Emil Emil - 8 months ago 40
PHP Question

Dynamically creating/inserting into an associative array in PHP

I'm trying to build an associative array in PHP dynamically, and not quite getting my strategy right. Basically, I want to insert a value at a certain depth in the array structure, for instance:

$array['first']['second']['third'] = $val;

Now, the thing is, I'm not sure if that depth is available, and if it isn't, I want to create the keys (and arrays) for each level, and finally insert the value at the correct level.

Since I'm doing this quite a lot in my code, I grew tired of doing a whole bunch of "array_key_exists", so I wanted to do a function that builds the array for me, given a list of the level keys. Any help on a good strategy for this is appreciated. I'm sure there is a pretty simple way, I'm just not getting it...

Answer Source

php doesn't blame you if you do it just so

$array['first']['second']['third'] = $val;

if you don't want your keys to be hard coded, here's a flexible solution

/// locate or create element by $path and set its value to $value
/// $path is either an array of keys, or a delimited string
function array_set(&$a, $path, $value) {
        $path = explode($path[0], substr($path, 1));
    $key = array_pop($path);
    foreach($path as $k) {
            $a[$k] = array();
        $a = &$a[$k];
    $a[$key ? $key : count($a)] = $value;

// example:
$x = array();

array_set($x, "/foo/bar/baz", 123);
array_set($x, "/foo/bar/quux", 456);
array_set($x, array('foo', 'bah'), 789);