square bracket syntax.

tagged: array destructure language square bracket php71 tutorial

Link: https://blog.frankdejonge.nl/array-destructuring-in-php/

Pineco.de:
Little Snippets to Keep Your Code Cleaner
Mar 01, 2018 @ 09:45:25

The Pineco.de blog has a post sharing some little snippets of code that can help to keep things cleaner and perform some common operations.

Sometimes it’s harder to keep your code clean and readable than to implement some architecture in your application. We collected some snippets that may help you to refactor your code.

Their list includes code to help with:

  • array casting
  • type checking
  • removing unnecessary "if" statements

They also have several others for different languages on the snippets page of their site for Javascript, Laravel, WordPress and even an .htaccess configuration.

tagged: cleaner code snippet function array typecheck refactor tutorial

Link: https://pineco.de/little-snippets-keep-code-cleaner/

Larry Garfield:
Short and safe array iteration
Oct 26, 2017 @ 10:41:19

Larry Garfield has a new post to his site sharing a method for short and safe array iteration based on a "neat trick" he picked up reading a mailing list.

PHP's largely loose, dynamic typing has plenty of both pros and cons. One con in particular is that you don't always know for sure if a value you're trying to use has been set yet, or is non-null. PHP will dutifully whine at you if you try to use a null value, sometimes fatally. (Yet another reason to structure your code to avoid nulls, period.)

One place this comes up in particular is in foreach() loops, especially when working with nested array structures. (PHP lacks a struct type, but makes anonymous hash maps so easy that they get used as the uber data type, for better or worse.)

He gives an example of looping through a dataset with a foreach where the array index reference is used to reference the source array. While you could always wrap the loop in an if statement to check first, he has another interesting method to do the same thing. With the help of the null-coalesce operator (??) in PHP 7, you can essentially say: "if the array index referenced is null/does not exist, use an empty set". Check out the rest of the post for code examples putting this method to use.

tagged: array iteration nullcoalesce operator array null tutorial

Link: https://www.garfieldtech.com/blog/short-array-iteration

Larry Garfield:
Short and safe array iteration
Oct 26, 2017 @ 10:41:19

Larry Garfield has a new post to his site sharing a method for short and safe array iteration based on a "neat trick" he picked up reading a mailing list.

PHP's largely loose, dynamic typing has plenty of both pros and cons. One con in particular is that you don't always know for sure if a value you're trying to use has been set yet, or is non-null. PHP will dutifully whine at you if you try to use a null value, sometimes fatally. (Yet another reason to structure your code to avoid nulls, period.)

One place this comes up in particular is in foreach() loops, especially when working with nested array structures. (PHP lacks a struct type, but makes anonymous hash maps so easy that they get used as the uber data type, for better or worse.)

He gives an example of looping through a dataset with a foreach where the array index reference is used to reference the source array. While you could always wrap the loop in an if statement to check first, he has another interesting method to do the same thing. With the help of the null-coalesce operator (??) in PHP 7, you can essentially say: "if the array index referenced is null/does not exist, use an empty set". Check out the rest of the post for code examples putting this method to use.

tagged: array iteration nullcoalesce operator array null tutorial

Link: https://www.garfieldtech.com/blog/short-array-iteration

Sebastian De Deyne:
The List Function & Practical Uses of Array Destructuring in PHP
May 15, 2017 @ 10:26:37

Sebastian De Deyne has written up a post to his site spotlighting PHP's list function and showing how it can be used for "array destructuring" and how recent changes in PHP 7.1.x make it more useful.

PHP 7.1 introduced a new syntax for the list() function. I've never really seen too much list() calls in the wild, but it enables you to write some pretty neat stuff.

This post is a primer of list() and it's PHP 7.1 short notation, and an overview of some use cases I've been applying them to.

He starts with a basic introduction to the list function and how it assigns out variables based on an array. He then shows examples of the updates that came with PHP 7.1, allowing you to specify the key from an array to more selectively extract only the value you want. Three "exhibits" are then provided, showing actual use cases for this functionality: basicunpacking examples, creating tuples and handling multiple return values.

tagged: list function use array destructuring php71 functionality tutorial tuple returnvalue

Link: https://sebastiandedeyne.com/posts/2017/the-list-function-and-practical-uses-of-array-destructuring-in-php

TutsPlus.com:
Working With PHP Arrays in the Right Way
Apr 26, 2017 @ 11:57:09

If you're relatively new to the PHP language and are just getting your feet wet, the massive amounts of array functionality included in the language could be confusing. This is where this new article on the TutsPlus.com site comes in, showing you how to work with PHP arrays "the right way".

n this tutorial, I am going to make a list of common PHP array functions with examples of usage and best practices. Every PHP developer must know how to use them and how to combine array functions to make code readable and short.

Also, there is a presentation with given code examples, so you can download it from the related links and show it to your colleagues to build a stronger team.

He starts out with some of the basics around using arrays in PHP and then quickly moves into other topics:

  • shortening code with functions like list
  • using the filtering functions
  • walking through array values
  • joining arrays
  • generating arrays
  • sorting the contents of arrays

He ends the post with a look at combining array functions to make it simpler to do things like remove empty values or return just the top three values.

tagged: tutorial introduction array functionality language

Link: https://code.tutsplus.com/tutorials/working-with-php-arrays-in-the-right-way--cms-28606

Exakat Blog:
Moving from array to class
Apr 12, 2017 @ 11:18:42

In a new post to the Exakat blog there's a proposal to replace uses of arrays with classes to make scripts more efficient and handle resources better behind the scenes.

Ever since I started using PHP, arrays have always been my friend. They are versatile, they have a wide range of functions, and they are easy to use. I kept using them versions after versions, and even with PHP 7.2, I still rely on them a lot. Over the years, classes have also made their way into my toolset. They have a different usage : classes are for complex data structures, for business logic. Simple data structures get an array. Until we tried what seemed impossible : a moving from an array to a class.

He mentions some of the recent changes in PHP 7 that make the use of classes over arrays a bit more advantageous. He then gets into how to take advantage of these efficiency benefits in moving from arrays to classes. He uses an example from his own work in the Exacat engine, how he performed the replacement and a small caveat he found when working with functions requiring array input. He ends the post with some of the other benefits from making the move including performance enhancements, readability and reduced memory usage.

tagged: array class performance difference tutorial php7

Link: https://www.exakat.io/moving-from-array-to-class/

SitePoint PHP Blog:
Creating Strictly Typed Arrays and Collections in PHP
Mar 27, 2017 @ 12:45:06

On the SitePoint PHP blog there's a new post from Bert Ramakers showing you how to create strictly typed arrays and collections in PHP.

One of the language features announced back in PHP 5.6 was the addition of the ... token to denote that a function or method accepts a variable length of arguments.

Something I rarely see mentioned is that it’s possible to combine this feature with type hints to essentially create typed arrays.

He starts with an example of a class/method that only takes in a certain type of objects as a collection (using the "...") with a fatal thrown if anything else is given. He also shows how to do the same thing with scalar types and the "..." operator with a typed input. He does point out one problem with this approach, namely that if more complex input is required the single type just wouldn't work. His solution involves custom collection classes where the settings are in the collection and not passed directly into the method. This collection then contains some of the base functionality (like getting an average value from a set of floats) and can be enhanced with other typical interfaces to work like any other collection. He also presents another option: using value objects for validation of the input.

tagged: collection array strict typing tutorial operator

Link: https://www.sitepoint.com/creating-strictly-typed-arrays-collections-php/