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Description: Full docs
Class: Nest
Easily set and get values of nested arrays
Author: By
Last change: fix(docs): fix missing docs for $isSetCheck on get()
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Date: 6 years ago
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Nest Usage

By Rick Hambrook

Just create new new Nest() object and pass it an array or object.

$Nest = new \Hambrook\Nest\Nest(
		"foo" => "bar",
		"one" => [
			"two" => "three"

Then you can set or get values as much as you want, without having to do validation checks first.

The Path

Nest uses a $path parameter a lot. This is an array of keys, property names or function names to the value you want to work with. The $path may be a string if you're only using one level.

For example, the path to "bar" above is "foo", but the path to "three" is ["one", "two"].


The first parameter is the path (an array of keys) to drill down to the value you want. Or just a string if it's only one level down you need.

If the path is invalid or the value isn't there, you'll get back the default value. This is either the second parameter (if you supplied it) or null.

// first param can be a string (if getting single depth) or an array
echo $Nest->get("foo");                                    // prints "bar"

// with array path for nested values
$Nest->get("one");                                         // returns ["two" => "three"]

// with array path for nested values
echo $Nest->get(["one", "two"]);                           // prints "three"

Getting with default value (pass as second param) if path is invalid

echo $Nest->get("bad", "default");                         // prints "default"
echo $Nest->get(["one", "bad"], "default");                // prints "default"
echo $Nest->get(["bad", "two"], "default");                // prints "default"

// valid path returns value, not default
echo $Nest->get(["one", "two"], "default");                // prints "three"

Setting (always returns $this)

Setting a value will create the path if it doesn't exist. Warning, you can overwrite a value by extending the path beyond it.

$Nest->set("foo", "newbar");                               // sets "foo" to "newbar"
$Nest->set(["one", "two"], "newthree");                    // sets ["one", "two"] to "newthree"
$Nest->set(["one", "four"], "five");                       // creates ["one", "four"] and sets it to "five"


Values can be accessed by using the path as a property name. This even works for nested paths by using __ (double underscore by default) as depth separator shortcut.

Getting (with default value)

// use path as property name
echo $Nest->foo;                                           // prints "bar"
// calls as function with parameter for default value if chosen one doesn't exist
echo $Nest->bad("default");                                // prints "default"

// use path as property name for nested path
echo $Nest->one__two                                       // prints "three"

// use path as function name for nested path with default value supplied
echo $Nest->one__two("default");                           // prints "three"
echo $Nest->one__bad("default");                           // prints "default"


$Nest->foo = "newbar";                                     // sets "foo" to "newbar"
$Nest->one__two = "newthree";                              // sets ["one", "two"] to "newthree"
$Nest->one__four = "five";                                 // creates ["one", "four"] and sets it to "five"

Object Support

And it works on objects too!

class Foo {
	public $foo = "bar";
	public $one = [
		"two" => "three"
	function conditionalstring($v=false) {
		return ($v) ? "withparam" : "noparam";
	function one2() {
		return ["two" => "three"];
	function arrayfromfuncwithparams($v=false) {
		return ($v) ? ["one" => "two"] : "three";
	function data() {
		return "data from inside object";

$Nest = new \Hambrook\Nest\Nest(new Foo());

This works exactly like arrays, but you can use function names in the path. You can even specify function parameters too, but you have to use the get() function for those.

echo $Nest->foo;                                           // returns "bar"
echo $Nest->one_two                                        // returns "three"
echo $Nest->one2_two                                       // returns "three"
echo $Nest->conditionalstring;                             // returns "noparam"
echo $Nest->get([["conditionalstring",true]])              // returns "withparam"
echo $Nest->get([["arrayfromfuncwithparams",true],"one"])  // returns "two"

_Note: Trying to set the value when the path contains an object function may produce unexpected results. Go ahead and try it, but have a fire extinguisher nearby._

Avoiding collisions with helper functions

Nest has lots of helper functions, so if you've stored an object inside Nest and don't want Nest's helper functions to collide with the objects functions while using shortcut paths, you can prefix your shortcut paths with the separator... __ (double underscore by default)

$Nest = new \Hambrook\Nest\Nest(new Foo());
var_dump($Nest->data);                                     // object(Foo)...
var_dump($Nest->__data);                                   // string(23) "data from inside object"
var_dump($Nest->get("data"));                              // string(23) "data from inside object"



Nest__construct(array|object$data=[], string$magicSeparator="__")

Create a new instance with the data supplied.

get() // Get the value at a path

mixedget(_array|string$path=false, mixed$default=null, bool$isSetCheck=false_)

Get the value at a path, or the $default value if the value you're looking for isn't there. Optionally pass true for $isSetCheck to simply check if the value exists.

set() // Set the value at a path

$thisset(_array|string$path=false, mixed$value=null_)

Set the value at a path to $value.

Helper Functions

data() // Get or set the dataset


If $data is supplied then the dataset is overwritten with the new data, otherwise the existing data is returned.

minus() // Decrease a numeric value at the path

$thisminus(_array|string$path=false, int|float$value=1, int|float$default=0_)

Subtract the numeric value at $path by $value. If $default is specified then the value will be overwritten with $default if it either doesn't exist or is not numeric.

plus() // Increase a numeric value at the path

$thisplus(_array|string$path=false, int|float$value=1, int|float$default=0_)

Increase the numeric value at $path by $value. If $default is specified then the value will be overwritten with $default if it either doesn't exist or is not numeric.

Array Functions

append() // Append to an array

$thisappend(_array|string$path=false, mixed$value=null, bool$force=false_)

Append the supplied $value to the array at $path. If the value at $path isn't an array, $force can let you convert it to an array.

count() // Count the items in an array

intcount(_array|string$path=false, int$default=0_)

Count the items in the array at $path or return the $default value if it's not an array.

merge() // Merge the array at $path with the supplied array

$thismerge(_array|string$path=false, array$value=[], bool$force=false_)

array_merge() the array at $path with $value. $force will convert the value to an array if it's not one already.

JSON Functions

loadJSON() // Update dataset to data from a JSON string


Decode the $json and replace the internal dataset with the data.

toJSON() // Encode the data to JSON and return it


Export the current dataset as a JSON string. $pretty will format the output in a more human-readable manner.

Unit Testing

There a numerous tests built for the PHPUnit testing package. You will need to install PHPUnit globally...

chmod +x phpunit.phar
sudo mv phpunit.phar /usr/local/bin/phpunit

then run it on the tests/ directory.

phpunit path/to/Nest/tests/


Copyright © 2015 Rick Hambrook

This program is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along with this program. If not, see <>.

For more information send a message to info at phpclasses dot org.