Write your PHP backend code right inside your frontend JavaScript code using tagged template literals:

import { php } from "php-tag";

async function run() {
  // The return value is serialized to JSON and sent back
  const hello = await php`return "Hello world!";`;
  console.assert(hello === "Hello world!");

  // Interpolated values are serialized to JSON and sent to the backend
  const sum = await php`return ${12} + ${30};`;
  console.assert(sum === 42);

Anticipated reactions

  • Oh the horror! Why? Just why?

    Because I can ?

  • This is a terrible idea!

    But colocation is good, isn’t it? Like Next.js’s getServerSideProps but for PHP backends. Is it really that different? With some IDE support it could be pretty useful, methinks.

    Still not buying it? OK, neither am I.

  • Isn’t it unsafe?

    In production, it’s no less safe than any other API endpoint. Just remember to treat interpolated values like any other user input and validate them.

Actual reactions


Interestingly the PHP community was more receptive thant the JavaScript community.

How does it work?

php-tag comes in the form of a Vite plugin (php-tag/vite-plugin). If you want to use with other tools, the underlying Babel transform (php-tag/babel-plugin) is also available.

For the production build, the Babel transform extracts each piece of PHP code into its own PHP file with a unique name. The client sends this name along with the interpolated arguments as a POST request with a JSON body to the /php-tag endpoint. The backend is supposed to provide a dispatcher at that endpoint that loads the requested PHP file and executes it with the arguments sent.

During development, the client sends the code itself instead of a file name and the backend just evals it.

Getting started

# Clone the example
npx degit cyco130/php-tag/examples/basic php-tag-example
# Install dependencies
npm install
# Run the example in development mode
npm run dev

# Build the example
npm run build
# Preview the example
npm run preview

Future ideas

  • IDE support
  • python-tag, go-tag, java-tag etc.
  • Customization options
  • More integration examples (Laravel, Symfony, etc.)

What about node-tag?

It already exists in a much more useful and type-safe form. It will be available with the next version of Rakkas in early August 2022.




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