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Oracle Database Tips by Donald Burleson



Once the functions are defined, it is useful to have them separated into their own file, which can be included from many programs, as they are needed. C and C++ have the #include directive for that purpose, Perl has "require" and "use". PHP, of course, has its own directives for this purpose, namely "require" and "include".

"Require" and "include" are almost identical, except in the way they handle errors. While "include" produces a warning, "require" produces a fatal error. When including a file, the web server executing the PHP script drops into the HTML mode. This means that any PHP code  within the included file must be enclosed between the delimiter tags <?php and ?>. 

Better options are "require_once" and "include_once" directives. The "once" versions keep track of what has been included. If the file has already been included, it is not included again. What would example9.php (the one with factorial) look like if the factorial function is separated in its own file, "factorial.php"?

It would look like the following:

    $ cat example9b.php
    require 'factorial.php';
    echo "Factorial($a)=".factorial($a)."\n";

The "factorial.php" file looks as expected:

    $ cat factorial.php
    function factorial($n) {
       if ($n>0) return($n*factorial($n-1));
       else return(1);

And, of course, the execution is just as easy:

    $ ./example9b.php

PHP supports nested includes. This means that the included file can itself include another file. All files are included in the syntactical scope of the "include" statement itself. If the included file includes variable definitions, those variables are local to the function which included the file.

The last question is, "how does PHP know where to find the files to include?" There is a parameter called "include_path" in the php.ini parameter file which serves precisely for that purpose. This parameter is mentioned several more times in upcoming chapters.

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