Facebook introduces XHP

by Lance on February 9, 2010

Facebook again pushes the boundaries of PHP by introducing yet another tool,  just one week after announcing HipHop. This time, they introduce a new way of writing php code- XHP, the one they used on the Facebook Lite front-end.

XHP does this by making PHP understand XML document fragments, similar to what E4X does for ECMAScript (JavaScript). While PHP is typically used to write front-end code, by itself it isn’t a very good language for generating HTML (as evidenced by the popularity of templating engines like Smarty). XHP is something between a programmatic UI library and a full templating system…

…One last feature of XHP, which has been invaluable to us at Facebook, is that you can define your own elements which can condense a complex component into a simple XHP tag. XHP has a rich collection of declarations which let you define new elements, configure their expected attributes, as well as describe their content model. These features turn XHP into a powerful templating engine which is capable of simplifying complicated pages into easy to read high-level markup, but it’s up to you to create your own elements from the primitives that XHP defines…

A thumbs up for Facebook, constraint really drives innovation.

You can read more about the official announcement here, the documentation. Also, here’s a quick link to their open source repos on GitHub

Update: Rasmus Lerdurf, the creator of PHP posted a quick note on using XHP.

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