PHP contains three types of operators: unary operators, binary operators, and one ternary operator.
Binary operators are used on two operands:
2 + 3 14 * 3.1415 $i 1
These examples are also simple examples of expressions.
PHP can only perform binary operations on two operands that have the same type. However, if the two operands have different types, PHP automatically converts one of them to the other's type, according to the following rules (unless stated differently, such as in the concatenation operator).
Booleans, nulls, and resources behave like integers, and they convert in the following manner:
2.6.1. Binary Operators
18.104.22.168 Numeric Operators
All the binary operators (except for the concatenation operator) work only on numeric operands. If one or both of the operands are strings, Booleans, nulls, or resources, they are automatically converted to their numeric equivalents before the calculation is performed (according to the previous table).
22.214.171.124 Concatenation Operator (.)
The concatenation operator concatenates two strings. This operator works only on strings; thus, any non-string operand is first converted to one.
The following example would print out "The year is 2000":
$year = 2000; print "The year is " . $year;
The integer $year is internally converted to the string "2000" before it is concatenated with the string's prefix, "The year is".
2.6.2. Assignment Operators
Assignment operators enable you to write a value to a variable. The first operand (the one on the left of the assignment operator or l value) must be a variable. The value of an assignment is the final value assigned to the variable; for example, the expression $var = 5 has the value 5 (and assigns 5 to $var).
In addition to the regular assignment operator =, several other assignment operators are composites of an operator followed by an equal sign. These composite operators apply the operator taking the variable on the left as the first operand and the value on the right (the r value) as the second operand, and assign the result of the operation to the variable on the left.
$counter += 2; // This is identical to $counter = $counter + 2; $offset *= $counter;// This is identical to $offset = $offset * $counter;
The following list show the valid composite assignment operators:
+=, -=, *=, /=, %=, ^=, .=, &=, |=, <<=, >>=
126.96.36.199 By-Reference Assignment Operator
PHP enables you to create variables as aliases for other variables. You can achieve this by using the by-reference assignment operator =&. After a variable aliases another variable, changes to either one of them affects the other.
$name = "Judy"; $name_alias =& $name; $name_alias = "Jonathan"; print $name;
The result of this example is
When returning a variable by-reference from a function (covered later in this book), you also need to use the assign by-reference operator to assign the returned variable to a variable:
$retval =& func_that_returns_by_reference();
2.6.3. Comparison Operators
Comparison operators enable you to determine the relationship between two operands.
When both operands are strings, the comparison is performed lexicographically. The comparison results in a Boolean value.
For the following comparison operators, automatic type conversions are performed, if necessary.
For the following two operators, automatic type conversions are not performed and, therefore, both the types and the values are compared.
2.6.4. Logical Operators
Logical operators first convert their operands to boolean values and then perform the respective comparison.
188.8.131.52 Short-Circuit Evaluation
When evaluating the logical and/or operators, you can often know the result without having to evaluate both operands. For example, when PHP evaluates 0 && 1, it can tell the result will be false by looking only at the left operand, and it won't continue to evaluate the right one. This might not seem useful right now, but later on, we'll see how we can use it to execute an operation only if a certain condition is met.
2.6.5. Bitwise Operators
Bitwise operators perform an operation on the bitwise representation of their arguments. Unless the arguments are strings, they are converted to their corresponding integer representation, and the operation is then performed. In case both arguments are strings, the operation is performed between corresponding character offsets of the two strings (each character is treated as an integer).
2.6.6. Unary Operators
Unary operators act on one operand.
2.6.7. Negation Operators
Negation operators appear before their operandfor example, !$var (! is the operator, $var is the operand).
2.6.8. Increment/Decrement Operators
Increment/decrement operators are unique in the sense that they operate only on variables and not on any value. The reason for this is that in addition to calculating the result value, the value of the variable itself changes as well.
As you can see from the previous table, there's a difference in the value of post- and pre-increment. However, in both cases, $var is incremented by 1. The only difference is in the value to which the increment expression evaluates.
The same rules apply to pre- and post-decrement.
184.108.40.206 Incrementing Strings
Strings (when not numeric) are incremented in a similar way to Perl. If the last letter is alphanumeric, it is incremented by 1. If it was 'z', 'Z', or '9', it is incremented to 'a', 'A', or '0' respectively, and the next alphanumeric is also incremented in the same way. If there is no next alphanumeric, one is added to the beginning of the string as 'a', 'A', and '1,' respectively. If this gives you a headache, just try and play around with it. You'll get the hang of it pretty quickly.
Non-numeric strings cannot be decremented.
2.6.9. The Cast Operators
PHP provides a C-like way to force a type conversion of a value by using the cast operators. The operand appears on the right side of the cast operator, and its result is the converted type according to the following table.
The casting operators change the type of a value and not the type of a variable. For example:
$str = "5"; $num = (int) $str;
This results in $num being assigned the integer value of $str (5), but $str remains of type string.
2.6.10. The Silence Operator
The operator @ silences error messages during the evaluation process of an expression. It is discussed in more detail in Chapter 7.
2.6.11. The One and Only Ternary Operator
One of the most elegant operators is the ?: (question mark) operator. Its format is
truth_expr ? expr1 : expr2
The operator evaluates truth_expr and checks whether it is true. If it is, the value of the expression evaluates to the value of expr1 (expr2 is not evaluated). If it is false, the value of the expression evaluates to the value of expr2 (expr1 is not evaluated).
For example, the following code snippet checks whether $a is set (using isset()) and displays a message accordingly:
$a = 99; $message = isset($a) ? '$a is set' : '$a is not set'; print $message;
This example prints the following:
$a is set