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PHP: Function call - expression

In programming, an expression is something that returns a usable output value. We already know a lot about expressions and how they're made. Math operations (addition, subtraction, etc.) and string operations (concatenation) are all expressions:


1 + 5 * 3
'He' . 'Let'
// Variables can be a part of an expression
$rate * 5

One feature of expressions is that they return a result that can be assigned to a variable or printed. For instance:


// Here the expression is 1 + 5
$sum = 1 + 5;
print_r(1 + 5);

But not just any code can be an expression. The definition of a variable is a statement, it can't be part of an expression. And doing so will lead to an error:


// Useless code that won't work
10 + $sum = 1 + 5;

Why is this important to know? You can combine expressions to get more and more complex behavior in the most unexpected places and the most surprising ways, as you will see. You'll get a better understanding of how you can combine pieces of code to get the desired results.

Let's talk about functions. Is a function call an expression or not? We know that functions return results, which means that, yes, they're expressions. This leads to a lot of interesting possibilities. For example, we can call functions directly in math operations. This is how we can get the last character index in a word:


$name = 'php';
// Indexes start with zero
// Method call and subtraction together!
$last_index = strlen($name) - 1;
print_r($last_index); // 2

This code has no new syntax. We've just combined what we already know. We could go even further:


$name = 'php';
print_r(strlen($name) - 1); // => 2

All of this applies for any function, e.g., string functions:


$name = 'php';
// Interpolation
print_r("Last character: {$name[strlen($name) - 1]}");
// => 'Last character: p'


Print the first and last letters of the sentence stored in the variable text using this format:

First: N
Last: t

Try to only create one variable you want to assign the text to before you print it. In this lesson, we're practising building a compound expression.

The exercise doesn't pass checking. What to do? 😶

If you've reached a deadlock it's time to ask your question in the «Discussions». How ask a question correctly:

  • Be sure to attach the test output, without it it's almost impossible to figure out what went wrong, even if you show your code. It's complicated for developers to execute code in their heads, but having a mistake before their eyes most probably will be helpful.
In my environment the code works, but not here 🤨

Tests are designed so that they test the solution in different ways and against different data. Often the solution works with one kind of input data but doesn't work with others. Check the «Tests» tab to figure this out, you can find hints at the error output.

My code is different from the teacher's one 🤔

It's fine. 🙆 One task in programming can be solved in many different ways. If your code passed all tests, it complies with the task conditions.

In some rare cases, the solution may be adjusted to the tests, but this can be seen immediately.

I've read the lessons but nothing is clear 🙄

It's hard to make educational materials that will suit everyone. We do our best but there is always something to improve. If you see a material that is not clear to you, describe the problem in “Discussions”. It will be great if you'll write unclear points in the question form. Usually, we need a few days for corrections.

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