In his latest post, Lukas Smith talks about serializing data - some of the pros and cons about it, as well as his experiences with it in the development of his own framework.
In my own framework I have decided that there is plenty of structured data that I will never query on that I will just stick into the database as a serialized array. Now the other day I modified the auto type handling in MDB2's quote() method to automatically serialize array's if no type is explicitly passed to the quote() method.
I send out a question to pear-dev@ and it was not unanimously well received. So I sat down and pondered a more elegant approach. Actually there is already one approach implemented in MDB2 since ages.
This implementation uses a seperate module that abuses PHP5's overloading functionality to integrate it easily. He also looked into another solution, however - creating a "datatype map" to help with the custom automatic serialization of datatypes (not just dependant on the variable type like before). Be sure to check out the comments for more thoughts on the subject, including validation of the custom datatypes.