Sai A Sai A
Updated date Dec 10, 2023
In this blog, we will learn how to simplify data handling in PHP by converting arrays to CSV files with custom delimiters. This blog explores two methods, using fputcsv and implode, providing practical code examples and explanations.

Introduction:

Handling data is a crucial aspect of web development, and PHP provides powerful tools to make this process seamless. One common requirement is converting an array into a CSV (Comma-Separated Values) file, but what if you need a custom delimiter instead of a comma? In this blog, we will explore different methods to achieve this in PHP.

Method 1: Using fputcsv with a Custom Delimiter

The fputcsv function in PHP is a handy tool for writing arrays to CSV files, but it uses a comma as the default delimiter. To change this delimiter, we can use a combination of fopen and stream_filter_append. Let's take a look at the code:

<?php
// Sample array
$data = array(
    array('John', 'Doe', 28),
    array('Jane', 'Smith', 35),
    // ... add more data as needed
);

// Open a file handle for writing
$fp = fopen('output.csv', 'w');

// Set a custom delimiter (in this case, a semicolon)
stream_filter_append($fp, 'convert.iconv.UTF-8/UTF-16LE', STREAM_FILTER_WRITE, $enc_params);

// Iterate through the array and write to the CSV file
foreach ($data as $row) {
    fputcsv($fp, $row, ';');
}

// Close the file handle
fclose($fp);
?>

Output:

The code above will generate a CSV file named "output.csv" with a semicolon (;) as the delimiter. The file will contain the array data in CSV format.

  • We start by defining our sample array, which represents rows of data.
  • The fopen function is used to open a file handle for writing, creating or truncating the file if it already exists.
  • stream_filter_append is used to set a custom delimiter. In this case, we are using a semicolon (;).
  • The foreach loop iterates through the array, and fputcsv writes each row to the CSV file with the specified delimiter.
  • Finally, fclose is used to close the file handle.

Method 2: Using implode with a Custom Delimiter

An alternative method involves using implode to join array elements with a custom delimiter. While this method is straightforward, it may not be as robust as fputcsv when dealing with special characters or complex data.

<?php
// Sample array
$data = array(
    array('John', 'Doe', 28),
    array('Jane', 'Smith', 35),
    // ... add more data as needed
);

// Open a file handle for writing
$fp = fopen('output.csv', 'w');

// Iterate through the array and write to the CSV file
foreach ($data as $row) {
    // Implode array elements with a semicolon (;) as the delimiter
    $csvRow = implode(';', $row);
    
    // Write the CSV row to the file
    fwrite($fp, $csvRow . PHP_EOL);
}

// Close the file handle
fclose($fp);
?>

Output:

This code will also generate a CSV file named "output.csv" with a semicolon (;) as the delimiter. Each row of the array will be joined into a string and written to the file.

  • We start by defining our sample array, similar to Method 1.
  • The fopen function is used to open a file handle for writing, creating or truncating the file if it already exists.
  • The foreach loop iterates through the array, and implode is used to join array elements with a semicolon (;) as the delimiter.
  • fwrite is used to write the CSV row to the file, followed by PHP_EOL to add a newline after each row.
  • Finally, fclose is used to close the file handle.

Conclusion:

In this blog, we have explored two methods for converting arrays to CSV files with custom delimiters in PHP. The first method used fputcsv, a versatile function designed for handling CSV data. The second method used implode to manually concatenate array elements with a custom delimiter.

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