PHP Velho Oeste 2024

PHP type comparison tables

The following tables demonstrate behaviors of PHP types and comparison operators, for both loose and strict comparisons. This supplemental is also related to the manual section on type juggling. Inspiration was provided by various user comments and by the work over at » BlueShoes.

Before utilizing these tables, it's important to understand types and their meanings. For example, "42" is a string while 42 is an int. false is a bool while "false" is a string.

Note:

HTML Forms do not pass integers, floats, or booleans; they pass strings. To find out if a string is numeric, you may use is_numeric().

Note:

Simply doing if ($x) while $x is undefined will generate an error of level E_NOTICE. Instead, consider using empty() or isset() and/or initialize your variables.

Note:

Some numeric operations can result in a value represented by the constant NAN. Any loose or strict comparisons of this value against any other value, including itself, but except true, will have a result of false. (i.e. NAN != NAN and NAN !== NAN) Examples of operations that produce NAN include sqrt(-1), asin(2), and acosh(0).

Comparisons of $x with PHP functions
Expression gettype() empty() is_null() isset() bool : if($x)
$x = ""; string true false true false
$x = null; NULL true true false false
var $x; NULL true true false false
$x is undefined NULL true true false false
$x = []; array true false true false
$x = ['a', 'b']; array false false true true
$x = false; bool true false true false
$x = true; bool false false true true
$x = 1; int false false true true
$x = 42; int false false true true
$x = 0; int true false true false
$x = -1; int false false true true
$x = "1"; string false false true true
$x = "0"; string true false true false
$x = "-1"; string false false true true
$x = "php"; string false false true true
$x = "true"; string false false true true
$x = "false"; string false false true true

Loose comparisons with ==
true false 1 0 -1 "1" "0" "-1" null [] "php" ""
true true false true false true true false true false false true false
false false true false true false false true false true true false true
1 true false true false false true false false false false false false
0 false true false true false false true false true false false* false*
-1 true false false false true false false true false false false false
"1" true false true false false true false false false false false false
"0" false true false true false false true false false false false false
"-1" true false false false true false false true false false false false
null false true false true false false false false true true false true
[] false true false false false false false false true true false false
"php" true false false false* false false false false false false true false
"" false true false false* false false false false true false false true
* true prior to PHP 8.0.0.

Strict comparisons with ===
true false 1 0 -1 "1" "0" "-1" null [] "php" ""
true true false false false false false false false false false false false
false false true false false false false false false false false false false
1 false false true false false false false false false false false false
0 false false false true false false false false false false false false
-1 false false false false true false false false false false false false
"1" false false false false false true false false false false false false
"0" false false false false false false true false false false false false
"-1" false false false false false false false true false false false false
null false false false false false false false false true false false false
[] false false false false false false false false false true false false
"php" false false false false false false false false false false true false
"" false false false false false false false false false false false true

add a note

User Contributed Notes 8 notes

up
52
php at benizi dot com
14 years ago
It's interesting to note that 'empty()' and 'boolean : if($x)'
are paired as logical opposites, as are 'is_null()' and 'isset()'.
up
26
Jan
18 years ago
Note that php comparison is not transitive:

"php" == 0 => true
0 == null => true
null == "php" => false
up
24
frank
16 years ago
A comparison table for <=,<,=>,> would be nice...
Following are TRUE (tested PHP4&5):
NULL <= -1
NULL <= 0
NULL <= 1
!(NULL >= -1)
NULL >= 0
!(NULL >= 1)
That was a surprise for me (and it is not like SQL, I would like to have the option to have SQL semantics with NULL...).
up
8
blue dot hirano at gmail dot com
9 years ago
The truth tables really ought to be colorized; they're very hard to read as they are right now (just big arrays of TRUE and FALSE).

Also, something to consider: clustering the values which compare similarly (like is done on qntm.org/equality) would make the table easier to read as well. (This can be done simply by hand by rearranging the order of headings to bring related values closer together).
up
9
edgar at goodforall dot eu
14 years ago
Some function to write out your own comparisson table in tsv format. Can be easily modified to add more testcases and/or binary functions. It will test all comparables against each other with all functions.

