PHPBuilder - Templates: The PHPLib Way

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Templates: The PHPLib Way

by: David Orr
July 30, 2000

If you're wondering what templates are, first go read the first few paragraphs of Sascha Schumann's excellent article Templates - why and how to use them in PHP3. In general, templates let you completely separate your PHP code from the HTML, which makes the HTML graphic designers very happy and keeps them from messing up your precious programming.

It's Not FastTemplates

So, do we really need another article on PHPBuilder about using templates? Well, yes, because there is more than one way to do templates with PHP. Sascha's article talks about using FastTemplates, but the PHP Base Library ("PHPLIB") has its own implementation of templates.
So how are they different? FastTemplates was originally a Perl library that was ported to PHP. FastTemplates works well for Perl programs, but it's not ideal for PHP. Kristian Koehntopp wrote PHPLIB Template from the ground up as a pure PHP library to better take advantage of the capabilities of PHP. One advantage to Kristian's design is that it parses templates with preg_replace(), which is said to be faster than FastTemplate's reliance on ereg_replace(). Another advantage of PHPLIB Template is it allows dynamic blocks to be nested, unlike FastTemplates.
Both libraries do have a very similar set of features and capabilities, but if you are already using FastTemplates and you want to learn to use PHPLIB Template, you should start by trying to forget everything you know about using FastTemplates. Their features may be similar, but PHPLIB Template does everything just a little differently than FastTemplates.

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