string pack(string format, mixed [args]...);
Pack given arguments into binary string according to format. Returns binary string containing data.
The idea to this function was taken from Perl and all formatting codes work the same as there. The format string consists of format codes followed by an optional repeater argument. The repeater argument can be either an integer value or * for repeating to the end of the input data. For a, A, h, H the repeat count specifies how many characters of one data argument are taken, for @ it is the absolute position where to put the next data, for everything else the repeat count specifies how many data arguments are consumed and packed into the resulting binary string. Currently implemented are
a NUL-padded string
A SPACE-padded string
h Hex string, low nibble first
H Hex string, high nibble first
c signed char
C unsigned char
s signed short (always 16 bit, machine byte order)
S unsigned short (always 16 bit, machine byte order)
n unsigned short (always 16 bit, big endian byte order)
v unsigned short (always 16 bit, little endian byte order)
i signed integer (machine dependant size and byte order)
I unsigned integer (machine dependant size and byte order)
l signed long (always 32 bit, machine byte order)
L unsigned long (always 32 bit, machine byte order)
N unsigned long (always 32 bit, big endian byte order)
V unsigned long (always 32 bit, little endian byte order)
f float (machine dependent size and representation)
d double (machine dependent size and representation)
x NUL byte
X Back up one byte
@ NUL-fill to absolute position
Example 1. pack format string
$binarydata = pack("nvc*", 0x1234, 0x5678, 65, 66);
The resulting binary string will be 6 bytes long and contain the byte sequence 0x12, 0x34, 0x78, 0x56, 0x41, 0x42.
Note that the distinction between signed and unsigned values only affects the function unpack(), where as function pack() gives the same result for signed and unsigned format codes.
Also note that PHP internally stores integral values as signed values of a machine dependant size. If you give it an unsigned integral value too large to be stored that way it is converted to a double which often yields an undesired result.