(PHP 3>= 3.0.5, PHP 4 >= 4.0.0)

serialize --  Generates a storable representation of a value


string serialize (mixed value)

serialize() returns a string containing a byte-stream representation of value that can be stored anywhere.

This is useful for storing or passing PHP values around without losing their type and structure.

To make the serialized string into a PHP value again, use unserialize(). serialize() handles all types, except the resource-type. You can even serialize() arrays that contain references to itself. References inside the array/object you are serialize()ing will also be stored.

Note: In PHP 3, object properties will be serialized, but methods are lost. PHP 4 removes that limitation and restores both properties and methods. Please see the Serializing Objects section of Classes and Objects for more information.

Example 1. serialize() example

// $session_data contains a multi-dimensional array with session
// information for the current user.  We use serialize() to store
// it in a database at the end of the request.

$conn = odbc_connect ("webdb", "php", "chicken");
$stmt = odbc_prepare ($conn,
      "UPDATE sessions SET data = ? WHERE id = ?");
$sqldata = array (serialize($session_data), $PHP_AUTH_USER);
if (!odbc_execute ($stmt, &$sqldata)) {
    $stmt = odbc_prepare($conn,
     "INSERT INTO sessions (id, data) VALUES(?, ?)");
    if (!odbc_execute($stmt, &$sqldata)) {
    /* Something went wrong.  Bitch, whine and moan. */

See Also: unserialize().