Function and usage of do_action_ref_array() in wordpress


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    The do_action_ref_array() function in WordPress is used to trigger actions (hooks) that have been added by plugins or themes. It's similar to the more commonly used do_action() function, but with a key difference in how arguments are passed to the hooked functions.


    do_action_ref_array( string $hook_name, array $args )


    • This function is used to execute all the functions attached to a specific action hook, $hook_name.
    • Unlike do_action(), which passes arguments directly, do_action_ref_array() passes arguments as an array.
    • It is particularly useful when the number of arguments is not known beforehand or when they are dynamically generated.


    1. $hook_name (string, required): The name of the action to be executed. This is the identifier used to add functions to the hook with add_action().

    2. $args (array, required): An array of arguments that will be passed to each function hooked to $hook_name.


    Suppose you have an action hook named 'my_custom_action' and you want to trigger this action with dynamic arguments. Here's how you might use do_action_ref_array():

    // Arguments to pass
    $args = array( 'arg1', 'arg2', 'arg3' );
    // Trigger the actions hooked to 'my_custom_action'
    do_action_ref_array( 'my_custom_action', $args );

    Sample Usage Scenario:

    Imagine a plugin where you need to log user activity. You have an action 'log_user_activity' and several functions hooked to this action, each expecting different information.

    function log_login_activity( $user_id ) {
        // Function to log login activity
    function log_page_visit( $user_id, $page_id ) {
        // Function to log page visit
    add_action( 'log_user_activity', 'log_login_activity', 10, 1 );
    add_action( 'log_user_activity', 'log_page_visit', 10, 2 );
    // Now, somewhere in your code:
    $args = array( $user_id, $page_id );
    do_action_ref_array( 'log_user_activity', $args );

    In this example, do_action_ref_array() allows you to pass a dynamic number of arguments ($user_id, $page_id) to the hooked functions, which may expect different parameters.


    • It's crucial to ensure the hooked functions are expecting the arguments in the correct order and quantity.
    • This function is less commonly used than do_action() because it's less intuitive and slightly more complex. However, it offers greater flexibility when dealing with a variable number of arguments.

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