Fillthee Fillthee - 7 months ago 12
PHP Question

Check to see if a string is serialized?

What's the best way to determine whether or not a string is the result / output of the serialize() function?

Answer

I'd say, try to unserialize it ;-)

Quoting the manual :

In case the passed string is not unserializeable, FALSE is returned and E_NOTICE is issued.

So, you have to check if the return value is false or not (with === or !==, to be sure not to have any problem with 0 or null or anything that equals to false, I'd say).

Just beware the notice : you might want/need to use the @ operator.

For instance :

$str = 'hjkl';
$data = @unserialize($str);
if ($data !== false) {
    echo "ok";
} else {
    echo "not ok";
}

Will get you :

not ok


EDIT : Oh, and like @Peter said (thanks to him!), you might run into trouble if you are trying to unserialize the representation of a boolean false :-(

So, checking that your serialized string is not equal to "b:0;" might be helpful too ; something like this should do the trick, I suppose :

$data = @unserialize($str);
if ($str === 'b:0;' || $data !== false) {
    echo "ok";
} else {
    echo "not ok";
}

testing that special case before trying to unserialize would be an optimization -- but probably not that usefull, if you don't often have a false serialized value.

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