Preferred method to store PHP arrays (json_encode vs serialize)

I need to store a multi-dimensional associative array of data in a flat file for caching purposes. I might occasionally come across the need to convert it to JSON for use in my web app but the vast majority of the time I will be using the array directly in PHP.

Would it be more efficient to store the array as JSON or as a PHP serialized array in this text file? I’ve looked around and it seems that in the newest versions of PHP (5.3), json_decode is actually faster than unserialize .

I’m currently leaning towards storing the array as JSON as I feel its easier to read by a human if necessary, it can be used in both PHP and JavaScript with very little effort, and from what I’ve read, it might even be faster to decode (not sure about encoding, though).

Does anyone know of any pitfalls? Anyone have good benchmarks to show the performance benefits of either method?

1 Like