Verification: a143cc29221c9be0

Php call function array args

Introduction

Short lambdas / arrow functions offer a convenient, compact way to write simple closures as a single expression. This RFC offers the same convenience for named functions and methods that are simple return expressions.

Proposal

This RFC provides an alternate, abbreviated syntax for functions and methods, designed to mimic the syntax of short lambdas. Specifically, the first function below is semantically identical to the second:

function add(int $a, int $b): int => $a + $b;
 
function add(int $a, int $b): int 
{
    return $a + $b;
}

The same abbreviated form is also available for methods. Both of the following methods are semantically identical.

class Adder
{
    public function __construct(private int $val) {}
 
    public function add(int $in): int => $in + $this->val;
 
    public function add(int $in): int {
        return $in + $this->val;
    }
}

More precisely, the form of a short function/method is:

function ($params): returnType => expression;

Where “expression” is any valid PHP expression, the evaluated value of which will be returned by the function. That is the same semantic behavior as for the body of a short-lambda.

Functions are simpler than lambdas, as there is no need for closing over variables contextually. Therefore this patch is implemented 100% in the lexer, and thus should have no performance impact whatsoever.

Consistency with closure syntax

This RFC is designed to complement the Auto-capturing multi-statement closures RFC. Both stand on their own and offer independent benefits. However, they have been designed such that their syntax is complementary and consistent. Specifically:

  • The => sigil always means “evaluates to the expression on the right,” in all circumstances. (Named functions, anonymous functions, arrays, and match().)

  • { ... } denotes a statement list, potentially ending in a return.

  • The function keyword indicates a function that has no auto-capture.

  • The fn keyword indicates a function that will auto-capture variables, by value.

  • A function with a name is declared globally at compile time. A function without a name is declared locally as a closure at runtime.

These rules are easily recognizable and learnable by developers.

(Further discussion of the possible permutations, and which are not useful to begin with, is in the Auto-capturing Closures RFC.)

Reasoning

Many functions and methods are, in practice, simple expressions. They take input and return some simple output that can be computed in a single expression (of arbitrary complexity). When anonymous, short lambdas offer a compact way to express that function as a literal expression. Named functions, however, currently still require writing them as if they would be a long block of statements. That provides extra visual clutter (especially when there are several such methods in one class). It also forces you to code in “statement headspace” rather than “expression headspace.” Allowing functions to be written in a more expression-y way helps with conceptualizing a program as evaluating expressions, not statement steps.

Expressions are becoming increasingly capable, too. match() expressions and throw expressions in PHP 8.0, plus proposals such as PHP RFC: Pipe Operator v2, are collectively making it easier to write expressive expressions. Enumeration methods are likely to consist primarily of a single match() statement. This improvement is a part of that larger trend.

The trend in PHP in recent years has been toward more compact but still readable syntax that eliminates redundancy. Property promotion, arrow functions, the nullsafe operator, and similar recent well-received additions demonstrate this trend. This RFC seeks to continue that trend to make PHP more pleasant to write while still being just as clear to read.

Pure functions

Expression functions are also more likely to be pure, and thus avoid mutable state. That cannot be guaranteed as it is possible to write single-expression functions that “leak” via global variables, like so:

$called = 0;
 
function fullName(string $first, string $last): string
  => sprintf('%s %s %d', $first, $last, $GLOBALS['called']++);

However, such code would be readily apparent as using global mutable state, and is easily avoided. That makes short-functions more reliably “safe” and thus less prone to stateful errors.

Examples

Below are some examples of “long form” current code and what the short function equivalent would be. This RFC asserts that the shorter version is more concise and readable. All code is using standard PSR-12 formatting.

Match functions

A function that encapsulates a match() expression.

function pick_one(int $a) 
{
    return match($a) {
        1 => 'One',
        2 => 'Two',
        3 => 'Three',
        default => 'More',
    };
}

vs.

function pick_one(int $a) => match($a) {
    1 => 'One',
    2 => 'Two',
    3 => 'Three',
    default => 'More',
};
 
print pick_one(1) . PHP_EOL;

Enum methods

In practice, most enum methods are likely to contain only a match expression, the evaluated value of which should be returned. That makes them a good candidate for short functions and eliminating visual clutter.

