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php – Sorting multi-dimensional array by weighted value

Posted by: admin July 12, 2020 Leave a comment

Questions:

There are numerous questions here asking how to sort a multi-dimensional array in PHP. The answer is usort(). I know that. But I have a question that takes it a bit further, and I couldn’t see a similar answer here.

I have an array of records, each of which includes a country ID (or a country name if you prefer; it’s not relevant).

My task is to sort the array in such a way as to favour certain countries. This is dynamic — ie the choice of countries to favour is determined by the user’s config. I have a separate array which specifies the required sort order for the first few countries; results from other countries would just be left unsorted at the end of the list.

So the question is: how do I get the this sort criteria into usort() without resorting to using a global variable. And preferably without injecting the criteria array into every element of the main array (‘coz if I’m going to loop it anyway, what’s the point in using usort() at all?)

Please note: Since it’s going to be relevant to the answers here, I’m stuck on PHP 5.2 for the time being, so I can’t use an anonymous function. We are in the process of upgrading, but for now I need answers that will work for 5.2. (answers for 5.3/5.4 will be welcome too, especially if they make it significantly easier, but I won’t be able to use them)

How to&Answers:

You explicitly write that you do not want to have global variables, so I do not make you a suggestion with static variables as well because those are actually global variables – and those are not needed at all.

In PHP 5.2 (and earlier) if you need call context within the callback, you can create your context by making use of a class of it’s own that carries it:

class CallContext
{
}

For example you have the compare function for sort:

class CallContext
{
    ...
    public function compare($a, $b)
    {
         return $this->weight($a) - $this->weight($b);
    }

    public function getCallback()
    {
         return array($this, 'compare');
    }
    ...
}

That function can be used as the following as a callback with usort then:

$context = new CallContext();

usort($array, $context->getCallback());

Pretty straight forward. The private implementation of CallContext::weight is still missing, and from your question we know it needs some sort data and information. For example the name of the key of the country id in each record. Lets assume records are Stdclass objects so to get the weight of one record the context class needs to know the name of the property, the sort-order you define your own and a sort-value for those country-ids that are not defined in the custom sort order (the others, the rest).

These configuration values are given with the constructor function (ctor in short) and are stored as private members. The missing weight function then converts a record into the sort-value based on that information:

class CallContext
{
    private $property, $sortOrder, $sortOther;

    public function __construct($property, $sortOrder, $sortOther = 9999)
    {
        $this->property = $property;
        $this->sortOrder = $sortOrder;
        $this->sortOther = $sortOther;
    }

    private function weight($object) {
        if (!is_object($object)) {
            throw new InvalidArgumentException(sprintf('Not an object: %s.', print_r($object, 1)));
        }
        if (!isset($object->{$this->property})) {
            throw new InvalidArgumentException(sprintf('Property "%s" not found in object: %s.', $this->property, print_r($object, 1)));
        }
        $value = $object->{$this->property};
        return isset($this->sortOrder[$value])
               ? $this->sortOrder[$value]
               : $this->sortOther;
    }
    ...

The usage now extends to the following:

$property = 'country';
$order = array(
    # country ID => sort key (lower is first)
    46 => 1,
    45 => 2
);
$context = new CallContext('country', $order);
usort($array, $context->getCallback());

With the same principle you can very often convert any PHP 5.3 closure with use clauses to PHP 5.2. The variables from the use clause become private members injected with construction.

This variant does not only prevent the usage of static, it also makes visible that you have got some mapping per each element and as both elements are treated equal, it makes use of a private implementation of some weight function which works very well with usort.

I hope this is helpful.

