Convert PHP string with an array statement into a real array

I got a string var named: $taxonomy_str

For example, echo $taxonomy_str will display:

array('relation' => 'AND', 
  array('taxonomy' => category, 
        'field' => 'id', 
        'terms' => array( 41, 42 ), 
        'operator' => 'IN'), 
  array('taxonomy' => geography,
        'field' => 'id',
        'terms' => array( 20, 29 ),
        'operator' => 'IN')

I need a way to convert this string with an array statement into a real array, how can I achieve this using PHP?



A somewhat trivial thing to do is simply eval:

eval('$foo = ' . $taxonomy_str . ';');
// $foo now contains the outer array

(from the comments) maybe better form:

$foo = eval('return ' . $taxonomy_str . ';');

This literally executes $taxonomy_str as if it were source, so any valid PHP provided as input will run. There's a certain level of danger here if you were to say, take $taxonomy_str as input from a user.

You can use eval(), but it's really not safe if you take your string from the user input.

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