Data Types

PHP provides eight types of values, or data types. Four are scalar (single-value) types: integers, floating-point numbers, strings, and Booleans. Two are compound (collection) types: arrays and objects. The remaining two are special types: resource and NULL. Numbers, Booleans, resources, and NULL are discussed in full here, while strings, arrays, and objects are big enough topics that they get their own chapters (Chapters 4, 5, and 6).


Integers are whole numbers, such as 1, 12, and 256. The range of acceptable values varies according to the details of your platform but typically extends from −2,147,483,648 to +2,147,483,647. Specifically, the range is equivalent to the range of the long data type of your C compiler. Unfortunately, the C standard doesn’t specify what range that long type should have, so on some systems you might see a different integer range.

Integer literals can be written in decimal, octal, binary, or hexadecimal. Decimal values are represented by a sequence of digits, without leading zeros. The sequence may begin with a plus (+) or minus () sign. If there is no sign, positive is assumed. Examples of decimal integers include the following:


Octal numbers consist of a leading 0 and a sequence of digits from 0 to 7. Like decimal numbers, octal numbers can be prefixed with a plus or minus. Here are some example octal values and their equivalent decimal values:

0755             // decimal 493
+010             // decimal 8

Hexadecimal values begin with 0x, followed ...

Get Programming PHP, 3rd Edition now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.