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Posted 18 Feb 2014

Building a Really Simple PHP Templating Engine

, 18 Feb 2014 CPOL
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How to build a really simple PHP templating engine

Recently, I had to make use of templates in PHP, and as a lot of people on StackOverflow ([1], [2]) suggested, “you don’t need another templating engine like Smarty on top of PHP, as PHP itself is a templating engine”.

So, I ended up making a simple function which looks like this:

function getTemplate($file, $variables = NULL){
    if (! is_null($variables))

    include(TEMPLATES_FOLDER . $file);	

TEMPLATES_FOLDER is a PHP constant which is defined in the config.php file like this:

if ( !defined('ABSPATH') )
	define('ABSPATH', dirname(__FILE__) . '/');

define("TEMPLATES_FOLDER", ABSPATH . "templates/");

So, for example, a template may look like this:

<!-- Navigation START -->
<div class="navigation">
	<div class="welcome">Hi, <?=$user;?></div>
	<div class="nav">
			<li><a href="home.php" 

                 class="<? echo (isset($currentHome) ? 'current' : '') ?>">Home</a></li>
	        <li><a href="members.php" 

                 class="<? echo (isset($currentMembers) ? 'current' : '')  ?>">Members</a></li>

	<div class="clear"></div>
<!-- Navigation START -->

Here you can see the usage of ternary if operator:

echo (isset($currentHome) ? 'current' : '')

And a way to call this template from a home.php file would be:

<? getTemplate("navigation.php", array("user" => getUser(), "currentHome" => true) ); ?>

So the getTemplate() function loads the navigation.php file and passes it its variables “user” and “currentHome” which are then in the getTemplate() function extracted by using the extract() function and echoed out. The currentHome variable is set when called from the home.php file so that a template “knows” to set the “current” class to that element.

Templating engines have their pros and cons, and since I didn’t need much leverage on the templating, this proved to serve me just fine.

What do you use for your template management in PHP?


This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)


About the Author

Nikola Breznjak
Web Developer
Croatia Croatia
Nikola Brežnjak is an engineer at heart and a jack of all trades kind of guy.

For those who care about titles, he has a masters degree in computing from FER. For the past 7 years he worked in a betting software industry where he made use of his knowledge in areas ranging from full stack (web & desktop) development to game development through Linux and database administration and use of various languages (C#, PHP, JavaScript to name just a few).

Lately he’s been interested in the MEAN stack, Ionic framework and Unity3D. Also, he likes to help out on StackOverflow where he’s in the top 0.X% currently.

Come and see what I write about on my blog.

My book on MEAN stack.

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Questionproject Pin
phpsystems13-Nov-15 21:37
memberphpsystems13-Nov-15 21:37 

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