Answer:

You might not want a global variable, but you need something that behaves like one. You could use a class with static methods and parameters. It won’t pollute the global scope that much and it would still function the way you need it.

class CountryCompare {
    public static $country_priorities;

    public static function compare( $a, $b ) {
        // Some custom sorting criteria
        // Work with self::country_priorities
    }

    public static function sort( $countries ) {
        return usort( $countries, array( 'CountryCompare', 'compare' ) );
    }
}

Then just call it like this:

CountryCompare::country_priorities = loadFromConfig();
CountryCompare::sort( $countries );

Answer:

You can use closures (PHP >= 5.3):

$weights = array( ... );
usort($records, function($a, $b) use ($weights) {
    // use $weights in here as usual and perform your sort logic
});

Answer:

See Demo : http://codepad.org/vDI2k4n6

$arrayMonths = array(
       'jan' => array(1, 8, 5,4),
       'feb' => array(10,12,15,11),
       'mar' => array(12, 7, 4, 3),
       'apr' => array(10,16,7,17),
    );

$position = array("Foo1","Foo2","Foo3","FooN");
$set = array();

foreach($arrayMonths as $key => $value)
{
    $max = max($value);
    $pos = array_search($max, $value);
    $set[$key][$position[$pos]] = $max ;
}


function cmp($a, $b)
{
    foreach($a as $key => $value )
    {
        foreach ($b  as $bKey => $bValue)
        {
            return $bValue - $value ;
        }
    }

}

uasort($set,"cmp");
var_dump($set);

output

array
      'apr' => 
        array
          'FooN' => int 17
      'feb' => 
        array
          'Foo3' => int 15
      'mar' => 
        array
          'Foo1' => int 12
      'jan' => 
        array
          'Foo2' => int 8

another example:-

Sorting a Multi-Dimensional Array with PHP

http://www.firsttube.com/read/sorting-a-multi-dimensional-array-with-php/

Every so often I find myself with a multidimensional array that I want to sort by a value in a sub-array. I have an array that might look like this:

//an array of some songs I like
$songs =  array(
        '1' => array('artist'=>'The Smashing Pumpkins', 'songname'=>'Soma'),
        '2' => array('artist'=>'The Decemberists', 'songname'=>'The Island'),
        '3' => array('artist'=>'Fleetwood Mac', 'songname' =>'Second-hand News')
    );

The problem is thus: I’d like to echo out the songs I like in the format “Songname (Artist),” and I’d like to do it alphabetically by artist. PHP provides many functions for sorting arrays, but none will work here. ksort() will allow me to sort by key, but the keys in the $songs array are irrelevant. asort() allows me to sort and preserves keys, but it will sort $songs by the value of each element, which is also useless, since the value of each is “array()”. usort() is another possible candidate and can do multi-dimensional sorting, but it involves building a callback function and is often pretty long-winded. Even the examples in the PHP docs references specific keys.

So I developed a quick function to sort by the value of a key in a sub-array. Please note this version does a case-insensitive sort. See subval_sort() below.

function subval_sort($a,$subkey) {
    foreach($a as $k=>$v) {
        $b[$k] = strtolower($v[$subkey]);
    }
    asort($b);
    foreach($b as $key=>$val) {
        $c[] = $a[$key];
    }
    return $c;
}

To use it on the above, I would simply type:

$songs = subval_sort($songs,'artist'); 
print_r($songs);

This is what you should expect see:

Array
(
    [0] => Array
        (
            [artist] => Fleetwood Mac
            [song] => Second-hand News
        )

    [1] => Array
        (
            [artist] => The Decemberists
            [song] => The Island
        )

    [2] => Array
        (
            [artist] => The Smashing Pumpkins
            [song] => Cherub Rock
        )

)

The songs, sorted by artist.

Answer:

The answer to your question is indeed in the usort() function. However, what you need to do is write the function that you pass to it is doing the weighting for you properly.

Most of the time, you have something like

if($a>$b)
{
    return $a;
}

But what you need to do is something along the lines of

if($a>$b || $someCountryID != 36)
{
    return $a;
}
else
{
    return $b;
}

Answer:

You need to use ksort to sort by weight, not usort. That will be much cleaner.

Arrange your data in an associative array $weighted_data in the format weight => country_data_struct. This is a very intuitive form of presentation for weighted data. Then run

krsort($weighted_data)