A simple, object-oriented HTML templating/generation engine. Named for the ancient Roman architect.

1.7.2 2018-02-23 17:48 UTC


a simple object-based HTML generator


Cyrus uses objects and method chaining to construct semantic HTML elements and then output them for you.

The basic process is as follows:

$element = new Cyrus;

$element->setEl('h1')->setClass('headline-el')->addContent('This is a Headline!')->display();

Note: You can also instatiate Cyrus with its internal factory:

$element = Cyrus::open(); // this is the same as `$element = new Cyrus;`

The above code will print out the following:

<h1 class="headline-el">This is a Headline!</h1>

It supports any tag type, even ones you made up:

$fakeTag = new Cyrus;

$fakeTag->setEl('fake-tag')->setContent('This isn\'t a real tag, but it\'s rendered anyway!')->display();

// <fake-tag>
// This isn't a real tag, but it's rendered anyway!
// </fake-tag>

In general the order you chain methods in doesn't matter: $element->setClass('a-class')->setEl('p') is function equivalent to $element->setEl('p')->setClass('a-class'). There are, however, a few exceptions:

  • Nesting (see next section) requires openChild at the beginning fo a child element and closeChild at the end: Any other order will cause Cyrus to fail.
  • Methods that overwrite content (i.e. setEl) will overwrite the actions of previous calls in the chain (unless separated by child barriers).
  • Calls to construct or display should always come last. Since they don't return the current object, they'll break the chain, and attempting to chain other things after them will cause some errors.

Initial Class

When instantiating Cyrus, you can specify a class for the primary element, by doing the following:

$test = new Cyrus('test-1');
// or...
$test = Cyrus::open('test-1');
// <div class="test-1"></div>


You can nest elements inside of one another using the openChild and closeChild methods:

$nested = new Cyrus;

    ->openChild()->setEl('span')->setClass('child')->addContent("I'm a child!")->closeChild()

// <div class="parent">
//    <span class="child">I'm a child!</span>
// </div>

Object Nesting

If you pass a Cyrus object to addContent, that object will be inserted as content and automatically expanded.

$parent = new Cyrus;
$child = new Cyrus;

$child->setClass('child')->setEl('span')->addContent("I'm a child");


// <div class="parent">
//    <span class="child">I'm a child!</span>
// </div>

Advanced Nesting

You can also nest items after a chain has been terminated by using the nest method an assigning an ID when calling openChild. This is especially useful if, say, you want to insert (or not) content based on a conditional without resorting to creating an entirely separate Cyrus instatiation:

$nestedAgain = new Cyrus;


if(true) :
    $nestedAgain->nest('childID')->addContent("I've been inserted!")->closeChild();


// <div class="parent">
//    <div class="child">I've been inserted</div>
// </div>

You must point to nested elements directly, and define the entire path if they are nested more than one level down. You can do this by delimiting the ids with /, like so:

$deepNesting = new Cyrus;



//<div class="wrapper">
//	<div class="level-1">
//		<div class="level-2">Content</div>
//	</div>

It's important to note that when opening up nesting contexts like this, all children must be closed. There are a two convenience methods that can help you with this, closeChildren and closeAll. closeChildren takes an integer as an argument, and will close a number children equal to that integer. closeAll takes no arguments, and will close all chilren that are open in the current context.


To learn how methods operate, have a look at the source files (./src). Each method is well documented.

The follow will cover some special functionality and edge cases.

Short forms

Any method that begins with "set" can be called in a shortened form, i.e. you can call setClass as just class.

// is equivalent to...

$element->attr('target', 'new');
// is equivalent to...
$element->setAttr('target', 'new);

Most nesting functions have short forms as well:

// is equivalent to...

// is equivalent to...

// is equivalent to...

// is equivalent to...

Advanced Attribute Manipulation

Unset Attribute

If you find you want to unset an attribute, call setAttr on it with the false argument:

$element->setAttr('data-target', 'menu')->display();
// <div data-target="menu"></div>
$element->setAttr('data-target', false)->display();
// <div></div>
Valueless Attributes

If you want to set an attribute that doesn't have a value--i.e. checked--you can do so by calling setAttr with the true argument:

$element->setEl('input')->setAttr('type', 'radio')->setAttr('checked', true);
// <input type="radio" checked>

setAttr, etc

setAttr and all of its aliased methods (i.e. setClass, setURL, etc) stack up whatever is passed to the same attribute--they don't overwrite anything. The only exception to this is if you pass false as an argument to setAttr, as this will completely remove that attribute from the element.

This value stacking means that the following statements are equivalent:

$element->setAttr('class', 'test1')->setClass('test2');
// is equivalent to...
$element->setClass('test1 test2');

Negate Element with False Content

Using setContent to set the only content of an element explictly to bool false will cause that element to not be generated. This can be useful if you want elements to only appear if they have content. In order for the element to be negated, the following must be true:

  • The element has only one item of content (i.e. count($this->content) === 1)
  • That content item is exactly equal to bool false (not a falsey value, but the literal boolean false)
  • The element in question is not a self-closing element


// <div class="outside">hello</div>