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Old 02-18-2008, 11:53 PM   #2
iamback
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CarlSeiler View Post
I'm surprised I haven't been able to find such an animal. What I'm looking for is something that pretty prints php but will also clean up (X)HTML. While I realize it may be a challenge for the embedded HTML inside the php, I'm thinking it wouldn't be all that difficult for a formatter to clean up HTML that's outside of the php tags.

My problem is that I can't seem to find something that does both.
I think that "pretty printers" may have gone out of fashion, actually.

The idea of course is to create "pretty" code off the bat, and decent text editors will help you these days with auto-indent features (even language-savvy auto-indent), so there's hardly any excuse left (for a human) to not write code that's well-indented. The other cause may be that there are many possible "rules" for indenting code (and software projects may impose theirs), which may not match whatever a pretty printer "thinks" it should be.

The only real problem left is that of code-generated-by-code (any language, not necessarily PHP). It takes real discipline (and a little practice) to write the generating code in such a way that the resulting code (HTML or whatever) is readable and has its own proper indenting.

But "HTML embedded into PHP" is a real problem if you don't write it yourself such that the result will be "correct": there are just too many ways that PHP syntax allows you to generate code (and what it generates can be any code, not just HTML, but also any flavor of XML, PS, RTF, you name it), and a pretty printer cannot "see" what the result should be when it cannot interpret when what would be produced where: that is in the logic of the generating code. It would take a PHP interpreter, not just reading a single file but also includes, even conditional includes, which also detects what language is being generated and knows its syntax and the rules to be applied, to be able to automate how to indent the resulting code.

That is so hard, and, frankly, so useless, no one will likely even try to tackle it. Just write your code so that it produces well-laid-out code.

As an exercise, try this little problem:
Given an array of three elements in PHP, write out all the different ways you can produce a simple unordered list in HTML from that. The <ul> should have a class, and each of the <li> elements should also have a (single) class. How many can you find?

   
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