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Peter Goodman's blog about PHP, Parsing Theory, C++, Functional Programming, Applications,

PHP5 Overload class

So I was working on a little framework for a mini application I'm going to build soon and I decided to use object overloading because it's written in PHP5. If you haven't used the overloading functions in PHP5, they are: __get, __set, __isset, and __unset. You can read more about them on PHP's overloading page.

As I've said, this is a PHP5 framework and so I decided to make use of the ArrayAccess interface. However, I haven't actually used this interface in a while and forgot the actual functions that it requires: offsetGet, offsetSet, offsetExists, and offsetUnset. Intuitively, I thought that it must use the overload functions (__get, et al.) and so programmed everything assuming that. Unfortunately when I actually got around to test everything, there were errors. At first I decided to go in and make the minor name switches, but it being a framework, I decided if anyone but me were using it, I could have a better solution. Vague enough? Here's the nifty little BetterAccess class I came up with:

abstract class Overload implements ArrayAccess {
    abstract public function __get($key);
    abstract public function __set($key, $val);
    abstract public function __isset($key);
    abstract public function __unset($key);
    final public function offsetGet($key) {
        return $this->__get($key);
    final public function offsetSet($key, $val) {
        return $this->__set($key, $val);
    final public function offsetExists($key) {
        return $this->__isset($key);
    final public function offsetUnset($key) {
        return $this->__unset($key);
This class allows for PHP objects to act like Javascript ones insofar as class properties can be accessed via array syntax or object syntax.

class Foo extends Overload {
    private $vars = array();
    final public function __get($key) {
        $ret = NULL;
            $ret = $this->vars[$key];
        return $ret;
    final public function __set($key, $val) {
        $this->vars[$key] = $val;
    final public function __isset($key) {
        return isset($this->vars[$key]);
    final public function __unset($key) {
$foo = new Foo;

$foo['bar'] = 'hi';
$foo->baz = 'hello';

echo $foo->bar;
echo $foo['baz'];

// Output: hihello

This might not seem immediately useful; however, the point of it is taste. Depending on your coding preferences, Overload allows you to access a class either through overloading or using array access.