I'm writing an application that will be managed by my team, it uses Mustache.php as template engine.

I have a PHP file that makes an array of variables and functions that is passed to the Mustache parser to populate the template.

I even provide a system to override partials of my template to edit the aspect of the application for specific users.

Now I'd like to add a way to allow my team to add custom variables to the array passed to Mustache.php without have to hack the core of my application.

I thought about a little function that checks if a .php file with the name of the user exists and if so, include it after I've generated the array and before I pass it to mustache.

It should looks like:


// my queries
$variables = Array(1,2,3,bla,foo,bar);

if (file_exists($_SERVER['BASE_DIR'] . '/customcontents/'. $username . '.php')) {
   include($_SERVER['BASE_DIR'] . '/customcontents/'. $username . '.php');

// Call mustache and pass $variables to it


// custom queries
$variables = array_merge($variables, $customvariables)    

I'm not sure if this can be a nice solution or if you guys have some better idea.


1 Answer 1


I don't know anything about Mustache, so just a note about the code: $_SERVER['BASE_DIR'] . '/customcontents/'. $username . '.php' is duplicated, it could be extracted out to a local variable:

$userFile = $_SERVER['BASE_DIR'] . '/customcontents/' . $username . '.php'
if (file_exists($userFile)) {

(You might have ideas for a better name.)

Reference: Chapter 6. Composing Methods, Introduce Explaining Variable in Refactoring: Improving the Design of Existing Code by Martin Fowler:

Put the result of the expression, or parts of the expression, in a temporary variable with a name that explains the purpose.

And Clean Code by Robert C. Martin, G19: Use Explanatory Variables.


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