Thursday, April 12, 2012

What"s better to use in PHP $array[] = $value or array_push($array, $value)?

What's better to use in PHP for appending an array member $array[] = $value or array_push($array, $value) ?

Though the manual says you're better off to avoid a function call, I've also read $array[] is much slower than array_push() . Does anyone have any clarifications or benchmarks?

Thank you.

Source: Tips4all


  1. No benchmarks, but I personally feel like $array[] is cleaner to look at, and honestly splitting hairs over milliseconds is pretty irrelevant unless you plan on appending hundreds of thousands of strings to your array.

    Edit: Ran this code:

    $t = microtime(true);
    $array = array();
    for($i = 0; $i < 10000; $i++) {
    $array[] = $i;
    print microtime(true) - $t;
    print '<br>';
    $t = microtime(true);
    $array = array();
    for($i = 0; $i < 10000; $i++) {
    array_push($array, $i);
    print microtime(true) - $t;

    The first method using $array[] is almost 50% faster than the second one.

    Some benchmark results:

    Run 1
    0.0054171085357666 // array_push
    0.0028800964355469 // array[]

    Run 2
    0.0054559707641602 // array_push
    0.002892017364502 // array[]

    Run 3
    0.0055501461029053 // array_push
    0.0028610229492188 // array[]

    This shouldn't be surprising, as the PHP manual notes this:

    If you use array_push() to add one element to the array it's better to use $array[] = because in that way there is no overhead of calling a function.

    The way it is phrased I wouldn't be surprised if array_push is more efficient when adding multiple values. EDIT: Out of curiosity, did some further testing, and even for a large amount of additions, individual $array[] calls are faster than one big array_push. Interesting.

  2. Word on the street is that [] is faster because no overhead for the function call. Plus, no one really likes PHP's array functions...

    "Is it...haystack, needle....or is it needle haystack...ah, f*** it...[] = "