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One of Life's Big Questions


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For decades I have lain awake at night pondering this major conundrum.

Why do PDO::FETCH_BOTH and mysqli->fetch_array() exist? Surely one either wants an associative array or, occasionally, a numerically indexed array?

Further, given their uselessness, why the hell are they the default?

Can anyone enlighten me as to their raison d'être?

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Presumably both of them do so to match the original mysql, whose fetch_array returned the combined form. And I'm going to guess it did out of some sense of "maximum usefulness, minimum effort": call the thing that returns an array and you can use it however you want. $_REQUEST will have come out of that same sort of mentality too, back when PHP was treated more like a templating system than a programming language.

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It's a great question.  I have to think that it was extra work to create the associative array version, so it never really made a lot of sense why having two versions of the same data returned in the same array, would be the default.

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