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what does & ( ampersand ) simbol infront of variable means in php

Prior to PHP5, when you created an object from a class in PHP, that object would be passed into other variables by value. The object was NOT a reference, as is standard in most other object oriented (Java, C#, etc.) languages.

However, by instantiating a class with an ampersand in front of it, you could create a reference to the returned object, and it would behave like an object in other languages. This was a common technique prior to PHP5 to achieve OOP like effects and/or improve performance.


$foo = 'bar';
$baz = &$foo;

echo $foo //bar
echo $baz //bar

$foo = 'foobazbar';
echo $foo //foobazbar
echo $baz //foobazbar



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