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Chapter 12. Functions

User-defined functions

A function may be defined using syntax such as the following:

Example 12-1. Psuedo code to demonstrate function uses

<?php
function foo ($arg_1, $arg_2, ..., $arg_n)
{
    echo "Example function.\n";
    return $retval;
}
 ?>

Any valid PHP code may appear inside a function, even other functions and class definitions.

In PHP 3, functions must be defined before they are referenced. No such requirement exists in PHP 4. Except when a function is conditionally defined such as shown in the two examples below.

When a function is defined in a conditional manner such as the two examples shown. Its definition must be processed prior to being called.

Example 12-2. Conditional functions

<?php

$makefoo = true;

/* We can't call foo() from here 
   since it doesn't exist yet,
   but we can call bar() */

bar();

if ($makefoo) {
  function foo ()
  {
    echo "I don't exist until program execution reaches me.\n";
  }
}

/* Now we can safely call foo()
   since $makefoo evaluated to true */

if ($makefoo) foo();

function bar() 
{
  echo "I exist immediately upon program start.\n";
}

 ?>

Example 12-3. Functions within functions

<?php
function foo() 
{
  function bar() 
  {
    echo "I don't exist until foo() is called.\n";
  }
}

/* We can't call bar() yet
   since it doesn't exist. */

foo();

/* Now we can call bar(),
   foo()'s processesing has
   made it accessible. */

bar();

 ?>

PHP does not support function overloading, nor is it possible to undefine or redefine previously-declared functions.

Note: Function names are case-insensitive, though it is usually good form to call functions as they appear in their declaration.

PHP 3 does not support variable numbers of arguments to functions, although default arguments are supported (see Default argument values for more information). PHP 4 supports both: see Variable-length argument lists and the function references for func_num_args(), func_get_arg(), and func_get_args() for more information.

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