An implementation of a generic collection for PHP


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An implementation of generic collections in PHP using iterators. Brings type safety to your arrays without hacks or ugly code.


The primary way of using this library is to create your own collection class which extends the GenericCollection and sets its type in the constructor like so:

use JTL\Generic\GenericCollection;

class MyItemCollection extends GenericCollection {
    public function __construct()

You can now add new items to your collection in bulk, using $collection[] = ... or by using the static from function.

$collection = new MyItemCollection();
$item1 = new MyItem(1);
$item2 = new MyItem(2);
$item3 = new MyItem(3);
$itemList = [

$collection[] = $item1;
$collection->addItemList([$item2, $item3]);

$collection2 = MyItemCollection::from($item1, $item2, $item3);
$collection3 = MyItemCollection::from(...$itemList);

Trying to add a new item that's not of the specified type will throw an InvalidArgumentException.

$collection = new MyItemCollection();
$item1 = new MyItem(1);
$item2 = 'not MyItem';
$item3 = new MyItem(3);

$collection[] = $item1;
$collection[] = $item2; // <- Doesn't work. This will throw an exception
$collection->addItemList([$item2, $item3]); // <- This won't work either because $item2 is not a 'MyItem'

Advanced type checking

The default type checking function only checks if the item to be added is an instance of the given type or, if you set the type to 'string', if it is a string.
If you desire more advanced type checking you can implement your own algorithm easily.
Your custom collection class simply needs to override the checkType method and return true if the type matches or false if it doesn't.

Here's an example of a collection that only accepts even numbers.

use JTL\Generic\GenericCollection;

class EvenCollection extends GenericCollection {
    public function checkType($item): bool {
        return $item % 2 === 0;

$e = new EvenCollection();
$e[] = 2;
$e[] = 4;
$e[] = 5; // <- Doesn't work. This will throw an exception

Iterator methods

In addition to ensuring type safety the GenericCollection also implements a few methods to make working with iterators more pleasant.
Note: Some of these methods mutate the state of the collection. If this behavior is not desired you may wish to clone the collection before modifying it.

The following methods are currently implemented:

Method Explanation
each(Closure) Performs a closure on each item in the collection
map(Closure) Replaces every element in the collection with the result of the closure
filter(Closure) Modifies the collection to leave only items in the collection for which the closure returns true
clone() Clones the collection
chain(GenericCollection) Appends another collection to the end of the current collection
zip(GenericCollection) Zips another collection with the current collection
partition(Closure) Creates two collections, one for which the closure returns true and one for which the closure returns false
reduce(Closure) Reduces the collection to a final value based on a closure
all(Closure) Returns true if the closure returns true for each element, otherwise false
any(Closure) Returns true if the closure returns true for at least one element, otherwise false
find(Closure) Returns the first element for which the closure returns true
from(...$items) Create a new collection from existing items

What does zipping do?

Zipping joins two collections together so that each element of the new collection is a tuple of one element from the first, or left, collection and one element from the second, or right, collection. To keep the code readable you access the elements of the tuple using getLeft() and getRight().


$itemList1 = new ItemCollection();
$itemList2 = new ItemCollection();
$item11 = new Item('123');
$item12 = new Item('789');
$item21 = new Item('456');
$item22 = new Item('0');
$itemList1[] = $item11;
$itemList1[] = $item12;
$itemList2[] = $item21;
$itemList2[] = $item21;
$zip = $itemList1->zip($itemList2);
foreach ($zip as $tuple) {
    echo $tuple->getLeft()->getContent() . $tuple->getRight()->getContent() . "\n";
// Output:

Important! You can zip two collections of different types!


A zipped collection can be unzipped into the two original collections using the unzip() method on a zipped collection.

Building upon the previous example:

[$unzippedItemList1, $unzippedItemList2] = $zip->unzip();

At this point $itemList1 and $unzippedItemList1 will be identical. The same is true for $itemList2 and $unzippedItemList2.

The zipped collection stores the original collection types internally so unzipping is even possible if you zip two different collection types.


The code is released under the MIT License.