PHP functions and their equivalents in Ruby (and Rails).
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PHP to Ruby Reference

This repository contains the source files used to build the reference section of the Rails for PHP Developers website.

When learning a new language, it's easy to get hung up on little things. This reference aims to ease the Ruby learning curve for PHP developers by mapping many of the PHP functions to their Ruby (and Rails) equivalents.


We've attempted to structure the reference as closely to the excellent PHP manual as practical. The directories in this repository map to the sections of the PHP manual.

"Class/Object Information" is named classobj in the PHP manual and can be viewed at This can be viewed in our reference at and the directory for the source files in this repository is also named classobj.

Within each directory of this repository, there are a collection of Markdown files whose filenames match the names of corresponding PHP functions.

The file classobj/call_user_func_array contains the reference page for the call_user_func_array function and can be viewed in our reference at

While our system is certainly less sophisticated than Docbook and the PhD rendering system used by the PHP manual, it's lightweight and gets the job done for our purposes here.

File Format

Every Markdown file shares the same basic structure. You must also follow this structure if you write for the reference. Browse some of the files in this repository to see it.

We're added these simple extensions to the standard Markdown syntax:


A block surrounded with braces and a notice: marker is used at the top of pages to get the attention of the reader:

    This function’s solution will only work within the context 
    of the Rails framework.     

Our most common use for these notices is to advise the reader of certain assumptions that we have made, e.g. that the solution is designed for Rails or a Unix-like operating system.

Code Snippets

Code snippets are surrounded with braces and a code: marker that hint about the source code within them:

    $array = array('chicago', 'london', 'paris');
    // => array(0 => 'chicago', 1 => 'london', 2 => 'paris')

Above, code:php indicates that the snippet should have a PHP icon and that it should use PHP syntax highlighting.

You can also use code:ruby and code:rails. Use code:rails only for snippets that make Rails-specific assumptions, e.g. those that depend on the core extensions installed by ActiveSupport.

Related Functions

The "See Also" section of each page is generated by a list of functions between braces with a related: marker:


Typically, the related function list will mirror that of the PHP manual.


We welcome your contributions to this reference. There are many functions to document and we would appreciate your help.

To contribute your own additions or changes, fork the repository on GitHub. When your changes are ready to be merged into our reference, just send us a pull request.

How It Works

Our website runs on Wordpress and uses a custom theme and plugin that we've written. Periodically, we run a parser over the files in this repository that we built on top of Solar_Markdown. That tool automatically builds the HTML used by our Wordpress plugin to display the reference section.

Get the Book

The Rails for PHP Developers book is available in both paper and PDF format from the Pragmatic Bookshelf. It offers an introduction to Ruby, takes the reader through building a Rails application step-by-step, and contains about 120 pages of additional reference material that is not found here.