PHP Alternative Syntax

Did you know that PHP has an alternative syntax structure?  Up until about two years ago, I didn’t either.  It wasn’t until I started poking around in the WordPress core that I saw it.  Intrigued, I popped over to PHP.net and read an entry on it.  In a nutshell, the alternative syntax can go far in making your PHP code much easier to read.  The control structures if, while, for, foreach, and switch can all be expressed in the alternative syntax form.  In general, I prefer to use the alternative syntax when mixing PHP in with HTML, and the standard syntax when writing pure PHP.

If Example

// This....
if($myString == "foo"):
    echo "bar";
else:
    echo "no-foo-bar";
endif;
 
//...is equal to this.
if($myString == "food") {
    echo "bar";
} else {
    echo "no-foo-bar";
}

ForEach Example

$names = array("bob", "tom", "john");
 
//This....
foreach($names as $name):
    echo "Your name is: {$name}";
endforeach;
 
//...is equal to this.
foreach($names as $name) {
    echo "Your name is: {$name}";
}

Resources

If you’re looking for more resources on PHP’s alternative syntax, check out the documentation here, or the WordPress source code for examples.

Author: Jack Slingerland

I'm a software engineer working and living in Raleigh, NC. I work in Python, Django, Node.js, React+Flux, AngularJS, and PHP. I like to work out with Kettlebells, run, and spend my free time with my wife, cat, and dog.

2 thoughts on “PHP Alternative Syntax”

  1. Seriously: colons versus squirrelly-brackets?

    I don’t see that either form “can go far in making your PHP code much easier to read” unless the person reading it is wedded to Perl/C-style syntax versus Perl syntax.

    -danny

Comments are closed.