Revamp your PHP code with this clever trick: how to add to an array only if it doesn`t already exist

Table of content

  1. Introduction
  2. Overview of the problem
  3. The clever trick: adding to an array only if it doesn't already exist
  4. Step-by-step guide to implement the trick
  5. Advantages of using this trick
  6. Examples of code using this trick
  7. Conclusion


If you're a PHP developer who wants to revamp your code, you've come to the right place. One clever trick to make your code cleaner and more efficient is to add to an array only if it doesn't already exist. This may sound tricky, but it's actually a simple process that can save you a lot of time and headaches in the long run. In this article, we'll explore how you can implement this trick in your PHP code, step-by-step. So, whether you're looking to optimize your code or just learn a new technique, read on to learn more about this useful trick.

Overview of the problem


When working with arrays in PHP, you may need to add new elements to the array while also ensuring that they do not already exist. This can be a tricky problem to solve, especially if you are dealing with large arrays or complex data structures. One approach is to loop through the array and check each element to see if it matches the new element you want to add. However, this approach can be slow and inefficient, particularly if you have a lot of data to process. Another solution is to use PHP's built-in array functions, such as array_key_exists() or in_array(), to check if the element already exists. However, this approach can also be slow and may not work for more complex data structures. In this article, we will show you a clever trick that you can use to add to an array only if it doesn't already exist, using a simple one-liner of PHP code. This trick is easy to implement and can help you save time and improve the performance of your PHP applications.

The clever trick: adding to an array only if it doesn’t already exist

To revamp your PHP code, you'll need a clever trick for adding to an array only if it doesn't already exist. Here's how it works:

First, you'll need to create a new array and initialize it with your current array. Then, you'll loop through your existing array and use the "in_array" function to check if each value is already in the new array. If it's not, you can use the "array_push" function to add it.

Here's an example:

$existing_array = array('apple', 'banana', 'orange', 'pear');

$new_array = $existing_array;

foreach ($existing_array as $value) {
  if (!in_array($value, $new_array)) {
    array_push($new_array, $value);

print_r($new_array); //output: Array ( [0] => apple [1] => banana [2] => orange [3] => pear )

In this example, both the existing array and the new array contain the same values. The loop checks each value in the existing array and adds it to the new array only if it's not already there. The end result is a new array that contains all the unique values from the existing array.

Using this clever trick can help you streamline your code and make it more efficient. So give it a try and see how it works for you!

Step-by-step guide to implement the trick

Implementing this clever trick to revamp your PHP code is easier than you might think. Here's a step-by-step guide to get you started:

Step 1: Declare your array

First things first: make sure you have an array to work with. Declare it at the beginning of your script, like this:

$myArray = [];

Step 2: Write your function

In order to add to the array only if it doesn't already exist, you'll need to write a function. Here's what it might look like:

function addToMyArray($item) {
  global $myArray;
  if (!in_array($item, $myArray)) {
    $myArray[] = $item;

Step 3: Call your function

Now that your function is written, it's time to use it. Simply call the function and pass it the item you want to add to the array:

addToMyArray('apple'); // this won't be added, because it already exists in the array

And that's it! Now you have an array that only contains unique values.

Step 4: Test your code

Always make sure to test your code to make sure it's working as expected. Try adding different values to the array, including ones that already exist, and see if they get added or not.

Remember, the key to becoming a proficient programmer is to practice and experiment. Don't be afraid to make mistakes and learn from them. Happy coding!

Advantages of using this trick

Using the clever trick of adding to an array only if it doesn't already exist can have several advantages in your PHP code.

For one, it can help you avoid the issue of duplicate values within your array. If you don't use this trick and simply add values to an array without checking if they already exist, you may end up with multiple entries of the same value. This can not only make your code messy and difficult to work with, but it can also cause problems down the line if you need to perform calculations or other operations using the array data.

Another advantage of this trick is that it can help improve the efficiency of your PHP code. Checking for the existence of a value in an array before adding it may seem like an extra step, but in reality, it can save you time and resources in the long run. By avoiding the unnecessary addition of duplicate values, your code can run more quickly and with fewer errors.

Overall, incorporating this clever trick into your PHP code can help make it more streamlined, efficient, and easier to work with. By taking the time to implement this simple but effective technique, you can improve the quality and functionality of your PHP projects.

Examples of code using this trick


Let's say you have an array of cities, and you want to add a new city to the array only if it doesn't already exist. Here's how you can do it with this clever trick:

$cities = array('New York', 'London', 'Paris', 'Tokyo');
$new_city = 'Berlin';

if (!in_array($new_city, $cities)) {
    array_push($cities, $new_city);

This code first checks if the new city is already in the array using the in_array() function. If the city is not in the array, it adds the new city using the array_push() function.

You can also use this trick with associative arrays. Here's an example:

$students = array(
    'John' => array('Math' => 90, 'Science' => 85),
    'Jane' => array('Math' => 95, 'Science' => 92)
$name = 'Tom';
$marks = array('Math' => 88, 'Science' => 85);

if (!array_key_exists($name, $students)) {
    $students[$name] = $marks;

This code first checks if the student's name is already in the array using the array_key_exists() function. If the name is not in the array, it adds the new student's name and marks using array assignment.


In , adding elements to an array in PHP only if it doesn't already exist can be achieved by using a clever trick. This simple technique can help you avoid duplicates and enhance the efficiency of your code.

It is important to note that there are many useful tricks and tips that you can use to improve your PHP skills. As you continue to learn and develop your abilities, consider trying out different techniques and exploring new possibilities.

By regularly practicing your PHP skills and experimenting with new approaches, you can become more proficient and confident in your programming abilities. Don't be afraid to push yourself out of your comfort zone and try new things.

Additionally, it is important to stay up-to-date with the latest trends and developments in the PHP community. Sign up for blogs, forums, and social media groups to stay connected and informed. However, be cautious of relying solely on these sources, as they can sometimes provide incomplete or misleading information.

Remember, the key to mastering PHP is to start with the basics and gradually build your knowledge and skills over time. Don't rush into advanced techniques before fully understanding the fundamentals. With patience, perseverance, and a willingness to learn, you can become a skilled and confident PHP developer.

As an experienced software engineer, I have a strong background in the financial services industry. Throughout my career, I have honed my skills in a variety of areas, including public speaking, HTML, JavaScript, leadership, and React.js. My passion for software engineering stems from a desire to create innovative solutions that make a positive impact on the world. I hold a Bachelor of Technology in IT from Sri Ramakrishna Engineering College, which has provided me with a solid foundation in software engineering principles and practices. I am constantly seeking to expand my knowledge and stay up-to-date with the latest technologies in the field. In addition to my technical skills, I am a skilled public speaker and have a talent for presenting complex ideas in a clear and engaging manner. I believe that effective communication is essential to successful software engineering, and I strive to maintain open lines of communication with my team and clients.
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