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PHP RFC: Remove alternative PHP tags


This RFC proposes the removal of ASP tags (<%) and script tags (<script language=php>) as a means of entering or leaving PHP mode.

The following syntactical elements are removed:

  • <% opening tag
  • <%= opening tag with echo
  • %> closing tag
  • (<script\s+language\s*=\s*(php|"php"|'php')\s*>)i opening tag
  • (</script>)i closing tag

The listed opening tags will no longer enter PHP mode and the listed closing tags will no longer leave PHP mode.

Additionally the asp_tags ini directive is removed. Trying to enable asp_tags will result in a core error.

This RFC does not remove short opening tags (<?) or short opening tags with echo (<?=).


  • The alternative PHP tags have never gained any significant degree of usage. Their usage has been discouraged since forever.
  • The ASP tags depend on an ini directive and as such are non-portable. We generally try to move away from ini-dependent language behavior. With ASP tags removed, short open tags should be the last.
  • ASP tags clash with underscore.js templates and it's not possible to disable asp tags using ini_set().
  • Supporting different tags allows very weird mixing like <script language=php> echo "foo" %>

Porting tool

To simplify porting of legacy code using the alternative tags, a porting script is provided. The script takes a directory and will replace ASP and script tags in all .php files contained in this directory:

php -d asp_tags=1 portAlternativeTags.php dir/


As this is a language change a 2/3 majority is required.

rfc/remove_alternative_php_tags.1411492932.txt.gz · Last modified: 2017/09/22 13:28 (external edit)