PHP: Alphabetical with folders on top

Posted on 2011-03-09
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2012-05-11
I want to sort my array alphabetically, but items without a period in them should be first.

In the example below, I want the items in this order:

    [4] => Folder 1
    [2] => Folder 2
    [0] => Apples.jpg
    [3] => Oranges.png
    [1] => Pears.gif


$a = array();

$a[] = 'Apples.jpg';
$a[] = 'Pears.gif';
$a[] = 'Folder 2';
$a[] = 'Oranges.png';
$a[] = 'Folder 1';




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Question by:hankknight
LVL 39

Accepted Solution

Aaron Tomosky earned 1000 total points
ID: 35090409
Split the arrays so folders and files are seperate, sort each array, merge them together
LVL 111

Assisted Solution

by:Ray Paseur
Ray Paseur earned 600 total points
ID: 35090575
It looks like the $a variable that you have handcoded in the example is really the result of reading a directory and aggregating the files and folders that are part of this directory.  Is that right?  If not, please show us where this data comes from.  If so, create two arrays.

You might want to use glob() or readdir() to access the directory.

Then you can apply the built-in PHP functions to decide which of the two arrays to put them in.

Once that is done, sort the two arrays to get the directory and file names in the right order.

Then create the output or combine the arrays in the way that you want.

HTH, ~Ray
LVL 34

Assisted Solution

by:Beverley Portlock
Beverley Portlock earned 400 total points
ID: 35093346
There is a question I dealt with http://www.experts-exchange.com/Web_Development/Web_Languages-Standards/PHP/Q_26304778.html to do something very similar. By extending the class and changing the sort criteria it will do what you want.

The altered  version is below. You will need to change the data in the test code at the bottom to try it out on your own folders especially this $pathToStartAt = "/path/to/folder"; line. Put a full path in. I have also inserted a line near the top to enable error_reporting during testing but it can be removed later


ini_set('display_errors',1); error_reporting(E_ALL);

class FileData {

     public $fileDate;
     public $fileName;
     public $filePath;
     public $fileSize;
     public $folderSort;
     function __construct( $p, $n, $d, $s, $t ) {
          $this->filePath = $p;
          $this->fileName = $n;
          $this->size = $s;
          $this->fileDate = $d;
          $this->folderSort = ( strtolower($t) == "file" ) ? 1 : 0;

     function FileCompareSort( $a, $b ) {

          // Build composite keys for sorting
          $aKey = sprintf("%02d%s", $a->folderSort, $a->fileName );
          $bKey = sprintf("%02d%s", $b->folderSort, $b->fileName );

          // Compare
          if ( $aKey < $bKey )
               return -1;
               if ( $aKey > $bKey )
                    return 1;

          return 0;

     function searchDir( $pathToDirectory, & $results ) {

          // Make sure the directory has a trailing slash
          if ( substr( $pathToDirectory, -1, 1 ) != "/" )
               $pathToDirectory .= "/";

          // Get list of files in directory
          if ( $fileList = opendir( $pathToDirectory ) ) {
               while ( $aFile = readdir( $fileList ) ) {

                    if ( $aFile == "." || $aFile == ".." )

                    $fileType = filetype( $pathToDirectory . $aFile );
                    if ( $fileType != "file" && $fileType != "dir")

                    // Get attributes and store in array
                    $dateCreated = filectime( $pathToDirectory . $aFile );
                    $size = filesize( $pathToDirectory . $aFile );

                    $results [] = new FileData( $pathToDirectory, $aFile, $dateCreated, $size, $fileType );

               closedir( $fileList );

          return $results;

$arr = array();
$pathToStartAt = "/path/to/folder";

// Gather data
searchDir($pathToStartAt, $arr);

// Sort into sequence
uasort( $arr, array( 'Filedata','FileCompareSort') );

// Display as a simple list
foreach( $arr as $aFile )  {
     $isDir = ( $aFile->folderSort == 0 ) ? "/" : "";
     echo $aFile->filePath . " " . date("m/d/Y", $aFile->fileDate ) . " " . $aFile->size . " " . $isDir.$aFile->fileName . "<br/>";


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