Syntax errors now causing script termination

David Smith davidsmith at
Sun Apr 11 21:56:50 MDT 2004

In phpLDAPadmin, I do some fancy syntax checking with ob_start(), 
include(), and ob_get_contents() to check for syntax errors in the user 
configuration file. The config file is actually a PHP file, so I just 
include() it in the app directly. Under PHP 4.1 and 4.2, I can do this 
and successfully detect a syntax error:

include 'config.php';
$str = ob_get_contents();
if( $str && false !== strpos( $str, 'error' ) )  {
    echo "Config file has errors...";
    $matches = array();
    preg_match( "/on line (\d+)/", $str, $matches );
    $line_num = $matches[1];
    // More fancy stuff to display the error to the user...

You can see this in action here:

However, under PHP 4.3.5, it appears that when I include() a PHP file 
with syntax errors (the most common kind in my case), script execution 
terminates! This is not the behavior I want nor does it seem consistent 
with PHP's documentation, so now I am searching for some way to cleanly 
check the syntax of a PHP file that is not so kludgy and works with PHP 
4.*.*. It must be OS-independent as phpLDAPadmin is deployable on 
Windows, BSD, Linux, Mac, etc. It must also not rely on *any* special 
php.ini settings, as phpLDAPadmin will work with any php.ini configuration.

So, anyone have any ideas?


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