Manual sources structure

Downloading the PHP Documentation Source

The PHP Manual sources are currently stored in our Subversion (SVN) repository. You don't need SVN access to checkout (download) the files, but you do need it if you want to send your changes to our server.

This tutorial assumes that you have basic terminal and Subversion knowledge, although don't worry if you've never used Subversion as only basic commands are used, and our setup is simple (e.g., no branches).

To checkout the documentation source, use a modified version of the following command where you change {LANG} to a desired language, such as en for only English:

svn checkout{LANG} phpdoc-{LANG}

This command creates a directory named phpdoc-{LANG} because the source is the first 'svn checkout' argument, and the second argument defines the directory name that stores the checked out directories and files (this name can be anything you wish). This directory will contain a directory with the sources of your chosen language, named {LANG}, and also doc-base folder, which is home to some helpful tools. The "en" language will always be present, as explained below.

The documentation source is stored under "en". To only edit the source files, and not a translation, use:

svn checkout phpdoc-en

The "modules" directory used by these examples defines a set of SVN external definitions that are configured to checkout multiple source directories. For example:

  • doc-en: checks out "en" and "doc-base"
  • doc-fr: checks out "en", "fr", and "doc-base"
  • doc-all: checks out all languages (there are a lot!) along with "en" and "doc-base"

For example, to translate the manual into French, use "doc-fr" instead of "doc-en":

svn checkout phpdoc-fr

For additional information about language codes and available translations, see

Files structure

Note for translators: if any of the source files don't exist in your translation, the English content will be used during the building process. This means that you must not place untranslated files in your translation tree. Otherwise, it will lead to a mess, confusion and may break some tools.

The structure of the manual sources is hopefully rather intuitive. The most complicated part is the documentation for extensions, which is also the biggest part of manual as all functions are grouped into extensions.

The documentation for extensions is located in /phpdoc/{LANG}/reference/extension_name/. For example, the calendar extension documentation exists in /phpdoc/{LANG}/reference/calendar/. There you'll find several files:

  • book.xml - acts as the container for the extension and contains the preface. Other files (like examples.xml) are included from here.
  • setup.xml - includes setup, install and configuration documentation
  • constants.xml - lists all constants that the extension declares, if any
  • configure.xml - usually this information is in setup.xml, but if the file exists it is magically included into setup.xml
  • examples.xml - various examples
  • foo.xml - example, foo can be anything specific to a topic. Just be sure to include via book.xml.

A procedural extension (like calendar) also has:

  • reference.xml - container for the functions, rarely contains any info
  • functions/ - folder with one XML file per function that the extension declares

And OO extensions (such as imagick) contain:

  • classname.xml - container for the methods defined by the class, contains also basic info about it
  • classname/ - folder with one XML per method that the class declares

Note: classname is the lowercased name of the class, not a literal file or directory name.

There are some other important files, not related with extensions.

  • {LANG}/language-defs.ent - contains local entities used by this language. Some common ones are the main part titles, but you should also put entities used only by this language's files here.
  • {LANG}/language-snippets.ent - longer often used XML snippets translated to this language. Including common warnings, notes, etc.
  • {LANG}/translation.xml - this file is used to store all central translation info, like a small intro text for translators and the persons list. This file is not present in the English tree.

The next chapter will discuss how to edit the manual sources.