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proc_open

(PHP 4 >= 4.3.0)

proc_open --  Execute a command and open file pointers for input/output

Description

resource proc_open ( string cmd, array descriptorspec, array pipes)

proc_open() is similar to popen() but provides a much greater degree of control over the program execution. cmd is the command to be executed by the shell. descriptorspec is an indexed array where the key represents the descriptor number and the value represents how PHP will pass that descriptor to the child process. pipes will be set to an indexed array of file pointers that correspond to PHP's end of any pipes that are created. The return value is a resource representing the process; you should free it using proc_close() when you are finished with it.

<?php
$descriptorspec = array(
   0 => array("pipe", "r"),  // stdin is a pipe that the child will read from
   1 => array("pipe", "w"),  // stdout is a pipe that the child will write to
   2 => array("file", "/tmp/error-output.txt", "a") // stderr is a file to write to
);
$process = proc_open("php", $descriptorspec, $pipes);
if (is_resource($process)) {
    // $pipes now looks like this:
    // 0 => writeable handle connected to child stdin
    // 1 => readable handle connected to child stdout
    // Any error output will be appended to /tmp/error-output.txt

    fwrite($pipes[0], "<?php echo \"Hello World!\"; ?>");
    fclose($pipes[0]);

    while(!feof($pipes[1])) {
        echo fgets($pipes[1], 1024);
    }
    fclose($pipes[1]);
    // It is important that you close any pipes before calling
    // proc_close in order to avoid a deadlock
    $return_value = proc_close($process);

    echo "command returned $return_value\n";
}
 ?>

The file descriptor numbers in descriptorspec are not limited to 0, 1 and 2 - you may specify any valid file descriptor number and it will be passed to the child process. This allows your script to interoperate with other scripts that run as "co-processes". In particular, this is useful for passing passphrases to programs like PGP, GPG and openssl in a more secure manner. It is also useful for reading status information provided by those programs on auxillary file descriptors.

Note: Windows compatibility: Descriptors beyond 2 (stderr) are made available to the child process as inheritable handles, but since the Windows architecture does not associate file descriptor numbers with low-level handles, the child process does not (yet) have a means of accessing those handles. Stdin, stdout and stderr work as expected.

Note: If you only need a uni-directional (one-way) process pipe, use popen() instead, as it is much easier to use.

See also stream_select(), exec(), system(), passthru(), popen(), escapeshellcmd(), and the backtick operator.

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