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Handling the "Uncaught Error: [] operator not supported for strings" in PHP

PHP is a versatile scripting language commonly used for web development, but even experienced developers encounter errors from time to time. One such error is the "Uncaught Error: [] operator not supported for strings." In this blog post, we'll explore the reasons behind this error and how to fix it with a real-world example.

Understanding the Error:

The error message "Uncaught Error: [] operator not supported for strings" indicates that you're attempting to use the [] array push operator on a variable that is not an array. PHP expects the [] syntax to be used exclusively with arrays to add elements, but if the variable is a string, PHP throws this error.

The Scenario:

Consider the following code snippet:

$Test_List_Arr = ''; // Initializing as a string
$Test_List_Arr[] = 'Value'; // Error: [] operator not supported for strings

In this example, the intention might have been to push a value into $Test_List_Arr, but since it was initialized as a string, PHP raises the "[] operator not supported for strings" error.

The Solution:

To resolve this issue, you should ensure that the variable you intend to use the [] operator on is initialized as an array. Here's how to fix the issue in the context of your code:

if ($outer_stmt_row['Test_List'] != '') {
    $Test_List_Arr = array(); // Initialize as an array
    // Rest of your code
} else {
    $Test_List_Arr = array(); // Initialize as an empty array

By initializing $Test_List_Arr as an array using array() before the loop, you can use the [] array push operator to add values to it without encountering the error.

Benefits of the Solution:

  • Error Prevention: Properly initializing variables helps prevent errors and ensures code behaves as expected.
  • Maintainable Code: Clear array initialization makes your code more readable and maintainable.
  • Avoid Debugging Time: Addressing this issue early on can save you valuable debugging time in the future.


Understanding and addressing errors like "Uncaught Error: [] operator not supported for strings" is essential for writing robust PHP code. By ensuring that variables are properly initialized as arrays when using array-specific operators, you can create reliable and error-free code. Remember that a solid foundation in debugging and error resolution is a valuable skill for any PHP developer.

If you encounter this error or similar ones, don't be discouraged. Instead, use it as an opportunity to deepen your understanding of PHP and improve your coding practices.

Feel free to explore more and ask questions if you need assistance. Happy coding!

Handling the "Uncaught Error: [] operator not supported for strings" in PHP Reviewed by Ashok Sen on 22:15:00 Rating: 5

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