HP includes a complete object model. Some of its features are: visibility, abstract and final classes and methods, additional magic methods, interfaces, and cloning.

PHP treats objects in the same way as references or handles, meaning that each variable contains an object reference rather than a copy of the entire object.

Objects and references

One of the key-points of PHP OOP that is often mentioned is that "objects are passed by references by default". This is not completely true.

A PHP reference is an alias, which allows two different variables to write to the same value. In PHP, an object variable doesn't contain the object itself as value. It only contains an object identifier which allows object accessors to find the actual object. When an object is sent by argument, returned or assigned to another variable, the different variables are not aliases: they hold a copy of the identifier, which points to the same object.

class A {
    public $foo = 1;

$a = new A;
$b = $a;     // $a and $b are copies of the same identifier
             // ($a) = ($b) = <id>
$b->foo = 2;
echo $a->foo."\n";

$c = new A;
$d = &$c;    // $c and $d are references
             // ($c,$d) = <id>

$d->foo = 2;
echo $c->foo."\n";

$e = new A;

function foo($obj) {
    // ($obj) = ($e) = <id>
    $obj->foo = 2;

echo $e->foo."\n";


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