[wp-hackers] Discussion about Optional Closing PHP tags in the WordPress Library

Daniel Torreblanca regulatethis at gmail.com
Thu Jun 19 02:43:51 GMT 2008

.... wow by the time I got to the bottom of this post I forgot what
the point was.

On Wed, Jun 18, 2008 at 8:34 PM, Jacob Santos <wordpress at santosj.name> wrote:
> I should probably correct you in saying that I already know that the closing
> PHP tag is optional and have known about it for about a year or two now. You
> may notice the title and the various references in my original post pointing
> that out. I don't need people "correcting" me on something I'm already well
> aware of.
> If you read the sentence again, you might notice I was speaking in the voice
> of /other people/ and not of myself. You are the second person to take out
> the context the sentence and twist it into something it is not. If I didn't
> write clearly enough, then I'm sorry I didn't explain it better for those
> who like flame-baiting, same goes for the other guy. It is obvious that both
> the subject line and the various hints that I know what I'm talking about
> didn't quite get through to the both of you.
> I would write next time, "I know what I'm talking about!" However the
> previous attempts with that disclaimer have backfired quite badly, so I'm
> not going to start doing that again.
> On the subject of Coding Standards, there are advantages and disadvantages,
> so much so that you are pissing in the wind trying to debate the subject.
> Which is why I stopped after the first attempt to get the closing PHP tag
> removed. You should be wise to do the same, because it isn't going to
> happen. Something that is a matter of preference is very difficult to
> debate, because there are hardly any "facts" that will convince someone
> otherwise.
> This discussion is not about convincing the commit team that the closing PHP
> tag should be removed. From you reply, it appears to be a bigger issue than
> I had thought. From the codex references, it also appears that those on the
> forums aren't using Google to their advantage. I suggest stop answering
> their questions or pointing them to Google.
> You know, I really wish I had saved that page, but alas I'm not going to
> spend an hour or two finding the page again. What it comes down to was that
> the senior developer of PHP was telling the novice user of PHP, that since
> the novice did not realize that it could be removed, that the novice should
> not remove it. When you get into optional parameters, the novice might
> forget that in some instances it is required and until the novice realizes
> when the closing PHP tag is required and when it is not, then the novice
> user should always have the closing PHP tag.
> Otto wrote:
>> This is the recommended coding standard for virtually all PHP projects
>> out there, WordPress being the notable exception.
> This was also one my main points back when I did debate the issue. Look
> where we are now? At the same place where the closing PHP tag is still
> required in WordPress as a Coding Standard. Funny huh?
>>> Really, from the commonly quoted message on the subject, the conclusion
>>> translates to that it is better to have the closing PHP tag, so that
>>> those
>>> who don't know better don't get tripped up on the small stuff. Whether or
>>> not WordPress should have the closing PHP tag is not at issue here. How
>>> is
>>> this problem, when it occurs troubleshooted for users?
>> No, actually the correct conclusion is that it is better to omit the
>> closing tag in all cases where it is not needed. And, in fact, I
>> recommend people remove it from wp-config on a regular basis.
> You should read the ticket I referenced in the original post. You will
> recognize that I also mention the same advice. If you notice the timestamp,
> then you will notice that it came before your post on this matter.
>> This is, in fact, a huge and often repeated problem that occurs
>> regularly on the support forums. So much so that we have made several
>> statements in the codex about it. Search the forums for "Cannot modify
>> header information - headers already sent". This is almost always
>> caused by a blank line somewhere.. And 80% of the time it's in the
>> wp-config.php file.
> Ah. So there is some firewood for switching. However, the main debate is
> that WordPress should follow the standards, opening tag must have closing
> tag. If you leave off the closing PHP tag, then you violate this principle.
> I don't think it is logical to compare PHP, which is a programming language,
> to XHTML which is markup. I don't believe there is a comparsion, even if
> markup can be used in PHP. If you think about it in the frame of Opcodes,
> where there isn't any closing PHP tag anyway, then I don't think the
> principle applies.
>> Also, people create the wp-config.php file manually, because the
>> installation instructions tell them to do so. They don't let WordPress
>> create it for them, even though it can. In fact, I pointed out to
>> somebody the other day that it was capable of doing this, and they
>> were amazed. People who have used WP for years have no idea that it
>> could create your wp-config file for you.
> I should mention that since I started using WordPress, that I've never once
> read the manual all the way through or at least by the time I did, after the
> third or fourth time of using the automatic wp-config.php creator, I knew
> that it could do so already. I don't believe there are many popular PHP
> applications which don't create the configuration file for you. My focus is
> limited however, but there were never an instance where I had to create the
> configuration file myself. May had to edit a few for the Database, but the
> file was already available.
> Jacob Santos
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