Viewed   63 times

In this code:

class Foo
    var $value;

    function foo($value)

    function setValue($value)

class Bar
    var $foos=array();

    function Bar()
        for ($x=1; $x<=10; $x++)
            $this->foos[$x]=new Foo("Foo # $x");

    function getFoo($index)
        return $this->foos[$index];

    function test()
        $testFoo->setValue("My value has now changed");

When the method Bar::test() is run and it changes the value of foo # 5 in the array of foo objects, will the actual foo # 5 in the array be affected, or will the $testFoo variable be only a local variable which would cease to exist at the end of the function?



Why not run the function and find out?

$b = new Bar;
echo $b->getFoo(5)->value;
echo $b->getFoo(5)->value;

For me the above code (along with your code) produced this output:

Foo #5
My value has now changed

This isn't due to "passing by reference", however, it is due to "assignment by reference". In PHP 5 assignment by reference is the default behaviour with objects. If you want to assign by value instead, use the clone keyword.

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Background: You asked for a "simple explanation" which suggests:

  1. You want a no-nonsense overview without jargon
  2. You want something that will help you learn from the beginning
  3. You have discovered that no two people ever answer the question the same way, and it's confusing. That's the reason you are here asking for a simple explanation. Yes?

Short No-Jargon Answer:

  1. Many introductory explanations jump quickly into "OOP real world" examples. Those can tend to confuse more than help, so feel free to ignore that for now.
  2. You can think of source code simply as "chunks" of functionality, that just happen to be saved to individual files.
  3. There are different ways of organizing those "chunks"; depending on things like conventions of the programming language, the background and training of the developer(s), or just plain old personal preference.
  4. OOP and Procedural programming are simply two main, generally-recognized methodologies, for how to organize and arrange those "chunks" of code.

Long No-Jargon Answer:

Procedural vs OOP is just one aspect of a fundamental issue of computer programming: how to make your code easy to understand and a piece of cake to professionally maintain. You can actually write "Procedural" code that follows some of the principles of OOP, so the two are not necessarily opposites.

Your understanding will really grow once you learn other object-oriented programming languages, among which, PHP is a "new kid on the block".

Here is a quick overview of what you will learn as you build experience:

  • You can write PHP source code that does useful tasks

  • You can organize useful tasks into "chunks" of code

  • You can think of "chunks" of code independently of the individual files where they are saved

  • Sometimes those "chunks" of code will behave differently based on parameters you pass in

  • Chunks of code that accept parameters are called "Functions"

  • Functions can be "chunked" together, and there are different ways of doing this:

    • For example: you could have just one big PHP file with all the functions you have ever written in your entire life, listed in alphabetical order by function name
    • For example: you could have multiple PHP files with functions that are chunked together by subject matter [e.g., functions for doing basic string manipulation, functions for processing arrays, functions for file input/output, etc]
  • OOP is a special way of "chunking" Functions together into a "Class"

  • A Class is just another level of "chunking" code together so that you can treat it as a unified whole

  • A Class can be thought of as a "chunking" of methods and properties

    • methods are simply functions that are logically related to one another in some meaningful way. The words "method" and "function" are basically two different terms for the same thing.
    • properties are simply data values that are related to the class. These are values that are intentionally non-isolated to any individual function, because more than one of the functions in the class should have access to them.
      • For example: if your class has a bunch of methods for doing astronomy, properties of the class might be the values for certain famous numbers that all astronomy methods need to know about (like Pi, the speed of light, the distance between specific planets, etc.).
    • This is where most OOP explanations get confusing because they branch off into "real world examples" which can quickly get off-topic. Often, "real world" is a euphemism for the ontological perspectives of a particular individual or group. That tends to be useful only once you already understand the concept well enough to teach it to someone else.
    • To understand OOP without confusion, you can skip the "real world" examples for now, and just focus on the code. A Class is simply a way to store functions (aka methods) and properties (aka data) as PHP code in one or more related "chunks" where each individual "chunk" deals with a specific topic or piece of functionality. That's all you need to know in order to get started.
  • A Class is useful because it allows you to organize your code at a very high level in a way that makes it easy for you to understand, use, and maintain.

