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Sorry for the silly question, but I ran across code that used:


Is there anything special about <?= over <?php or just plain <??



Rather than talking about whether short_open_tags is deprecated or not we should talk about the advantages and disadvantages when using short open tags:


Using the short open tags <? along with <?= is shorter and probably easier to write than the standard opening tags <?php and <?php echo respectively. That’s quite handy when using PHP directly in a template. (That’s probably also the reason why PHP has an alternative syntax for control structures.)


Requires a specific configuration

When using short open tags you are required to have short_open_tags enabled. If you or your web hosting provider decides to disable short_open_tags, your application probably won’t work any more and you can have some serious security issues. Because if short_open_tags is disabled, only the standard opening tags <?php are recognized and everything inside short opening tags is treated as plain text. (See also the blog post referenced in Sarfraz Ahmed’s answer.)

This requirement makes your PHP application less portable if you aim to write applications that are not just for you. That’a also why many recommend not to use short open tags (including the PHP manual):

Note: Using short tags should be avoided when developing applications or libraries that are meant for redistribution, or deployment on PHP servers which are not under your control, because short tags may not be supported on the target server. For portable, redistributable code, be sure not to use short tags.

As of PHP 5.4 <?= is always available, regardless of the short_open_tags option. <? on the other hand requires the option to be enabled.

Conflicts with XML processing instructions

Another issue is when using XML processing instructions like <?xml … ?>. When short_open_tags is enabled you cannot use them directly in your code but need to use PHP to output it:

If you want to use PHP in combination with XML, you can disable this option in order to use <?xml ?> inline. Otherwise, you can print it with PHP, for example: <?php echo '<?xml version="1.0"?>'; ?>.

Otherwise PHP will choke on the xml in <?xml.

Now some last words about the deprecation: Currently short_open_tags is not deprecated. Otherwise the manual would state that explicitly. Additionally, Rasmus Lerdorf, inventor of PHP, wrote in a reply on the question “Is it true that short_open_tag is deprecated in PHP 6?” on the internals mailing list that there were several reasons not to remove short_open_tags in PHP 6:

Which is one of the reasons we decided not to remove them in PHP 6.

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

${ } (dollar sign curly bracket) is known as Simple syntax.

It provides a way to embed a variable, an array value, or an object property in a string with a minimum of effort.

If a dollar sign ($) is encountered, the parser will greedily take as many tokens as possible to form a valid variable name. Enclose the variable name in curly braces to explicitly specify the end of the name.

$juice = "apple";

echo "He drank some $juice juice.".PHP_EOL;
// Invalid. "s" is a valid character for a variable name, but the variable is $juice.
echo "He drank some juice made of $juices.";
// Valid. Explicitly specify the end of the variable name by enclosing it in braces:
echo "He drank some juice made of ${juice}s.";

The above example will output:

He drank some apple juice.
He drank some juice made of .
He drank some juice made of apples.
Thursday, October 13, 2022

global is a keyword that should be used by itself. It must not be combined with an assignment. So, chop it:

global $x;
$x = 42;

Also, as Zenham mentions, global is used inside functions, to access variables in an outer scope. So the use of global as it is presented makes little sense.

Another tip (though it will not really help you with syntax errors): add the following line to the top of the main file, to help debugging (documentation):

Friday, August 19, 2022

The function is_callable accepts not only function names, but also other types of callbacks:

  • Foo::method
  • array("Foo", "method")
  • array($obj, "method")
  • Closures and other invokable objects (PHP 5.3)

So is_callable accepts anything that you could pass call_user_func and family, while function_exists only tells if a certain function exists (not methods, see method_exists for that, nor closures).

Put another way, is_callable is a wrapper for zend_is_callable, which handles variables with the pseudo-type callback, while function_exists only does a hash table lookup in the functions' table.

Thursday, August 25, 2022

The reason they look like they perform similar tasks is OpenURI is a wrapper for Net::HTTP, Net::HTTPS, and Net::FTP.

Usually, unless you feel you need a lower level interface, using OpenURI is better as you can get by with less code. Using OpenURI you can open a URL/URI and treat it as a file.

See: and

Wednesday, November 23, 2022
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