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Check the PHP syntax of (and execute) the specified file (PHP 5 <= 5.0.4)
bool php_check_syntax ( string filename [, string &error_message] )

Performs a syntax (lint) check on the specified filename testing for scripting errors.

This is similar to using php -l from the commandline except that this function will execute (but not output) the checked filename.

For example, if a function is defined in filename, this defined function will be available to the file that executed php_check_syntax(), but output from filename will be suppressed.


For technical reasons, this function is deprecated and removed from PHP. Instead, use php -l somefile.php from the commandline.



The name of the file being checked.


If the error_message parameter is used, it will contain the error message generated by the syntax check. error_message is passed by reference.

Return Values

Returns TRUE if the lint check passed, and FALSE if the link check failed or if filename cannot be opened.


5.0.5 This function was removed from PHP.
5.0.3 Calling exit() after php_check_syntax() resulted in a Segfault.
5.0.1 error_message is passed by reference.


php -l somefile.php

The above example will output something similar to:

PHP Parse error: unexpected T_STRING in /tmp/somefile.php on line 81