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(PHP 4 >= 4.0.5)

preg_replace_callback -- Perform a regular expression search and replace using a callback


mixed preg_replace_callback ( mixed pattern, callback callback, mixed subject [, int limit])

The behavior of this function is almost identical to preg_replace(), except for the fact that instead of replacement parameter, one should specify a callback that will be called and passed an array of matched elements in the subject string. The callback should return the replacement string.

Example 1. preg_replace_callback() example

  // this text was used in 2002
  // we want to get this up to date for 2003
  $text = "April fools day is 04/01/2002\n";
  $text.= "Last christmas was 12/24/2001\n";

  // the callback function
  function next_year($matches) {
    // as usual: $matches[0] is the complete match
    // $matches[1] the match for the first subpattern
    // enclosed in '(...)' and so on
    return $matches[1].($matches[2]+1);

  echo preg_replace_callback(

  // result is:
  // April fools day is 04/01/2003
  // Last christmas was 12/24/2002

You'll often need the callback function for a preg_replace_callback() in just one place. In this case you can use create_function() to declare an anonymous function as callback within the call to preg_replace_callback(). By doing it this way you have all information for the call in one place and do not clutter the function namespace with a callback functions name not used anywhere else.

Example 2. preg_replace_callback() and create_function()

  /* a unix-style command line filter to convert uppercase
   * letters at the beginning of paragraphs to lowercase */

  $fp = fopen("php://stdin", "r") or die("can't read stdin");
  while (!feof($fp)) {
      $line = fgets($fp);
      $line = preg_replace_callback(
              // single quotes are essential here,
              // or alternative escape all $ as \$
              'return strtolower($matches[0]);'
      echo $line;

See also preg_replace() and create_function().

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