ScotlandPHP 2019

Incrementing/Decrementing Operators

PHP supports C-style pre- and post-increment and decrement operators.

Note: The increment/decrement operators only affect numbers and strings. Arrays, objects and resources are not affected. Decrementing NULL values has no effect too, but incrementing them results in 1.

Increment/decrement Operators
Example Name Effect
++$a Pre-increment Increments $a by one, then returns $a.
$a++ Post-increment Returns $a, then increments $a by one.
--$a Pre-decrement Decrements $a by one, then returns $a.
$a-- Post-decrement Returns $a, then decrements $a by one.

Here's a simple example script:

<?php
echo "<h3>Postincrement</h3>";
$a 5;
echo 
"Should be 5: " $a++ . "<br />\n";
echo 
"Should be 6: " $a "<br />\n";

echo 
"<h3>Preincrement</h3>";
$a 5;
echo 
"Should be 6: " . ++$a "<br />\n";
echo 
"Should be 6: " $a "<br />\n";

echo 
"<h3>Postdecrement</h3>";
$a 5;
echo 
"Should be 5: " $a-- . "<br />\n";
echo 
"Should be 4: " $a "<br />\n";

echo 
"<h3>Predecrement</h3>";
$a 5;
echo 
"Should be 4: " . --$a "<br />\n";
echo 
"Should be 4: " $a "<br />\n";
?>

PHP follows Perl's convention when dealing with arithmetic operations on character variables and not C's. For example, in PHP and Perl $a = 'Z'; $a++; turns $a into 'AA', while in C a = 'Z'; a++; turns a into '[' (ASCII value of 'Z' is 90, ASCII value of '[' is 91). Note that character variables can be incremented but not decremented and even so only plain ASCII alphabets and digits (a-z, A-Z and 0-9) are supported. Incrementing/decrementing other character variables has no effect, the original string is unchanged.

Example #1 Arithmetic Operations on Character Variables

<?php
echo '== Alphabets ==' PHP_EOL;
$s 'W';
for (
$n=0$n<6$n++) {
    echo ++
$s PHP_EOL;
}
// Digit characters behave differently
echo '== Digits ==' PHP_EOL;
$d 'A8';
for (
$n=0$n<6$n++) {
    echo ++
$d PHP_EOL;
}
$d 'A08';
for (
$n=0$n<6$n++) {
    echo ++
$d PHP_EOL;
}
?>

The above example will output:

== Characters ==
X
Y
Z
AA
AB
AC
== Digits ==
A9
B0
B1
B2
B3
B4
A09
A10
A11
A12
A13
A14

Incrementing or decrementing booleans has no effect.

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User Contributed Notes 13 notes

up
48
hartmut at php dot net
6 years ago
Note that

$a="9D9"; var_dump(++$a);   => string(3) "9E0"

but counting onwards from there

$a="9E0"; var_dump(++$a);   => float(10)

this is due to "9E0" being interpreted as a string representation of the float constant 9E0 (or 9e0), and thus evalutes to 9 * 10^0 = 9 (in a float context)
up
2
ayyappan dot ashok at gmail dot com
2 years ago
Rule for Increment and decrement:

At some moment we could be confused with increment and decrement in various cases. To avoid such cases, let us follow certain logical rule behind to get successful results with out mess.

<?php
           $n
= 3;
           echo
$n-- + --$n;
           echo
"<br/>";
           echo
$n;
?>

1. Postfix form of ++,-- operator follows the rule  [ use-then-change ],

2. Prefix form (++x,--x) follows the rule [ change-then-use ].

Solution based on the rule:

Step 1: 
use then change   $n--  use is 3 and change is 2

Step 2. 
change then use   --$n  change is 2 and use is 1

Step 3.
use + use = (3 + 1) = 4

Courtesy : stackoverflow : Sunil Dhillon : 4686665
up
5
dsbeam at gmail dot com
9 years ago
When using the ++ operator by itself on a variable, ++$var is faster than $var++ and uses slightly less memory (in my experiments).  It would seem like this could be optimized in the language during runtime (if $var++ is the only thing in the whole statement, it could be treated as ++$var).

I conducted many tests (I believe to be fair), and here's one of the results:

$i++ took 8.47515535355 seconds and 2360 bytes
++$i took 7.80081486702 seconds and 2160 bytes

Here's my code.  If anyone sees a bias in it, tell me.  I conducted it many times, each time going through a loop one million iterations and doing each test 10 - 15 times (10 - 15 million uses of the ++ operator).

<?php

ini_set
( 'MAX_EXEC_TIME', 120 );
ob_start( );

$num_tests = 10;
$startFirst = $startSecond = $endFirst = $endSecond = $startFirstMemory = $endFirstMemory = $startSecondMemory = $endSecondMemory = $someVal = 0;
$times = array( '$i++' => array( 'time' => 0, 'memory' => 0 ), '++$i' => array( 'total' => 0, 'memory' => 0 ) );

for(
$j = 0; $j < $num_tests; ++$j )
{
        for(
$i = 0, $startFirstMemory = memory_get_usage( ), $startFirst = microtime( true ); $i < 10000000; $i++ ){ $someval = 2; }
       
$endFirstMemory = memory_get_usage( );
       
$endFirst = microtime( true );

        for(
$i = 0, $startSecondMemory = memory_get_usage( ), $startSecond = microtime( true ); $i < 10000000; ++$i ){ $someval = 2; }
       
$endSecondMemory = memory_get_usage( );
       
$endSecond = microtime( true );

       
$times[ '$i++' ][ $j ] = array( 'startTime' => $startFirst, 'endTime' => $endFirst, 'startMemory' => $startFirstMemory, 'endMemory' => $endFirstMemory );
       
$times[ '++$i' ][ $j ] = array( 'startTime' => $startSecond, 'endTime' => $endSecond, 'startMemory' => $startSecondMemory, 'endMemory' => $end