A port of the CoffeeScript compiler to PHP. 2015-12-03 11:10 UTC

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Last update: 2024-06-08 16:32:17 UTC


A port of the CoffeeScript compiler to PHP.


CoffeeScript version 1.3.1 has been fully ported over (see tags). There are a couple benign differences between the port's compiled code and the reference's (for example #11), otherwise they match 100%.


PHP 5.3+ (uses namespaces, anonymous functions).


It's recommended that you use Composer to install and autoload CoffeeScript. Alternatively you can load it manually:


require 'vendor/CoffeeScript/Init.php';

// Load manually



The API is really basic (single compile($coffee, $options = NULL) function). I don't plan on expanding it further (keeping it simple). Here are the available options:

  • filename - The source filename, formatted into error messages
  • header - Add a "Generated by..." header
  • bare - If set to true, the generated Javascript won't be embedded in a IIFE
  • rewrite - Enable the rewriter (debugging)
  • tokens - Reference to token stream (debugging)
  • trace - File to write parser trace to (debugging)

$file = 'path/to/source.coffee';

  $coffee = file_get_contents($file);

  // See available options above.
  $js = CoffeeScript\Compiler::compile($coffee, array('filename' => $file));
catch (Exception $e)
  echo $e->getMessage();



To rebuild the parser run php make.php. Tests are run in the browser; simply clone the repository somewhere Apache can see it and navigate to tests/.


What was the motivation for this project?

I was using PHP a lot at the time and wanted to use, learn more about, and potentially contribute to the CoffeeScript project. I thought it'd be nice to have a native version gave it a shot.

Why not modify the original compiler to emit PHP?

For a number of reasons... First, I don't know why you'd want something like that. If you find PHP intolerable, just don't use it... Second, the original compiler depends on Jison, which is written in JavaScript, so you'd have to do something about that. Third, I think it'd be much more work to try and sort out all the differences between JavaScript and PHP (object model, core classes and libraries, etc).

What parser generator are you using?

Since there's no PHP port of Bison (which the reference compiler uses), we're using a port of Lemon called ParserGenerator.

It's included locally since the PEAR package is unmaintained and seems to be broken. In addition, some minor changes have been made to the parser template (Lempar.php) and the actual generator.