Inspect Object in PHP

To display the contents of an object in Ruby is really simple.

All you do is store the object in a variable, then pass the variable as an argument to the Kernel method p(), which in turn writes obj.inspect to the standard output.

For example:

class Person
  attr_accessor :name, :age
  def initialize(name, age)
    @name, @age = name, age

bob="Robert DeNiro", 68)
p bob

Outputs: #<Person:0x1a58d8 @age=68, @name="Robert DeNiro">

I was recently doing something in WordPress where it would have been really useful to see the contents of an object I was fetching.

Here’s how I solved the problem:

  // get_term_by returns an object
  $term = get_term_by(
    get_query_var( 'term' ),
    get_query_var( 'taxonomy' )

  $array = get_object_vars($term);
  while (list($key, $val) = each($array)) {
    echo "$key => $val"."<br />";

This does what it should, but I still think the Ruby way is less cumbersome though …

N.B. Also useful was PHP’s count() function, which returns the length of an array.

This is documented here:

Edit: since getting a bit more into PHP, I have discovered the nifty function print_r(), which outputs human-readable information about a variable. You can read more about this here: