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Request #38508 Addition of Magic __toArray() function
Submitted: 2006-08-19 00:40 UTC Modified: 2006-08-20 11:12 UTC
From: doublecompile at gmail dot com Assigned:
Status: Closed Package: Feature/Change Request
PHP Version: * OS:
Private report: No CVE-ID: None
 [2006-08-19 00:40 UTC] doublecompile at gmail dot com
Doing this:

$newarray = (array)$object;

will take the properties of an object and assign them as the values of keys in an array.

As of PHP 5.2, doing this:

$stringified = (string)$object;

will call the magic __toString() function for a user-specified formatting of the object as a string.

It would be a great addition to call a magic __toArray() function if an object is cast as an array, instead of converting its public members to array elements.  (For instance, the class might not have public members).  Classes without the function could use the default method of mapping property names to array keys.

Just my two cents.

Reproduce code:

class magicExample 
    public $aoeu = "htns";

    function __toArray()
        return array('foo'=>'bar');

$test = new magicExample();
$array = (array)$test;

print_r($array); // should show foo=>bar, not aoeu=>htns



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 [2006-08-20 11:12 UTC]
Why not simply have a method asArray() maybe even as par of an interface:

interface ArrayConversion
  function asArray();

See, we have __toString as it is supported in language constructs like echo, print and other internal functions. But we decided against an autoconversion for arrays already. So itwill never be supported in any language construct. That said there is no needed for this and nothing you would win against the above interface. In fact you would make it php more complex because you'd add just one more magic feature.
 [2011-05-23 23:32 UTC] spark at limao dot com dot br
Because of the magic __toString I was able to write a String class with the same methods as the Java String class.
I was trying to write an Array class to map the one in Adobe AS3, but then I came across the lack of __toArray.
I don't want a __toArray, or even a toString
I want classes with reasonable methods and not lots of functions with no naming rules nor parameter order standard.
I know it may sound rude but that's how I feel when I see a language getting so far and still not following any coding convetion.
 [2012-02-27 21:27 UTC] john at john dot com
this magic function would be great to have
 [2012-03-14 18:37 UTC] erck0006 at gmail dot com
// AS-IS
$customers = new Customers();
$lastCustomer = array_pop($customers); // FAIL: array_pop() expects parameter 1 to be array, object given
echo $lastCustomer->getName(); // execution never reaches this line

$customers = new Customers();
$lastCustomer = array_pop($customers->__toArray()); // SUCCESS
echo $lastCustomer->getName(); // prints the last customer's name since the previous line did not fail since I explicitly called a custom method named __toArray() first

// TO-BE
$customers = new Customers();
$lastCustomer = array_pop($customers); // SUCCESS
echo $lastCustomer->getName(); // prints the last customer's name since array_pop() calls __toArray() internally before failing
 [2012-03-14 18:55 UTC] erck0006 at gmail dot com
$customers = new Customers();
$customers = $customers->__toArray(); // THIS LINE IS THE **UPDATED** LINE NEEDED IN ORDER TO AVOID TRIGGERING THE FOLLOWING ERROR ON THE FOLLOWING LINE: Only variables should be passed by reference
$lastCustomer = array_pop($customers); // SUCCESS
echo $lastCustomer->getName(); // prints the last customer's name since the previous line did not fail since I explicitly called a custom method named __toArray() first
 [2013-03-07 12:19 UTC] ante at caan dot si
Hi guys. I'm dragging this out from the "History". I think this is a great suggestion as I use a lot of object that implement ArrayAccess so doing this

$someArray = (array) $obj;

that calls $obj->__toArray() would be a GREAT addition to PHP logic.
 [2013-05-24 03:39 UTC] rich dot remer at gmail dot com
I think the main benefit it offers is the ability to control what happens during 
a cast operation.  Right now, casting simple scalar values or NULL to an array 
works as expected.

While it's possible to cast an object to an array, the semantics of what should 
happen in this situation are not nearly as clear.  This really should be 
controlled by the class.
 [2013-10-05 16:42 UTC] lukas at lu-x dot me
I can only +1 the opinion from the last comment.
Magic methods make PHP so powerful. So why limit it to string casting?

The creator of the class should decide what values to return in which case - the user could just use the object in different ways without thinking about what methods would return what. It would all work automatically - using an array function would ask the object to return an array, using a string function would ask to return a string etc.

So please implement magic methods for all data types in PHP - or, if that adds "more complexity", add interfaces for that - the possibility to define custom conversion rules just has to exist!
 [2014-03-10 16:18 UTC] omidmr at gmail dot com
And all other type casting magic methods.
 [2016-07-13 12:35 UTC] webdes87 at gmail dot com
Would also vote for this. Makes absolute sence since (array) cast syntax exist already in the language construction.

Maybe also support other castings that can be called like $var = (xxx) $obj
as __toXXX

would enhance the language by a reliable construct, that does not only work on several types like __toString

Would allow also goodies like __toLogEntry where LogEntry is some other Object etc.
 [2017-12-14 14:10 UTC] MUST at BE dot VALID
+1 - 15 years later this is still needed :)
 [2018-11-07 17:38 UTC] jean dot claveau at gmail dot com
Isn't it time to make an RFC and submit it to a vote instead of relying
on a 10 years old opinion?

Having something like __toArray() would make OOP collections compatible
with as it
doesn't take a Traversable as parameter but only a true array.

Just an example :)

__toBool() would be super interesting also, especially for logic
 [2020-03-12 16:03 UTC] john at designermonkey dot co dot uk
I agree with the above comment that implicit array conversion is already supported in the language, and is not very functional for a programmer as it relies on logic that the programmer has no access to.

Adding `__toArray` as a magic method would solve all sorts of issues for object serialization in large object trees for example.

I guess the `JsonSerializable` interface already implements the logic, although it can't be used outside of `json_encode`, so why not make it simple using `__toArray` and `__toString`?
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