Constantes

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Una constante es un identificador (nombre) para expresar un valor simple. Como el nombre sugiere, este valor no puede variar durante la ejecucción del script. (A excepción de las constantes mágicas, que en realidad no son constantes). Una constante es sensible a mayúsculas por defecto. Por convención, los identificadores de constantes siempre suelen declararse en mayúsculas.

El nombre de una constante sigue las mismas reglas que cualquier otra etiqueta de PHP. Un nombre de constante válido empieza por una letra o subguión, seguido por cualquier número o letras, números o subguiones. Usando una expresión regular, se representaría de la siguiente manera: [a-zA-Z_\x7f-\xff][a-zA-Z0-9_\x7f-\xff]*

Ejemplo #1 Nombres de constantes correctos e incorrectos

<?php

// Nombre de constantes correctos
define("FOO",     "something");
define("FOO2",    "something else");
define("FOO_BAR""something more");

// Nombres de constantes incorrectos
define("2FOO",    "something");

// Esto es válido, pero debería ser evitado:
// Ya que quizá algún día PHP crea una constante mágica 
// con el mismo nombre y en ese caso provocaría un error en tu script
define("__FOO__""something"); 

?>

Nota: Para nuestros propósitos, entenderemos como letra los carácteres a-z, A-Z, y los ASCII del 127 hasta el 255 (0x7f-0xff).

Igual que las superglobals, el acceso a una constante es global. Se puede acceder a constantes desde cualquier sitio del script sin importar desde donde. Para más información en el acceso, lea el manual en la sección acceso a variables.

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User Contributed Notes 16 notes

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108
wbcarts at juno dot com
4 years ago
CONSTANTS and PHP Class Definitions

Using "define('MY_VAR', 'default value')" INSIDE a class definition does not work. You have to use the PHP keyword 'const' and initialize it with a scalar value -- boolean, int, float, or string (no array or other object types) -- right away.

<?php

define
('MIN_VALUE', '0.0');   // RIGHT - Works OUTSIDE of a class definition.
define('MAX_VALUE', '1.0');   // RIGHT - Works OUTSIDE of a class definition.

//const MIN_VALUE = 0.0;         WRONG - Works INSIDE of a class definition.
//const MAX_VALUE = 1.0;         WRONG - Works INSIDE of a class definition.

class Constants
{
 
//define('MIN_VALUE', '0.0');  WRONG - Works OUTSIDE of a class definition.
  //define('MAX_VALUE', '1.0');  WRONG - Works OUTSIDE of a class definition.

 
const MIN_VALUE = 0.0;      // RIGHT - Works INSIDE of a class definition.
 
const MAX_VALUE = 1.0;      // RIGHT - Works INSIDE of a class definition.

 
public static function getMinValue()
  {
    return
self::MIN_VALUE;
  }

  public static function
getMaxValue()
  {
    return
self::MAX_VALUE;
  }
}

?>

#Example 1:
You can access these constants DIRECTLY like so:
* type the class name exactly.
* type two (2) colons.
* type the const name exactly.

#Example 2:
Because our class definition provides two (2) static functions, you can also access them like so:
* type the class name exactly.
* type two (2) colons.
* type the function name exactly (with the parentheses).

<?php

#Example 1:
$min = Constants::MIN_VALUE;
$max = Constants::MAX_VALUE;

#Example 2:
$min = Constants::getMinValue();
$max = Constants::getMaxValue();

?>

Once class constants are declared AND initialized, they cannot be set to different values -- that is why there are no setMinValue() and setMaxValue() functions in the class definition -- which means they are READ-ONLY and STATIC (shared by all instances of the class).
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25
storm
11 years ago
An undefined constant evaluates as true when not used correctly. Say for example you had something like this:

settings.php
<?php
// Debug mode
define('DEBUG',false);
?>

test.php
<?php
include('settings.php');

if (
DEBUG) {
  
// echo some sensitive data.
}
?>

If for some reason settings.php doesn't get included and the DEBUG constant is not set, PHP will STILL print the sensitive data. The solution is to evaluate it. Like so:

settings.php
<?php
// Debug mode
define('DEBUG',0);
?>

test.php
<?php
include('settings.php');

if (
DEBUG == 1) {
  
// echo some sensitive data.
}
?>

Now it works correctly.
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6
Raheel Khan
1 year ago
class constant are by default public in nature but they cannot be assigned visibility factor and in turn gives syntax error

