php 7 – strict typing and return types

This is going to be the first of my PHP 7 posts where PHP 7 has grown up and has PHP 7 taken a massive leap forwards!!!

So the first thing is return types, before PHP 7 there was no return typing e.g.

function add($a,$b) {
    return $a + $b;
echo add("hi there","good");

was a “valid” PHP code!!

But now with not only parameter type hinting, you are also able to use return types with strict typing as well!. So to start with, this is defining the return type of int (just before the function body there is the :int)

function add(int $a,int $b): int {
    return (int)($a + $b);
echo add(2,3);

The answer of course will be 5, but you could still be silly and allow PHP to convert string characters (that was alphanumeric) to integers, for example calling the above function like

echo add("2","3");

Would still work and give the answer of 5!, which is kinder wrong!.

So there is the strict typing which enforces the correct parameter being used.

So if you change the above code to

function add(int $a,int $b): int {
    return (int)($a + $b);

The output would be

PHP Fatal error:  Uncaught TypeError: Argument 1 passed to add() must be of the type integer, string given, called in /home/genux/Programming/php7/scalar.php on line 12 and def
ined in /home/genux/Programming/php7/scalar.php:5
Stack trace:
#0 /home/genux/Programming/php7/scalar.php(12): add('2', '3')
#1 {main}
  thrown in /home/genux/Programming/php7/scalar.php on line 5

Which means that you have pass in the integer values, as in strict typing and not just assume PHP will be “cool” and just sort it out for you.