{$hello} or <?=$hello?>

Tagscript-style syntax vs. PHP syntax

Previous versions of ProcessWire, as well as the CMSs that preceded it (like Dictator CMS) used a tagging syntax where you could reference a value in your template using a tag like {$title}. Everywhere that appeared, it would be replaced by the page's title field. It went a lot further than that, but this is a simple example.

As time has gone on, I've come to question the value of this, as {$title} is equivalent to <?=$title?> in PHP syntax. In that case, the tagged version is slightly shorter, but at what cost? When you start to realize the redundancy and inefficiency of the tagged version, it starts to look a lot less attractive. Despite writing such template engines in the past, I always reverted back to PHP syntax for the direct simplicity, and efficiency of it. I didn't want to start down the road of creating a new syntax for people to learn. Especially when I knew I wouldn't use it myself. You don't need to know PHP in order to use its syntax in a template, and much of the PHP syntax you learn is universal and non-proprietary. Tagged syntax seems to be based largely upon a myth.

This becomes more significant as you start working with loops and branches, where the tagged syntax can become significantly more verbose. And then even more significant when you need to manipulate values before output, or work with more complex data types. What you end up with is something like the Smarty template engine... A new language to learn that is more complex than the language it was to replace (PHP).

In ProcessWire, I wanted to be sure that there was a high level of consistency, and lack of ambiguity in the API syntax. I didn't want to end up with a situation where sometimes you would use {$tags} and other times you would use PHP syntax. In my mind, that adds complexity and confusion. Add to that the overhead of another template engine, and I'm convinced that PHP itself is the best possible template engine. ProcessWire is designed with this in mind. That's not to say that we won't add some kind of tag-script for simple shortcuts in the future, but the template engine will always be PHP based.

Twitter updates

  • We added WebP image support this year and many have been adopting it in existing projects. We look at a process used for migrating existing websites to WebP images— from preliminary considerations to implementation & testing, w/lots of tips & tricks too: More
    16 August 2019
  • Core version 3.0.137 on the dev branch adds the ability to hook multiple methods at once, in a single call. This post details how it works and provides a useful example of how you might put it to use in your development environment— More
    2 August 2019
  • ProcessWire 3.0.136 updates our CKEditor version and adds a new backtrace() method to the core Debug class— More
    26 July 2019

Latest news

  • ProcessWire Weekly #276
    In the 276th issue of ProcessWire Weekly we're going to summarise the latest weekly update from Ryan, introduce a new third module called WireMail Mail Logger, and highlight a new site of the week. Read on!
    Weekly.pw / 24 August 2019
  • WebP images on an existing site
    In this post we’ll look at a process used for migrating an existing website to use WebP images. We’ll cover everything from preliminary considerations to implementation and testing, with lots of tips and tricks along the way.
    Blog / 16 August 2019
  • Subscribe to weekly ProcessWire news

“To Drupal, or to ProcessWire? The million dollar choice. We decided to make an early switch to PW. And in retrospect, ProcessWire was probably the best decision we made. Thanks are due to ProcessWire and the amazing system and set of modules that are in place.” —Unni Krishnan, Founder of PigtailPundits