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PHP 101 (part 3): Looping The Loop
Learn how to repeatedly execute code with loops and more sophisticated conditional tests.

| Switching Things Around |

An alternative to the if-else() family of control structures is PHP's switch-case() statement, which does almost the same thing. It looks like this:

switch (decision-variable) {
    case first condition is true:
        do this!
    case second condition is true:
        do this!
      ... and so on...

Depending on the value of the decision variable, the appropriate case() block is executed. A default block can also be created, to handle all those occasions when the value of the decision variable does not match any of the listed case() conditions.

I'll make this a little clearer by re-writing one of my earlier examples in terms of the switch() statement:



// get form selection
$day = $_GET['day'];
// check value and select appropriate item
switch ($day) {
    case 1:
        $special = 'Chicken in oyster sauce';
    case 2:
        $special = 'French onion soup';
    case 3:
        $special = 'Pork chops with mashed potatoes and green salad';
        $special = 'Fish and chips';


<h2>Today's special is:</h2>
<?php echo $special ?>

There are a couple of important keywords here:

* The break keyword is used to break out of the switch() statement block and move immediately to the lines following it.

* The default keyword is used to execute a default set of statements when the variable passed to switch() does not satisfy any of the conditions listed within the block.

A common newbie mistake here is to forget the break at the end of every case() block. Remember that if you forget to break out of a case() block, PHP will continue executing the code in all the subsequent case() blocks it encounters.

For more on the switch() statement, see http://www.php.net/manual/en/control-structures.switch.php.

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