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Integrating Perl with PHP in Windows : Page 3

Discover how to execute Perl scripts, pass parameters, and display results using PHP.


Passing Arrays Between PHP and Perl

In Perl, an array is a data type that stores a list of data types. Each element of the array can be a string, a number or any type of scalar data, including another variable. Perl numbers array elements starting from zero. Here's how you declare an array in Perl:

@arrayname = ("element1", "element2",…,"elementn"); 

Array names must begin with an @ symbol, and there is no maximum limit on the size of an array. You can reference any element of an array using the syntax @arrayname[subscript].

The next example passes a set of strings as an argument to a Perl script, which groups them into an array. The following example (array.php) sends three strings:

   "C:\Perl\bin\perl.exe array.pl Mark Jane Martin");

The array.pl Perl script (see Listing 2), performs some basic Perl string operations: adding elements, removing elements, transforming arrays into strings and vice-versa, and sorting the array:

When you brows to the array.php page, you'll see output that looks like this:

The Perl array is : Mark Jane Martin 
Print each element of the array : 
Adding one element at the end : Mark Jane Martin Mary
Adding one element at the beginning : Tom Mark Jane Martin Mary
Remove the last element of the array : Tom Mark Jane Martin
Transforming the array into a string : Tom:Mark:Jane:Martin
Transforming the string into array : Tom Mark Jane Martin
Sorting the array : Jane Mark Martin Tom

To pass a PHP array to Perl (instead of a list of arguments), first convert the PHP array into a delimited string and pass it as shown below in the arraytoString.php script (you can use any separator character—this example uses a colon):

$nr = array("one", "two", "three", "four", "five");
//Convert from PHP array into PHP string
$separated = implode(":", $nr);
echo 'The PHP array converted into a string: <br />';
echo $separated."<br />";
//Execute the arraytostring.pl Perl script
$result=shell_exec("C:\Perl\bin\perl.exe arraytoString.pl ".$separated.' " ');

The following arraytoString.pl Perl script builds an array from the delimited string argument:

#print "Hello from ActivePerl!\n";
#Convert the string into a Perl array
@token= split(/:/, $PHPstring);
#Display the array
#print "The Perl array is : @token <br />";
#Convert the token array into a string
$Perlstring = join('//',@token);
print "$Perlstring";
Author's Note: The preceding Perl script appends the string "Perl " to every array element as a flag to show that the Perl script worked.

You could return the joined string to PHP, and then reconstruct the array from the delimited Perl string:

//Convert from Perl string to PHP array
$pieces = explode("//", $result);      
//Listing the PHP array
echo "<br /><br /> Convert from Perl string to PHP array: <br />";
echo "pieces[0]=".$pieces[0]."Perl <br />"; 
echo "pieces[1]=".$pieces[1]."Perl <br />"; 
echo "pieces[2]=".$pieces[2]."Perl <br />"; 
echo "pieces[3]=".$pieces[3]."Perl <br />"; 
echo "pieces[4]=".$pieces[4]."Perl <br />"; 

The script uses the explode method to convert the delimted string into a PHP array. The output is:

Convert from Perl string to PHP array: 

Object-Oriented Perl

Objects are collections of data (properties), and code (methods). A Perl class is syntactically identical to a C struct, and is a simply a package that provides methods to deal with objects. A method is simply a subroutine that expects an object reference as its first argument.

Here's an application that creates a simple Perl class, instantiates it, serializes it, and writes the serialized object into a text file (file.txt). The PHP script reads the file.txt file to de-serialize the Perl object, and prints the result. To use the Perl serialize and unserialize functions, you must instal the PHP::Serialization Perl module, which you can download. Save the downloaded PHP-Serialization-0.27/lib/PHP/Serialization.pm file to your PHP directory. To use the PHP::Serialization module from the example oop.pl Perl script, add this line to the beginning of the script:

use PHP::Serialization;

The oop.php PHP script that executes the Perl script is:

$result=shell_exec("C:\Perl\bin\perl.exe oop.pl");
//Unserialize the file.txt content in PHP script 
//and print the unserialized result
$object = unserialize(file_get_contents('file.txt'));

And the Perl script that creates the Perl class serializes it to file.txt is:

use PHP::Serialization;
package Cars;
sub new
    my $class = shift;
    my $self = {
        _Model => shift,
        _Color  => shift,
        _Series => shift,
    bless $self;
    return $self;
#instantiating the Cars class
$object = new Cars( "Ferrari", "red", 898766);
#Listing the object’s properties 
#print "The car model is: $object->{_Model} <br />";
#print "The car color is: $object->{_Color} <br />";
#print "The car series is: $object->{_Series} <br />";
#serialize the $object variable
$var = PHP::Serialization::serialize($object);
#Write the serialized result into file.txt 
open (DATA, ">file.txt");
print DATA "$var";

After the script runs, the file.txt file containing the serialized object in PHP style is:


Finally, the output is:

__PHP_Incomplete_Class Object ( 
   [__PHP_Incomplete_Class_Name] => Cars 
   [_Series] => 898766 
   [_Color] => red 
   [_Model] => Ferrari )

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