I just saw this article in my RSS feeds, and was amazed at the complexity of the solution to a simple problem. The goal was to change query strings in a URL to the new values passed in as an associative array. If the URL didn’t have a query string, add one using the array. Also, query strings in the original URL not in the array shouldn’t be modified.

The provided function uses regular expression matching, multiple foreach loops, and really makes the problem more complex than it needs to be.

$url = modify_url(
    array('p' => 4, 'show' => 'column'),

$url is now http://www.example.com/page.php?p=4&show=column&style=2

So here’s my version:

function modify_url($mod, $url = FALSE){
    // If $url wasn't passed in, use the current url
    if($url == FALSE){
        $scheme = $_SERVER['SERVER_PORT'] == 80 ? 'http' : 'https';
        $url = $scheme.'://'.$_SERVER['HTTP_HOST'].$_SERVER['REQUEST_URI'];

    // Parse the url into pieces
    $url_array = parse_url($url);

    // The original URL had a query string, modify it.
        parse_str($url_array['query'], $query_array);
        foreach ($mod as $key => $value) {
                $query_array[$key] = $value;

    // The original URL didn't have a query string, add it.
        $query_array = $mod;

    return $url_array['scheme'].'://'.$url_array['host'].'/'.$url_array['path'].'?'.http_build_query($query_array);

I’m guessing the original author is just not familiar with parse_str , parse_url and http_build_query .

Moral of the story: regularly read through the PHP manual to see what’s available. You’ll save yourself time in the long run, and avoid re-inventing the wheel so often.

(Yes, I’m fully aware that I’ve just become that guy in XKCD.)

Duty Calls