Make a copy of an object's value without copying the reference

I have the following code:

$data['x'] = $this->x->getResults();  

$data['y'] = $data['x'];

//some code here to modify $data['y']
//this causes (undesirably) $data['x] to be modified as well

I guess since all the elements of $data are themselves references, modifying $data['y'] also modifies $data['x'] which is NOT what I want. I want $data['x'] to remain the same. Is there any way to dereference the elements here so that I can copy the elements by value?


$this->x->getResults(); returns an object array. So I can then do something like: $data['x'][0]->date_create ...

Update: my latest attempt to clone the array looks something like this:

$data['x'] = $this->x->getResults();     
$data['y'] = $data['y'];
foreach($data['x'] as $key=>$row) {
    $data['y'][$key]->some_attr = clone $row->some_attr;

Am I way off here? I keep getting a "__clone method called on non-object" error. From reading the responses it seems like my best option is to iterate over each element and clone it (which is what I was trying to do with that code..).


  • You can take advantage of the fact that PHP will dereference the results of a function call.

    Here's some example code I whipped up:

    $x = 'x';
    $y = 'y';
    $arr = array(&$x,&$y);
    echo "<br/>";
    $arr2 = $arr;
    $arr2[0] = 'zzz';
    echo "<br/>";
    $arr2 = array_flip(array_flip($arr));
    $arr2[0] = '123';

    The results look like this:

    Array ( [0] => x [1] => y )
    Array ( [0] => zzz [1] => y ) Array ( [0] => zzz [1] => y )
    Array ( [0] => zzz [1] => y ) Array ( [0] => 123 [1] => y ) 

    You can see that the results of using array_flip() during the assigment of $arr to $arr2 results in differences in the subsequent changes to $arr2, as the array_flip() calls forces a dereference.

    It doesn't seem terribly efficient, but it might work for you if $this->x->getResults() is returning an array:

    $data['x'] = array_flip(array_flip($this->x->getResults()));
    $data['y'] = $data['x'];

    See this (unanswered) thread for another example.

    If everything in your returned array is an object however, then the only way to copy an object is to use clone(), and you would have to iterate through $data['x'] and clone each element into $data['y'].


    $data['x'] = $this->x->getResults();
    $data['y'] = array();
    foreach($data['x'] as $key => $obj) {
        $data['y'][$key] = clone $obj;