{$hello} or <?=$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

  • Great video by @jlahijani that demonstrates his ProcessWire page builder using ProFields Repeater Matrix, the new Page Autosave + Live Preview module and Uikit 3— youtube.com/watch?v=Rb5kiU…
    13 November 2021
  • More development on page automatic save this week, plus the addition of live preview— More
    12 November 2021
  • ProcessWire 3.0.189 core updates— More
    5 November 2021

Latest news

  • ProcessWire Weekly #394
    In the 394th issue of ProcessWire Weekly we'll share the latest ProcessWire news and updates, including some highlights from the support forum, the latest weekly update from Ryan, and more. Read on!
    Weekly.pw / 27 November 2021
  • New Repeater and Repeater Matrix features
    This week we have some very useful new additions to both the core Repeater Fieldtype and the ProFields Repeater Matrix Fieldtype. This post covers all the details along with a couple of brief demonstration videos. 
    Blog / 22 October 2021
  • Subscribe to weekly ProcessWire news

“We chose ProcessWire because of its excellent architecture, modular extensibility and the internal API. The CMS offers the necessary flexibility and performance for such a complex website like superbude.de. ProcessWire offers options that are only available for larger systems, such as Drupal, and allows a much slimmer development process.” —xport communication GmbH