In this new post Josh Adell looks at working with PHP sessions and how you can manually encode data to look as if it came from the normal session handling.
If you have ever popped open a PHP session file, or stored session data in a database, you may have noticed that this serialization looks very similar to the serialize function's output, but it is not the same. Recently, I needed to serialize data so that it looked like PHP session data (don't ask why; I highly suggest not doing this if it can be avoided.) It turns out, PHP has a function that encodes data in this format: session_encode.
Unfortunately, this method doesn't take arguments - it just outputs the encoded version of the current session data. So, he came up with his own encode/decode methods that use the PHP session, extract the serialized string and return it.