Super simple inline PHP alternating rows

Traditionally when you have lost lists of dat you want to alternate rows for usability. The first thing everybody makes to fix this is a simple if statement loop, but this adds a number of lines and is hardly a clean solution. Additionally it required you to have a “counter” or “switch” variable, usually placed at the bottom of the loop, overall very messy.

I had a boss who thought he was on the cutting edge by compressing the traditional if statement into a shorthand version (saving 2-3 lines of code), but the system was still using a $class variable and still requires a counting or switch variable. It was still a mess and added clutter to the code that was already cluttered.

Earlier today I was working on outputting client records for the previously mentioned fully customized application. Wanting to avoid such messy code as I’ve seen (and admittedly used) in the past I looked for a better solution and with a little tweaking and playing I came up with this (actually I came up with something similar, that I further optimized at home, but lets not split hairs here).


Thats it, that placed inline in a normal echo statement will place the class alt every other time. It’s a simple modification if you want to call a class tag without adding the key (say you already have a class assigned to it and just want this as a second one, simply place it in the quotes and adjust the code accordingly). Compressed down to a single line it neatly fits into existing code (even HTML with inline PHP like WordPress) and keeps everything clutter free. Heres a simplified snippet of how I deployed it:


I’d usually go over how ti works but it’s pretty straight forward, only thing that might be confusing to newer programmers is how it determines what to output and the general format of shorthand if statements. Simply put the output of putting something into a variable (in this case the ' class="alt" into the $alt variable) is always what you put in (assuming PHP can put it in it, but not being able to is a rather abnormal situation). As for shorthand if statements they are simple; (conditional ? true : false), only disadvantage is that a shorthand if statements are only good for one thing (no multiple lines by inlining ;‘s with it).

I’ve tested this on several servers and it’s haven’t noticed an issue. This is the most compressed alternating row script I’ve seen online, if anybody knows of a reason not to use it (or, if it’s even possible, a shorter version) or uses it in something cool let me know.

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