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SplFileObject::fread()

Let's go back to August 2013 for a moment. This was when Sherif Sabry (probably not the Egyptian tennis player) raised a ticket on the PHP bug tracker:

Request #65545 Implement file_get_contents() method for SplFileObject

A few months passed and Tjerk Anne Meesters put together a patch, and eventually committed the new SplFileObject::fread() method to the PHP source; which became publicly available in PHP 5.5.11.

Expected usage

The method's primary purpose is to be the SplFileObject-based alternative to the fread() function (for all of the OOP groupies), and also to provide a way to replicate the file_get_contents() function for SplFileObject objects; to easily read the entire contents of a file.

<?php
$file = new SplFileObject('/path/to/a/file.txt');

// Replicating file_get_contents()
echo $file->fread($file->getSize());
?>

Another practical example

When might reading the file in chunks of bytes, rather than normally line-by-line, be useful? Well, here's one quicky example, which provides a hex dump of whatever is passed to the file via stdin.

hex_dump.php

<?php
// Helper function to format bytes into a hex dump
function hex_dump($bytes, $width) {
    $bytes_dump = preg_replace('/[^[:print:]]/', '.', $bytes);
    $bytes_dump = str_pad($bytes_dump, $width);

    $hex_bytes = unpack('H*', $bytes)[1];
    $hex_dump  = implode(' ', str_split($hex_bytes, 2));
    $hex_dump  = str_pad($hex_dump, $width * 3);

    return "{$hex_dump} | {$bytes_dump}\n";
};

// Number of bytes to read at a time
$width = 16;

// Read from stdin and print hex dump
$stdin = new SplFileObject('php://stdin');
while ($stdin->valid()) {
    echo hex_dump($stdin->fread($width), $width);
}
?>

Usage

$ php hex_dump.php < rhyme.txt

rhyme.txt

Mary had a little lamb,
His fleece was white as snow,
And everywhere that Mary went,
The lamb was sure to go.

Output

4d 61 72 79 20 68 61 64 20 61 20 6c 69 74 74 6c  | Mary had a littl
65 20 6c 61 6d 62 2c 0a 48 69 73 20 66 6c 65 65  | e lamb,.His flee
63 65 20 77 61 73 20 77 68 69 74 65 20 61 73 20  | ce was white as 
73 6e 6f 77 2c 0a 41 6e 64 20 65 76 65 72 79 77  | snow,.And everyw
68 65 72 65 20 74 68 61 74 20 4d 61 72 79 20 77  | here that Mary w
65 6e 74 2c 0a 54 68 65 20 6c 61 6d 62 20 77 61  | ent,.The lamb wa
73 20 73 75 72 65 20 74 6f 20 67 6f 2e 0a        | s sure to go..  

External resources