Olaf Erlandsen Olaf Erlandsen - 1 month ago 8
PHP Question

How to search in an array with preg_match?

How do I search in an array with preg_match?

Example:

<?php
if( preg_match( '/(my\n+string\n+)/i' , array( 'file' , 'my string => name', 'this') , $match) )
{
//Excelent!!
$items[] = $match[1];
} else {
//Ups! not found!
}
?>

Answer

In this post I'll provide you with three different methods of doing what you ask for. I actually recommend using the last snippet, since it's easiest to comprehend as well as being quite neat in code.

How do I see what elements in an array that matches my regular expression?

There is a function dedicated for just this purpose, preg_grep. It will take a regular expression as first parameter, and an array as the second.

See the below example:

$haystack = array (
  'say hello',
  'hello stackoverflow',
  'hello world',
  'foo bar bas'
);

$matches  = preg_grep ('/^hello (\w+)/i', $haystack);

print_r ($matches);

output

Array
(
    [1] => hello stackoverflow
    [2] => hello world
)

Documentation


But I just want to get the value of the specified groups. How?

array_reduce with preg_match can solve this issue in clean manner; see the snippet below.

$haystack = array (
  'say hello',
  'hello stackoverflow',
  'hello world',
  'foo bar bas'
);

function _matcher ($m, $str) {
  if (preg_match ('/^hello (\w+)/i', $str, $matches))
    $m[] = $matches[1];

  return $m;
}

// N O T E :
// ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
// you could specify '_matcher' as an anonymous function directly to
// array_reduce though that kind of decreases readability and is therefore
// not recommended, but it is possible.

$matches = array_reduce ($haystack, '_matcher', array ());

print_r ($matches);

output

Array
(
    [0] => stackoverflow
    [1] => world
)

Documentation


Using array_reduce seems tedious, isn't there another way?

Yes, and this one is actually cleaner though it doesn't involve using any pre-existing array_* or preg_* function.

Wrap it in a function if you are going to use this method more than once.

$matches = array ();

foreach ($haystack as $str) 
  if (preg_match ('/^hello (\w+)/i', $str, $m))
    $matches[] = $m[1];

Documentation

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