Allows exporting any serializable PHP data structure to plain PHP code

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The VarExporter component allows exporting any serializable PHP data structure to plain PHP code. While doing so, it preserves all the semantics associated with the serialization mechanism of PHP (__wakeup, __sleep, Serializable, __serialize, __unserialize).

It also provides an instantiator that allows creating and populating objects without calling their constructor nor any other methods.

The reason to use this component vs serialize() or igbinary is performance: thanks to OPcache, the resulting code is significantly faster and more memory efficient than using unserialize() or igbinary_unserialize().

Unlike var_export(), this works on any serializable PHP value.

It also provides a few improvements over var_export()/serialize():

  • the output is PSR-2 compatible;
  • the output can be re-indented without messing up with \r or \n in the data
  • missing classes throw a ClassNotFoundException instead of being unserialized to PHP_Incomplete_Class objects;
  • references involving SplObjectStorage, ArrayObject or ArrayIterator instances are preserved;
  • Reflection*, IteratorIterator and RecursiveIteratorIterator classes throw an exception when being serialized (their unserialized version is broken anyway, see