<?php

class constants {

    const
MAX_VALUE = 10;
        public const
MIN_VALUE =1;

}

// This will work
echo constants::MAX_VALUE;

// This will return syntax error
echo constants::MIN_VALUE;
?>
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14
katana at katana-inc dot com
14 years ago
Warning, constants used within the heredoc syntax (http://www.php.net/manual/en/language.types.string.php) are not interpreted!

Editor's Note: This is true. PHP has no way of recognizing the constant from any other string of characters within the heredoc block.
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7
ewspencer at industrex dot com
12 years ago
I find using the concatenation operator helps disambiguate value assignments with constants. For example, setting constants in a global configuration file:

<?php
define
('LOCATOR',   "/locator");
define('CLASSES',   LOCATOR."/code/classes");
define('FUNCTIONS', LOCATOR."/code/functions");
define('USERDIR',   LOCATOR."/user");
?>

Later, I can use the same convention when invoking a constant's value for static constructs such as require() calls:

<?php
require_once(FUNCTIONS."/database.fnc");
require_once(
FUNCTIONS."/randchar.fnc");
?>

as well as dynamic constructs, typical of value assignment to variables:

<?php
$userid 
= randchar(8,'anc','u');
$usermap = USERDIR."/".$userid.".png";
?>

The above convention works for me, and helps produce self-documenting code.

-- Erich
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3
hafenator2000 at yahoo dot com
11 years ago
PHP Modules also define constants.  Make sure to avoid constant name collisions.  There are two ways to do this that I can think of.
First: in your code make sure that the constant name is not already used.  ex. <?php if (! defined("CONSTANT_NAME")) { Define("CONSTANT_NAME","Some Value"); } ?>  This can get messy when you start thinking about collision handling, and the implications of this.
Second: Use some off prepend to all your constant names without exception  ex. <?php Define("SITE_CONSTANT_NAME","Some Value"); ?>

Perhaps the developers or documentation maintainers could recommend a good prepend and ask module writers to avoid that prepend in modules.
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1
php at webflips dot net
2 years ago
It is perfectly valid to use a built-in PHP keyword as a constant name - as long as you the constant() function to retrieve it later:

<?php
define
('echo', 'My constant value');

echo
constant('echo'); // outputs 'My constant value'
?>
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2
ysangkok at gmail dot com
2 months ago
Some answers notes here are outdated, const can be used outside of classes in PHP 5.3+.
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1
Andreas R.
9 years ago
If you are looking for predefined constants like
* PHP_OS (to show the operating system, PHP was compiled for; php_uname('s') might be more suitable),
* DIRECTORY_SEPARATOR ("\\" on Win, '/' Linux,...)
* PATH_SEPARATOR (';' on Win, ':' on Linux,...)
they are buried in 'Predefined Constants' under 'List of Reserved Words' in the appendix:
http://www.php.net/manual/en/reserved.constants.php
while the latter two are also mentioned in 'Directory Functions'
http://www.php.net/manual/en/ref.dir.php
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1
anj at aps dot anl dot gov
10 years ago
It is possible to define constants that have the same name as a built-in PHP keyword, although subsequent attempts to actually use these constants will cause a parse error. For example in PHP 5.1.1, this code

    <?php
    define
("PUBLIC", "Hello, world!");
    echo PUBLIC;
   
?>

gives the error

    Parse error: syntax error, unexpected T_PUBLIC in test.php on line 3

This is a problem to be aware of when converting PHP4 applications to PHP5, since that release introduced several new keywords that used to be legal names for constants.
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-4
alterg79 at gmail dot com
1 year ago
There is a way to access a constant in heredoc.
Here is the example:
<?php

define
("__STR",'constant.string.defined');

function
heredocGetConstant($constant) {
  return
constant($constant);
}

$heredocGetConstant = 'heredocGetConstant';

