I don’t know how many times I saw this question asked by many PHP developers. It happens when some developer is not developing in Java actively, need to do some quick codes, and does PHP development regularly. Associative arrays are one of the most used feature (or is it the most?) of PHP.
Though collections are basic java features, and why many of PHP developers cannot readily catch that they can use Maps or Properties collections? It’s mainly because of OOP pattern. Java collections are objects. And many PHP developers are too accustomed to using Non-OOP patterns even if they are coding in a object oriented framework like laravel, or symfony, or zend.