  • When someone has written a lot of functions, and organized them into a lot of Classes, and gotten those to work together in some cool way, they package the whole thing together and call it a "Framework".

  • A Framework is just the next-highest level of "chunking" (including coding style and conventions) that one or more people agree on because they like the way the code is organized and it suits their working style, preferences, values, plans for world domination, etc.

See also

  • OOP appeal
Thursday, September 15, 2022

In a lot of scenarios, procedural programming is just fine. Using OO for the sake of using it is useless, especially if you're just going to end up with POD objects (plain-old-data).

The power of OO comes mainly from inheritance and polymorphism. If you use classes, but never use either of those two concepts, you probably don't need to be using a class in the first place.

One of the nicest places IMO that OO shines in, is allowing you to get rid of switch-on-type code. Consider:

function drive($the_car){


      case 'ferrari':

      case 'mazerati':

      case 'bentley':

with its OO alternative:

function drive($the_car){


Polymorphism will allow the proper type of "driving" to happen, based on runtime information.

Notes on polymorphism:

The second example here has some premisses: That is that all car classes will either extend an abstract class or implement an interface.

Both allow you to force extending or implementing classes to define a specific function, such as drive(). This is very powerful as it allows you to drive() all cars without having to know which one you're driving; that is because they're extending an abstract class containing the drive() method or implementing an interface forcing the drive() method to be defined.

So as long as you make sure that all your specific cars either extend the abstract class car or implement an interface such as canBeDriven (both of which must declare the drive() method) you can just call the drive() method on an object which you know is a car (but not what type of car) without fear of it not being defined, as PHP will throw fatal errors at you until you define those methods in your specific car classes.

Thursday, September 1, 2022

For the second part of your question, see the array page of the manual, which states (quoting) :

Array assignment always involves value copying. Use the reference operator to copy an array by reference.

And the given example :

$arr1 = array(2, 3);
$arr2 = $arr1;
$arr2[] = 4; // $arr2 is changed,
             // $arr1 is still array(2, 3)

$arr3 = &$arr1;
$arr3[] = 4; // now $arr1 and $arr3 are the same

For the first part, the best way to be sure is to try ;-)

Consider this example of code :

function my_func($a) {
    $a[] = 30;

$arr = array(10, 20);

It'll give this output :

  0 => int 10
  1 => int 20

Which indicates the function has not modified the "outside" array that was passed as a parameter : it's passed as a copy, and not a reference.

If you want it passed by reference, you'll have to modify the function, this way :

function my_func(& $a) {
    $a[] = 30;

And the output will become :

  0 => int 10
  1 => int 20
  2 => int 30

As, this time, the array has been passed "by reference".

Don't hesitate to read the References Explained section of the manual : it should answer some of your questions ;-)

Friday, December 9, 2022

There seems to be a lot of confusion around this "issue". Variables names in Python are actually all references to objects. Assignements to variable names aren't actually changing the objects themselves, but setting the reference to a new object. So in your case:

foo = 1 #

def test(bar):
    # At this point, "bar" points to the same object as foo.
    bar = 2    # We're updating the name "bar" to point an object "int(2)".
    # 'foo' still points to its original object, "int(1)".
    print foo, bar # Therefore we're showing two different things.


The way Python's syntax resembles C and the fact many things are syntactic sugar can be confusing. Remembering that integer objects are acually immutable, and it seems weird that foo += 1 could be a valid statement. In actuality, foo += 1 is actually equivalent to foo = foo + 1, both of which translate to foo = foo.__add__(1), which actually returns a new object, as shown here:

>>> a = 1
>>> id (a)
>>> a += 1
>>> id(a)
Thursday, September 1, 2022
Only authorized users can answer the search term. Please sign in first, or register a free account.
Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged :