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Execution Operators

PHP supports one execution operator: backticks (``). Note that these are not single-quotes! PHP will attempt to execute the contents of the backticks as a shell command; the output will be returned (i.e., it won't simply be dumped to output; it can be assigned to a variable). Use of the backtick operator is identical to shell_exec().

= `ls -al`;


The backtick operator is disabled when shell_exec() is disabled.


Unlike some other languages, backticks have no special meaning within double-quoted strings.

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User Contributed Notes 2 notes

14 years ago
Just a general usage note.  I had a very difficult time solving a problem with my script, when I accidentally put one of these backticks at the beginning of a line, like so:

[lots of code]
`    $URL = "blah...";
[more code]

Since the backtick is right above the tab key, I probably just fat-fingered it while indenting the code.

What made this so hard to find, was that PHP reported a parse error about 50 or so lines *below* the line containing the backtick.  (There were no other backticks anywhere in my code.)  And the error message was rather cryptic:

Parse error: parse error, expecting `T_STRING' or `T_VARIABLE' or `T_NUM_STRING' in /blah.php on line 446

Just something to file away in case you're pulling your hair out trying to find an error that "isn't there."
ohcc at 163 dot com
4 years ago
You can use variables within a pair of backticks (``).

= '';
    echo `
ping -n 3 {$host}`;
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