$my_string = <<<EOT
This is my constant printed from heredoc: {$heredocGetConstant('__STR')}
EOT;

echo
$my_string;

Output:
This is my constant printed from heredoc: constant.string.defined
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-5
tudor at tudorholton dot com
8 years ago
Note that constant name must always be quoted when defined.

e.g.
define('MY_CONST','blah') - correct
define(MY_CONST,'blah') - incorrect

The following error message also indicates this fact:
Notice:  Use of undefined constant MY_CONST - assumed 'MY_CONST' in included_script.php on line 5

Note the error message gives you some incorrect information.   'MY_CONST' (with quotes) doesn't actually exist anywhere in your code.  The error _is_ that you didn't quote the constant when you defined it in the 'assumed' file.
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-4
kumar at farmdev
12 years ago
before embarking on creating a language system I wanted to see if there was any speed advantage to defining language strings as constants vs. variables or array items.  It is more logical to define language strings as constants but you have more flexibility using variables or arrays in your code (i.e. they can be accessed directly, concatenated, used in quotes, used in heredocs whereas constants can only be accessed directly or concatenated).

Results of the test:
declaring as $Variable is fastest
declaring with define() is second fastest
declaring as $Array['Item'] is slowest

=======================================
the test was done using PHP 4.3.2, Apache 1.3.27, and the ab (apache bench) tool.
100 requests (1 concurrent) were sent to one php file that includes 15 php files each containing 100 unique declarations of a language string.

Example of each declaration ("Variable" numbered 1 - 1500):
<?php
$GLOBALS
['Variable1'] = "A whole lot of text for this variable as if it were a language string containing a whole lot of text";
?>
<?php
define
('Variable1' , "A whole lot of text for this variable as if it were a language string containing a whole lot of text");
?>
<?php
$GLOBALS
['CP_Lang']['Variable1'] = "A whole lot of text for this variable as if it were a language string containing a whole lot of text";
?>

Here are the exact averages of each ab run of 100 requests (averages based on 6 runs):
variable (24.956 secs)
constant (25.426 secs)
array (28.141)

(not huge differences but good to know that using variables won't take a huge performance hit)
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-10
ben at bendodson dot com
8 years ago
I recently found I needed a way of retrieving the value of a constant dynamically - e.g. trying to find the value of FOO_BAR by passing 'FOO_' . $someVariableWithValueBAR.  I came up with the following solution:

<?php

define
('FOO_BAR','It works!');
define('FOO_FOO_BAR','It works again!');

// prints 'It works!'
$changing_variable = 'bar';
echo
constant('FOO_' . strtoupper($changing_variable));

// prints 'It works again!'
$changing_variable = 'foo_bar';
echo
constant('FOO_' . strtoupper($changing_variable));

?>

Note the use of strtoupper() as constants should be defined in uppercase for good practice - feel free to remove if you have constants defined in lowercase or you can set $changing_variable as uppercase.

Might be of some use to someone!
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-1
gried at NOSPAM dot nsys dot by
4 months ago
Lets expand comment of 'storm' about usage of undefined constants. His claim that 'An undefined constant evaluates as true...' is wrong and right at same time. As said further in documentation ' If you use an undefined constant, PHP assumes that you mean the name of the constant itself, just as if you called it as a string...'. So yeah, undefined global constant when accessed directly will be resolved as string equal to name of sought constant (as thought PHP supposes that programmer had forgot apostrophes and autofixes it) and non-zero non-empty string converts to True.

There are two ways to prevent this:
1. always use function constant('CONST_NAME') to get constant value (BTW it also works for class constants - constant('CLASS_NAME::CONST_NAME') );
2. use only class constants (that are defined inside of class using keyword const) because they are not converted to string when not found but throw exception instead (Fatal error: Undefined class constant).
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-11
pdenny at magmic dot com
9 years ago
Note that constants can also be used as default argument values
so the following code:

<?php
  define
('TEST_CONSTANT','Works!');
  function
testThis($var=TEST_CONSTANT) {
      echo
"Passing constants as default values $var";
  }
 
testThis();
?>

will produce :

Passing constants as default values Works!

(I tried this in both PHP 4 and 5)
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