PHP 7.1.0 Released

PHP tags

When PHP parses a file, it looks for opening and closing tags, which are <?php and ?> which tell PHP to start and stop interpreting the code between them. Parsing in this manner allows PHP to be embedded in all sorts of different documents, as everything outside of a pair of opening and closing tags is ignored by the PHP parser.

PHP also allows for short open tag <? (which is discouraged since it is only available if enabled using the short_open_tag php.ini configuration file directive, or if PHP was configured with the --enable-short-tags option).

If a file is pure PHP code, it is preferable to omit the PHP closing tag at the end of the file. This prevents accidental whitespace or new lines being added after the PHP closing tag, which may cause unwanted effects because PHP will start output buffering when there is no intention from the programmer to send any output at that point in the script.

<?php
echo "Hello world";

// ... more code

echo "Last statement";

// the script ends here with no PHP closing tag

Changelog
Version Description
7.0.0 The ASP tags <%, %>, <%=, and the script tag <script language="php"> are removed from PHP.
5.4.0 The tag <?= is always available regardless of the short_open_tag ini setting.

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User Contributed Notes 4 notes

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7
crazytonyi at gmail dot com
9 months ago
Regarding earlier note by @purkrt :

> I would like to stress out that the opening tag is "<?php[whitespace]", not just "<?php"

This is absolutely correct, but the wording may confuse some developers less familiar with the extent of the term "
[whitespace]".

Whitespace, in this context, would be any character that generated vertical or horizontal space, including tabs ( \t ), newlines ( \n ), and carriage returns ( \r ), as well as a space character ( \s ). So reusing purkrt's example:

<?php/*blah*/ echo "
a"?>

would not work, as mentioned, but :

<?php /*php followed by space*/ echo "
a"?>

will work, as well as :

<?php
/*php followed by end-of-line*/ echo "
a"?>

and :

<?php    /*php followed by tab*/ echo "
a"?>

I just wanted to clarify this to prevent anyone from misreading purkrt's note to mean that a the opening tag --even when being on its own line--required a space ( \s ) character. The following would work but is not at all necessary or how the earlier comment should be interpreted :

<?php
/*php followed by a space and end-of-line*/ echo "
a"?>

The end-of-line character is whitespace, so it is all that you would need.
up
3
purkrt at gmail dot com
1 year ago
I would like to stress out that the opening tag is "<?php[whitespace]", not just "<?php". While this might seem blatantly obvious, I thought for some time that

<?php/*blah*/ echo "
a"?>

would work, and it does not; the comment does not work as whitespace. I've run into this while converting some older code with short open tag.
up
-28
jcastromail at yahoo dot es
11 months ago
Its important:

this code (for web)
    <pre>
    I
    <? echo "am;" ?>
    Groot
    </pre>

Generates the next result:
    I
    amGroot
instead of
    I
    am
    Groot
The last tag "?>" deletes the end of the line.

However, if we changed the line
    <? echo "am"; ?>
by
    <? echo "am"; ?>.  (or  a space)
then the result is :
    I
    am.
    Groot
up
-147
alexander dot podgorny at somewhere dot com
2 years ago
One reason to use long tags over short is to avoid confusion with <?xml ?> notation.
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