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Request #71758 can't initialize inline a pass-by-references variable parameter
Submitted: 2016-03-09 15:36 UTC Modified: 2021-11-12 13:48 UTC
Avg. Score:5.0 ± 0.0
Reproduced:1 of 1 (100.0%)
Same Version:1 (100.0%)
Same OS:1 (100.0%)
From: vittorio dot zamparella at gmail dot com Assigned:
Status: Wont fix Package: Scripting Engine problem
PHP Version: 7.0.4 OS:
Private report: No CVE-ID: None
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 [2016-03-09 15:36 UTC] vittorio dot zamparella at gmail dot com
While I perfectly understand why I cannot pass by reference a literal, I whish that I could initialize a variable in the same place where I pass it as a parameter.
MyFunction( $var2 = "two" );

I think it is more readable, understandable and inline with the syntax of the language.
Maybe I'm missing some symple syntactic sugar to work around this (apart from initializing the variable the line before).

I understand that the result of assignment is an anonimous literal with containing the just assigned value (hence the warning), but I think that the compiler could be just that little bit smarter to allow for such a syntax, since the semantic is perfectly clear: assign the literal to the variable, then pass the variable (and not its value to the function.
Also the algorithm is quite simple: if the actual parameter is a literal and a variable is expected, if the literal is the product of an assignment pass the left part of the assignment to the function.
Actually I don't know if the parser can trace back where a value is coming from.

Thank you for your comments and explanantions.

Test script:
function MyFunction (&$parameter) { 
    echo $parameter."\n";
$var1 = 'one';
MyFunction( $var1 );
MyFunction( $var2 = "two" );

Expected result:

Actual result:

Notice: Only variables should be passed by reference in /in/iJAlU on line 7


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 [2021-09-22 16:40 UTC]
-Package: Compile Warning +Package: Scripting Engine problem
 [2021-09-22 16:40 UTC]
> Maybe I'm missing some symple syntactic sugar to work around
> this […]

No, you don't.  However, I don't think this will be improved;
after all, there are not that much reasons to use references at
all, and in-out parameters might not be that common, either.
 [2021-11-12 13:48 UTC]
-Status: Open +Status: Wont fix
 [2021-11-12 13:48 UTC]
I'll just go ahead and mark this as Won't Fix. We generally have no interest in making use of references more ergonomic, and rules around reference usage are going to become stricter rather than more lenient over time. Case in point, the sample code throws an Error exception in PHP 8.0.

Use of references is discouraged unless unavoidable, and I'm really hard pressed to think of a legitimate use-case for reference where the ability to perform an inline assignment would be important.
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