Jonathan Tizard Jonathan Tizard - 1 year ago 124
PHP Question

PHP dynamic array index name

I want to pass a function the index value of an array – e.g [‘client_name’] – a first level value works because I can do

$index = client_name;

function arraything ($index) { return $this->arraytolookat[$index]; }

The question is… how do I do this, if it’s a multi nested array?

I tried the eval statement and apparently it doesn’t evaluate brackets well … So I tried this.

$index = “[0][‘client_name’]”;


But it just fails… winges about a unexpected [ - any Ideas?

EDIT: I do not know how many levels this function may be required to go into, therefore I cannot just append a set amount of brackets at the end. Its not as simple as it looks ^^

EDIT 2: Basically - I have written a form validation tool and one of the functions returns correct post data - I wanted a simple method that when you enter the name of the form element - it would literally return teh POST data back to the element e.g getFormData("client_name") - however when a form gets more complex, it can go into arrays, I need to prepare for the possibility of getFormData("['$i']client_name") or somthing along those lines, stuff happens to the postdata in that class so that function must be used. I just want that function to take in a string not an array.

Answer Source

You can pass an array of indexes to this function below. So if you would like to get $some_array[0]['client_name']['third_level_index'] then you can do this:

function get_array_value(array $array, array $indexes)
    if (count($array) == 0 || count($indexes) == 0) {
        return false;

    $index = array_shift($indexes);
    if(!array_key_exists($index, $array)){
        return false;

    $value = $array[$index];
    if (count($indexes) == 0) {
        return $value;

    if(!is_array($value)) {
        return false;

    return get_array_value($value, $indexes);

$some_array = array(/* nested array */);

$indexes = array(0, 'client_name', 'third_level_index');

$value = get_array_value($some_array, $indexes);
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