Milan Babuškov Milan Babuškov - 9 months ago 44
PHP Question

Why doesn't this code simply print letters A to Z?

for ($i = 'a'; $i <= 'z'; $i++)
echo "$i\n";

This snippet gives the following output (newlines are replaced by spaces):

a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba bb bc bd be bf bg bh bi bj bk bl bm bn bo bp bq br bs bt bu bv bw bx by bz ca cb cc cd ce cf cg ch ci cj ck cl cm cn co cp cq cr cs ct cu cv cw cx cy cz da db dc dd de df dg dh di dj dk dl dm dn do dp dq dr ds dt du dv dw dx dy dz ea eb ec ed ee ef eg eh ei ej ek el em en eo ep eq er es et eu ev ew ex... on to yz

Answer Source

From the docs:

PHP follows Perl's convention when dealing with arithmetic operations on character variables and not C's.

For example, in Perl 'Z'+1 turns into 'AA', while in C 'Z'+1 turns into '[' ( ord('Z') == 90, ord('[') == 91 ).

Note that character variables can be incremented but not decremented and even so only plain ASCII characters (a-z and A-Z) are supported.

From Comments:-
It should also be noted that <= is a lexicographical comparison, so 'z'+1 ≤ 'z'. (Since 'z'+1 = 'aa' ≤ 'z'. But 'za' ≤ 'z' is the first time the comparison is false.) Breaking when $i == 'z' would work, for instance.

Example here.