enum Suit 
{
 
    case Hearts;
    case Diamonds;
    case Clubs;
    case Spades;
 
    public function color(): string => match($this) {
        static::Hearts, static::Diamonds => 'Red',
        static::Clubs, static::Spades => 'Black',
    };
 
    vs:
 
    public function color(): string
    {
        return match($this) {
            static::Hearts, static::Diamonds => 'Red',
            static::Clubs, static::Spades => 'Black',
        };
    }
}

Getter methods

Many classes consist primarily or almost entirely of methods that either return a property, or some computation off of a property. With short-functions, that becomes considerably more concise.

class Person
{
    public function __construct(
        private string $firstName, 
        private string $lastName,
    ) {}
 
    public function getFirstName(): string
    {
        return $this->firstName;
    }
 
    public function getLastName(): string
    {
        return $this->lastName;
    }
 
    public function getFullName(): string
    {
        return $this->firstName . ' ' . $this->lastName;
    }
}

vs.

class Person
{
    public function __construct(
        private string $firstName, 
        private string $lastName,
    ) {}
 
    public function getFirstName(): string => $this->firstName;
 
    public function getLastName(): string => $this->lastName;
 
    public function getFullName(): string => $this->firstName . ' ' . $this->lastName;
}

Functional code

function addUp(array $vals) 
{
    return array_reduce($vals, fn($x, $col) => $coll + $x, 0);
}

vs.

function addUp(array $vals) 
    => array_reduce($vals, fn($x, $col) => $coll + $x, 0);

More complex lines of short lambdas can be wrapped to a new line like this already, and it works just as well for short-functions.

It's also useful for basic API operations that can be expressed in terms of other basic API operations:

function str_contains(string $haystack, string $needle): bool => strpos($haystack, $needle) !== false;

Conditional methods

A common refactoring technique is to take a complex conditional in an if statement and move it to its own method, so it can be given a self-descriptive name. Such methods are naturally single-expression. Thus, well-factored code is likely to have a large percentage of its functions and methods be single-expression, and thus candidates for short functions.

if ($this->isAdmin() || ($this->hasPermission('foo') && $this->hasPermission('bar'))) {
    // ...
}

Gets factored out to:

if ($this->isGroupModerator()) {
    // ...
}
 
// ...
 
protected function isGroupModerator(): bool
    => $this->isAdmin() || ($this->hasPermission('foo') && $this->hasPermission('bar'));

Which is more simple and compact than a full function body.

Decorating functions in live code

Often times, methods exist that are just delegating to some other method, either in the same object or a composed object. These are also good candidates for a more compact syntax. For example, here's some code pulled from the Drupal database layer's Select query builder. (These are all real methods; I've just stripped out the comments and converted them to PSR-12 style.)

class Select extends Query implements SelectInterface
{
  public function hasTag($tag) 
  {
    return isset($this->alterTags[$tag]);
  }
 
  public function hasAllTags() 
  {
    return !(boolean) array_diff(func_get_args(), array_keys($this->alterTags));
  }
 
  public function hasAnyTag() 
  {
    return (boolean) array_intersect(func_get_args(), array_keys($this->alterTags));
  }
 
  public function getMetaData($key) 
  {
    return isset($this->alterMetaData[$key]) ? $this->alterMetaData[$key] : NULL;
  }
 
  public function &havingConditions() 
  {
    return $this->having->conditions();
  }
 
  public function havingArguments()
  {
    return $this->having->arguments();
  }
 
  public function havingCompile(Connection $connection) 
  {
    $this->having->compile($connection, $this);
  }
 
  public function &getFields()
   {
    return $this->fields;
  }
 
  public function &getExpressions() 
  {
    return $this->expressions;
  }
 
  public function &getOrderBy() 
  {
    return $this->order;
  }
 
  public function &getGroupBy() 
  {
    return $this->group;
  }
 
  public function &getTables()
   {
    return $this->tables;
  }
 
  public function &getUnion() 
  {
    return $this->union;
  }
 
  public function escapeLike($string)
   {
    return $this->connection->escapeLike($string);
  }
 
  public function escapeField($string) 
  {
    return $this->connection->escapeField($string);
  }
 
  public function isPrepared() 
  {
    return $this->prepared;
  }
 
  public function join($table, $alias = NULL, $condition = NULL, $arguments = []) 
  {
    return $this->addJoin('INNER', $table, $alias, $condition, $arguments);
  }
 
  public function innerJoin($table, $alias = NULL, $condition = NULL, $arguments = []) 
  {
    return $this->addJoin('INNER', $table, $alias, $condition, $arguments);
  }
 
  public function leftJoin($table, $alias = NULL, $condition = NULL, $arguments = [])
  {
    return $this->addJoin('LEFT OUTER', $table, $alias, $condition, $arguments);
  }
 
  // ... And lots of other multi-line methods we don't care about for now.
 