<?php
$funcs
= array(
/* Testing equality */
'eq' => '==',
'ne' => '!=',
'gt' => '>',
'lt' => '<',
'ne2' => '<>',
'lte' => '<=',
'gte' => '>=',
/* Testing identity */
'id' => '===',
'nid' => '!=='
);
class
Test {
protected
$a;
public
$b;
public function
__construct($a,$b){
$this->a = $a;
$this->b = $b;
}
public function
getab(){
return
$this->a.",". $this->b;
}

}
$tst1 = new Test(1,2);
$tst2 = new Test(1,2);
$tst3 = new Test(2,2);
$tst4 = new Test(1,1);

$arr1 = array(1,2,3);
$arr2 = array(2,3,4);
$arr3 = array('a','b','c','d');
$arr4 = array('a','b','c');
$arr5 = array();

$comp1 = array(
'ints' => array(-1,0,1,2),
'floats' => array(-1.1,0.0,1.1,2.0),
'string' => array('str', 'str1', '', '1'),
'bools' => array(true, false),
'null' => array(null),
'objects' => array($tst1,$tst2,$tst3,$tst4),
'arrays' => array($arr1, $arr2, $arr3, $arr4, $arr5)
);
$fbody = array();

foreach(
$funcs as $name => $op){
$fbody[$name] = create_function('$a,$b', 'return $a ' . $op . ' $b;');
}

$table = array(array('function', 'comp1', 'comp2', 'f comp1 comp2', 'type'));
/* Do comparisons */
$comp2 = array();
foreach(
$comp1 as $type => $val){
$comp2[$type] = $val;
}

foreach(
$comp1 as $key1 => $val1){
foreach(
$comp2 as $key2 => $val2){
addTableEntry($key1, $key2, $val1, $val2);
}
}
$out = '';
foreach(
$table as $row){
$out .= sprintf("%-20s\t%-20s\t%-20s\t%-20s\t%-20s\n", $row[0], $row[1], $row[2], $row[3], $row[4]);
}

print
$out;
exit;

function
addTableEntry($n1, $n2, $comp1, $comp2){
global
$table, $fbody;
foreach(
$fbody as $fname => $func){
foreach(
$comp1 as $val1){
foreach(
$comp2 as $val2){
$val = $func($val1,$val2);
$table[] = array($fname, gettype($val1) . ' => ' . sprintval($val1), gettype($val2) .' => ' . sprintval($val2), gettype($val) . ' => ' . sprintval($val), gettype($val1) . "-" . gettype($val2) . '-' . $fname);
}
}
}
}

function
sprintval($val){
if(
is_object($val)){
return
'object-' . $val->getab();
}
if(
is_array($val)){
return
implode(',', $val);
}
if(
is_bool($val)){
if(
$val){
return
'true';
}
return
'false';
}
return
strval($val);
}

?>
up
1
mark at theanti dot social
5 years ago
There is also 0.0 which is not identical to 0.

$x = 0.0;
gettype($x); // double
empty($x); // true
is_null($x); //false
isset($x); // true
is_numeric($x); // true
$x ? true : false; // false
$x == 0; // true
$x == "0"; // true
$x == "0.0"; // true
$x == false; // true
$x == null; // true
$x === 0; // false
$x === false; // false
$x === null; // false
$x === "0"; // false
$x === "0.0"; // false
up
3
jerryschwartz at comfortable dot com
18 years ago
In some languages, a boolean is promoted to an integer (with a value of 1 or -1, typically) if used in an expression with an integer. I found that PHP has it both ways:

If you add a boolean with a value of true to an integer with a value of 3, the result will be 4 (because the boolean is cast as an integer).

On the other hand, if you test a boolean with a value of true for equality with an integer with a value of three, the result will be true (because the integer is cast as a boolean).

Surprisingly, at first glance, if you use either < or > as the comparison operator the result is always false (again, because the integer as cast as a boolean, and true is neither greater nor less than true).
up
0
Jeroen
7 months ago
Be aware of the difference between checking the *value* of an array item, and checking the *existence* of an array item:
<?php
$arr
= [
'x' => 0,
'y' => null,
];

isset(
$arr['x']); // true, same as isset(0)
isset($arr['y']); // false, same as isset(null)

array_key_exists('y', $arr); // true, though the value is null
array_key_exists('z', $arr); // false
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