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Jeremy Cook's Blog: Implementing the ArrayAccess Interface

Note: This article was originally published at PHPDeveloper on 3 February 2012.
PHPDeveloper

Jeremy Cook is back with the next part of his series looking at the handy features PHP's SPL provides. In this new post he looks at the ArrayAccess interface and how it can make your data more accessible to PHP's own array handing functions.

ArrayAccess allows you to treat an object that implements it as if it is an array for the purposes of setting, unsetting and retrieving data from it. Please note the emphasis in the last sentence! ArrayAccess does not make an object behave like an array in any other way. If you pass an object that implements ArrayAccess to a PHP array function such as in_array() you'll still get an error. This will become a little clearer with some of the examples below.

He shows what you'll need to use this interface in your class - implementing the interface and defining a set of four methods to get/set and check for the value in your array. He includes a practical example of pulling data back from an API and wrapping it in a class to make accessing it simpler (also implementing the Countable interface as well, see the previous post for more on that). Code is include to illustrate how it can be used.