PHP get the name of the given variable used using var_name()


Using PHP it is possible to get the given variable name as a string -- similar to using the function get_defined_vars() for a traceback.

A possible use case is a situation like a traceback where you call a function with a parameter and you need to know which variable was passed to the original function.

<?php function var_name(&$var) { foreach ($GLOBALS as $k => $v) {      $global_vars[$k] = $v; }   // save the variable's original value $saved_var = $var;   // modify the variable whose name we want to find $var = !$var;   // compare the defined variables before and after the modification $diff = array_keys(array_diff_assoc($global_vars, $GLOBALS));   // restore the variable's original value $var = $saved_var;   // return the name of the modified variable return $diff[0]; } header('Content-Type: text/plain');   $some_var_name = 'some value foo'; $another_var_name = 'bar'; $yet_another_var = 'baz';   echo '$' . var_name($some_var_name) . ' = ' . $some_var_name . "\n"; echo '$' . var_name($another_var_name) . ' = ' . $another_var_name . "\n"; echo '$' . var_name($yet_another_var) . ' = ' . $yet_another_var . "\n";

The above code will produce the following output:

$some_var_name = some value foo $another_var_name = bar $yet_another_var = baz

Posted . Did this help you? Please let me know with a comment. Thank you

Comments (RSS)

  1. anonymous

    Thanks for posting your solution. It works for variables with "global" scope. To use var_name() with variables defined within a function you would have to scan the array returned by get_defined_vars() instead of $GLOBALS.

    Would be great to have a class with objects that know their own name. E.g. $a1 = new varNameClass(); with a method: $a1->getName() returning the string 'a1'.

  2. anonymous



  3. anonymous

    This is pretty old but.. get_class($this) will give you a class name