}

That can collapse to this (a bit reordered):

class Select extends Query implements SelectInterface
{
  public function hasTag($tag) => isset($this->alterTags[$tag]);
 
  public function hasAllTags() 
    => !(boolean) array_diff(func_get_args(), array_keys($this->alterTags));
 
  public function hasAnyTag() 
    => (boolean) array_intersect(func_get_args(), array_keys($this->alterTags));
 
  public function getMetaData($key) 
    => isset($this->alterMetaData[$key]) ? $this->alterMetaData[$key] : NULL;
 
  public function &havingConditions() => $this->having->conditions();
 
  public function havingArguments() => $this->having->arguments();
 
  public function havingCompile(Connection $connection) 
    => $this->having->compile($connection, $this);
 
  public function &getFields() => $this->fields;
 
  public function &getExpressions() => $this->expressions;
 
  public function &getOrderBy() => $this->order;
 
  public function &getGroupBy() => $this->group;
 
  public function &getTables() => $this->tables;
 
  public function &getUnion() => $this->union;
 
  public function escapeLike($string) => $this->connection->escapeLike($string);
 
  public function escapeField($string) => $this->connection->escapeField($string);
 
  public function isPrepared() => $this->prepared;
 
  public function join($table, $alias = NULL, $condition = NULL, $arguments = []) 
    => $this->addJoin('INNER', $table, $alias, $condition, $arguments);
 
  public function innerJoin($table, $alias = NULL, $condition = NULL, $arguments = [])
    => $this->addJoin('INNER', $table, $alias, $condition, $arguments);
 
  public function leftJoin($table, $alias = NULL, $condition = NULL, $arguments = [])
    => $this->addJoin('LEFT OUTER', $table, $alias, $condition, $arguments);
 
  // ... And lots of other multi-line methods we don't care about for now.
 
}

Which is much more compact, still quite readable, and makes the delegation more obvious.

Syntax decisions

The => operator has de facto become the “maps to this expression” operator: Short lambdas use it, match() uses it, array literals use it... It seemed the natural choice. Anything else would have been more confusing.

The use of the fn keyword was also considered, but rejected. In context, fn currently indicates that auto-capture will happen for variables from the lexical scope. (See the discussion above.) However, a named function has no meaningful values to capture, making function more appropriate.

A number of other RFCs in active consideration would complement short functions. They may or may not pass, but if they did then they would benefit from short functions without any further effort.

Piped functions

The pipe operator |> is still pending in an RFC, but the feedback on it before was generally positive. Short functions would allow a function to be easily defined as the composition of several other functions.

function doAThing(User $u)
{
    return $u |> 'step1' |> 'step2' |> 'step3' |> 'step4';
}

vs.

function doAThing(User $u) => $u
    |> 'step1' 
    |> 'step2' 
    |> 'step3' 
    |> 'step4'
;

Which is a really nice way to build up a pipeline through composition. Modulo PHP's clumsy way of referencing functions by name, which is a separate matter that would be addressed by the Partial Function Application RFC. The three RFCs together would allow for this:

function doAThing(User $u) => $u
    |> step1(?) 
    |> step2(?)
    |> step3($val, ?) 
    |> step4(?, $var)
;

clone-with

Although no formal RFC has been proposed, Máté had discussed a clone with syntax (code, thread) that would create a useful, single-expression clone-with-modification operation. That is an excellent candidate for short-function “withX” methods.

class Point
{
    public function __construct(private int $x, private int $y) {}
 
    public function getX(): int => $this->x;
    public function getY(): int => $this->y;
 
    public function withX($x): static => clone($this) with {x: $x};
    public function withY($y): static => clone($this) with {y: $y};
}

Thus making many cases of wither methods just as trivial to write as getter methods.

Backward Incompatible Changes

None. This would have been a syntax error in the past.

Proposed PHP Version(s)

PHP 8.1.

Open Issues

None?

Proposed Voting Choices

This is a simple up-or-down vote, requiring 2/3 approval to pass.

Voting started 2021-05-31 and closes 2021-06-14.