Does anyone know of a nice efficient way to convert an array of values
into a "mask"...

Here's the deal. Given an array such that:

$purchitem[0] = 1;
$purchitem[1] = 3;
$purchitem[2] = 4;

I want to end up with a variable like this:

$mask = "10110";

Additionally, my theory is that then the person purchases another book

$purchitem[0] = 2;

My new mask should be $purchmask = "01000";

Then I can load their previous mask from the database and boolean OR it
with the new mask to set the correct permissions. i.e.

$newmask = $mask | $purchmask;

Or ideally = "11110"

Can I boolean OR strings like that in the way I 'hope' it will work? Do
I need to convert it to an intermediate stage or cast it or anything?

Does this make sense? It's for an online book shopping cart. I have the
reverse working, where I can split the mask into what books. And I also
have the $purchitem[] working.

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