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This article, the second of two parts, explains how to use the Iterator pattern to manipulate any collection of objects. It is excerpted from chapter eight of the book PHP|architect's Guide to PHP Design Patterns, written by Jason E. Sweat (PHP|architect, 2005; ISBN: 0973589825).

  1. The Iterator Pattern, concluded
  2. Sorting Iterator
  3. SPL Iterator
  4. Issues
By: php|architect
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December 01, 2005

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Iterators are a nice way to standardize working with collections of objects in your applications. The examples here have been based on arrays, but the ability to work on non-array based collections with an identical interface is powerful.

The ability to use collections in the foreach control structure is indeed cool. The only unfortunate issue with the SPL implementation is the significant potential for name space clashing with "Iterator".  How much PHP4 object-oriented code has some sort of an Iterator class as a base class for the libraries' iterators? Of those, how many define the five required methods in the same capacity? Perhaps implements Foreachable would have been a less intrusive name. If you choose to use the SPL, you should investigate the other supported iterators, like RecursiveArrayIterator and numerous other flavors.

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