Perl like functionality for PHP

v1.0.0 2014-03-21 05:58 UTC

This package is not auto-updated.

Last update: 2023-03-18 07:45:58 UTC


This module is intended to provide simple Perl like functionality for PHP users.

It contains a number of convenience functions cheerfully ripped from the Perl programming languages which make coding a lot easier for the terminally impatient.

  • QW - Quick array initalization via simple strings
  • KEYVAL - Extract a key=>val relationship from an array-of-arrays
  • VALUES - Extract a value from a hash array and return it as an indexed array
  • PICK - Randomly pick elements from an array
  • ENCASE - Quickly add a prefix / suffix to an array of strings
  • EVALSTR - Process a string similar to how PHP expands variables
  • RE - Perl like regular expression syntax for PHP


Installing into CodeIgniter / CakePHP etc.

Download this GIT repository and copy into your application directory.

Alternatively, install with Composer.

Since Composer doesn't seem to like just loading files full of helper functions you will need to place:


Early in your load order to use the provided Pherl functions.

qw - Quick array initalizer

Quickly initalize arrays by providing a single string. The array elements are determined by any whitespace.

// Create an array with three elements (foo, bar and baz)
$array = qw('foo bar baz');

$array = qw('foo    bar    baz');

$array = qw('

keyval - Create a key/val relationship from an array-of-arrays

Quickly reorder arrays by picking the key and value arrangement from an array of arrays

$in = array(
		'name' => 'Earl',
		'age' => 35,
		'name' => 'John',
		'age' => 24,

$a = keyval('name', 'age', $in); // $a is now array('Earl' => 35, 'John' => 24)

Specifying 'OFFSET' as the key uses the offset of the index within the array-of-arrays.

values - Extract a key from a hash and return as indexed array

Quickly reorder arrays by picking the key and value arrangement from an array of arrays

$in = array(
		'name' => 'Earl',
		'age' => 35,
		'name' => 'John',
		'age' => 24,

$a = values('name', $in); // $a is now array('Earl', 'John')

values is actually just a shortcut function for keyval(null, $value, $array).

pick - Pick random elements from an array

Choose a single random element from an array.

$item = pick(qw('foo bar baz')); // Chooses either foo, bar or baz

encase - Add a prefix / suffix to an array of strings

The encase() function allows you to quickly enclose each string in an array with a given prefix and suffix.

$tags = encase(qw('a img hr', '<', '>')); // Returns: <a>, <img>, <hr>

The meta string 'OFFSET' will be replaced with the key of the array being iterated over.

evalstr - Expand PHP style strings

Return the computed result of a string using local variables.

echo evalstr('Hello $name', array('name' => 'Matt')); // Returns Matt

echo evalstr('Hello {$user['name']}', array('user' => $this->GetAUser(123))); // Returns the 'user' objects 'GetAUser' methods 'name' property

re - Perl like Regular Expressions

The Re() function provides Regular Expression functionality in a Perl like way.

Simple matching

Determine if the string 'needle' exists in $haystack:

if (re('/needle/', $haystack)) {
	// Do something

Simple extraction

Extract a match from an input string

$haystack = 'foo bar baz quz quuz';
list($word) = re('/(qu.)/', $haystack);
echo $word; // Output: 'quz'

RE can also return only the first captured element by using the '1' modifier. The following code will act the same as the above but force the only match into a string rather than an array:

$haystack = 'foo bar baz quz quuz';
$word = re('/(qu.)/1', $haystack);
echo $word; // Output: 'quz'

Multiple extraction into an array

Extract multiple matches into an array

$haystack = 'foo bar baz quz quuz';
$words = re('/(ba.)/', $haystack);
print_r($words); // Output: array('bar', 'baz')

This is the same syntax as Simple Extraction. When multiple elements are found RE will return the elements as an array automatically.

Multiple extraction into variables

You can use PHP's list() function to automatically cram the output of RE into a series of variables.

$haystack = 'Matt is 28 years old';
list($name, $age) = re('/^(.+?) is ([0-9]+) years old$/', $haystack);

Simple substitution and replacement

Substitution (also known as replacement) is also supported.

$haystack = 'foo bar baz foo bar baz';
$output = re('s/bar/BAR/', $haystack);
echo $output; // Output: 'foo BAR baz foo bar baz'

By default only the first matching element is replaced. If you want to replace all matching items use the 'g' modifier:

$haystack = 'foo bar baz foo bar baz';
$output = re('s/bar/BAR/', $haystack);
echo $output; // Output: 'foo BAR baz foo BAR baz'

Substitution with back-references

Replace the words 'bar' and 'baz' into 'FOUND-r' and 'FOUND-z':

$haystack = 'foo bar baz';
$output = re('s/(ba.)/FOUND-\1/', $haystack);
echo $output; // Output: 'foo FOUND-bar FOUND-baz'

\1 and onwards is automatically set to the captured item.


Although not really used that much you can replace single characters based on a range:

$haystack = 'foo bar baz';
$output = re('tr/a-z/A-Z');
echo $output; // Output: 'FOO BAR BAZ'

Perl to PHP reference

This section contains some commonly used Perl syntax and the PHP equivelent when using this module. This is included because sometimes examples are more helpful than API waffle.

Example Perl PHP + Pherl
$_ = 'foo bar baz';
($one, $two, $three) =~ m/(.*) .{3} .../;
$haystack = 'foo bar baz';
list($one, $two, $three) = re('m/(.*) .{3} .../', $haystack);
$_ = 'foo bar baz';
$new = s/foo/QUZ/;
$haystack = 'foo bar baz';
$new = re('s/foo/QUZ/', $haystack);
$_ = 'foo bar baz';
$new = tr/a-z/A-Z/;
$haystack = 'foo bar baz';
$new = re('tr/a-z/A-Z/', $haystack);


  • Translation (tr//) not working correctly
  • Support for callback functions for substitutions