Author image Steven Haryanto
and 1 contributors


Data::Dump::PHP - Pretty printing of data structures as PHP code


version 0.10


 use Data::Dump::PHP qw(dump_php ddx_php);

 # in Perl
 $str = dump_php($var);
 $str2 = dump_php(@list);

 # in PHP
 $var = eval("return $str;");
 $array = eval("return $str2;");

 # or use it for easy debug printout
 ddx_php localtime;


This module provide functions that takes a list of values as their argument and produces a string as its result. The string contains PHP code that, when evaled, produces a deep copy of the original arguments.

The main feature of the module is that it strives to produce output that is easy to read. Example:

    @a = (1, [2, 3], {4 => 5});


    array(1, array(2, 3), array( 4 => 5 ))

If you dump just a little data, it is output on a single line. If you dump data that is more complex or there is a lot of it, line breaks are automatically added to keep it easy to read.

The following functions are provided (only the dd* functions are exported by default):

dump_php( ... )
pp_php( ... )

Returns a string containing a PHP expression/code. If you pass this string to PHP's built-in eval() function like this: eval("return $res;") or eval("\$a = $res;"), it should return a copy of the arguments you passed to dump_php().

If you call the function with multiple arguments then the output will be wrapped in an outer array "array( ..., ... )". If you call the function with a single argument the output will not have the wrapping. If you call the function with a single scalar (non-reference) argument it will just return the scalar quoted if needed, but never break it into multiple lines. If you pass multiple arguments or references to arrays of hashes then the return value might contain line breaks to format it for easier reading. The returned string will never be "\n" terminated, even if contains multiple lines. This allows PHP code like this to place the semicolon in the expected place:

   echo print '$obj = ', dump_php($obj), ";\n";

If dump_php() is called in void context, then the dump is printed on STDERR and then "\n" terminated. You might find this useful for quick debug printouts, but the dd*() functions might be better alternatives for this.

There is no difference between dump_php() and pp_php().

quote_php( $string )

Returns a quoted version of the provided string.

It differs from dd_php($string) in that it will quote even numbers and not try to come up with clever expressions that might shorten the output.

dd_php( ... )
ddx_php( ... )

These functions will call dump_php() on their argument and print the result to STDOUT (actually, it's the currently selected output handle, but STDOUT is the default for that).

The difference between them is only that ddx_php() will prefix the lines it prints with "# " and mark the first line with the file and line number where it was called. This is meant to be useful for debug printouts of state within programs.


None are exported by default, but they are exportable.


$Data::Dump::PHP::USE_LAMBDA (default 0) can be set to 1 to generate PHP code that uses lambda functions instead of create_function(), which is nicer and faster but requires PHP 5.3 or later.


Code references will be displayed as simply "create_function('', '')" (or "function(){}}") when dumped. Thus, evaling them will not reproduce the original routine.

Regex objects in Perl will become string in PHP. If you want to use this string in PHP's PCRE functions, you need to make sure that the regex will be compatible.


Data::Dump (from which this codebase is based)

PHP::Var (I tried this first before hacking up Data::Dump::PHP, but it has bugs, doesn't do scalars, and doesn't handle recursion.)

JSON, YAML - Another alternative to exchange data with PHP (and other languages) is to export/import via YAML and JSON.

PHP::Serializer - Yet another way to exchange data with PHP using PHP serialization format.


Data::Dump::PHP is a quick hack (as I needed it for Data::Schema::Emitter::PHP). I simply copied the code from Gisle Ass' wonderful Data::Dump and changed only whatever is necessary.


Please visit the project's homepage at


Source repository is at


Please report any bugs or feature requests on the bugtracker website

When submitting a bug or request, please include a test-file or a patch to an existing test-file that illustrates the bug or desired feature.


Steven Haryanto <>


This software is copyright (c) 2013 by Steven Haryanto.

This is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the same terms as the Perl 5 programming language system itself.