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<txp:variable />

The variable tag is both a single and a container tag which sets or returns a user-defined global variable for use on the current page.

If used as a container tag, the result of the contained statements are assigned to the given variable name, like this:

    …contained content…

Note: Avoid entering white space characters for better code readability between the opening and closing variable tags, they will lead to falsified results in the if_variable evaluation. If using the tag as a container, however, you can apply the trim or escape="trim" attributes to the variable tag to remove surrounding whitespace from the tag definition.


Tag will accept the following attributes (case-sensitive) as well as the global attributes :

add="value" v4.7.2+
Adds value to the current variable value. If both are numeric and separator is not set, the result is their sum. Otherwise, value is appended as a string, optionally separated by separator (see below).
Default: unset.
The variable name for which you wish to assign a value. Valid variable names must not contain any single or double quotes.
output="boolean" v4.7.2+
Force the variable output, e.g. <txp:variable name="name" value="value" output />.
Values: 0 (no) or 1 (yes).
Default: 0.
reset="value" v4.7.2+
A shortcut for <txp:variable name="name" /><txp:variable name="name" value="value" />. Outputs the old value and then assigns the new one.
Default: unset.
separator="string" v4.7.2+
A symbol or a string used to separate values appended via add attribute (see above).
Default: unset.
(Optionally) define the value to which you wish to set the variable. Without this attribute or some contained content, the tag outputs the current value assigned to the named variable.


Example 1: Store site-wide constants

Allows you to define constants at a single location (e.g. in form templates, or even at the top of page templates) and use them elsewhere later on.

Somewhere at the very beginning of a template you would define names and values, just like you do on a desktop calculator’s ‘memory’ keys:

    <title>My blog search results: <txp:search_term /></title>
    <meta name="description" content="Blog article search results.">
    <meta name="robots" content="none">
<txp:else />
        <title>Blog category: <txp:category title="1" /></title>
        <meta name="description" content="Blog article '<txp:category title="1" />' category archive.">
        <meta name="robots" content="noindex, follow">
    <txp:else />
        <title>My blog homepage</title>
        <meta name="description" content="The great homepage of my great blog.">
        <meta name="robots" content="index, follow">
        <txp:hide>Set the homepage variable here: visitor is not on a search or category page</txp:hide>
        <txp:variable name="homepage" value="1" />

Later down the Page template or in a separate Form template you can read the attribute’s value and test it. Using previously set values in this manner allows you to make your own custom conditionals:

<txp:if_variable name="homepage" value="1">
    …render some homepage-specific content…

Other tags used: else, hide, if_category, if_search, if_variable, search_term.

Example 2: Increment a counter

Say you were listing articles and wanted to find out how many of them were in a particular category. Inside an article list form/container:

<txp:if_article_category name="sales">
    <txp:variable name="cat_count" add="1" />

Sometime later, display the counter:

Number of articles in the 'sales' category: <txp:variable name="cat_count" />

Other tags used: if_article_category

Example 3: Decrement a counter

Say you were listing articles and wanted to find out how many of them were not in a particular category. You could use the above example with the not attribute:

<txp:if_article_category not name="sales">
    <txp:variable name="cat_count" add="1" />

Or, since you know that the default limit is 10, you can start the counter there and subtract from this value by adding -1 inside an article list form/container each time you encounter an article that matches:

<txp:variable name="cat_count" value="10" />

<txp:if_article_category name="sales">
    <txp:variable name="cat_count" add="-1" />

Sometime later, display the counter:

Number of articles not in the 'sales' category: <txp:variable name="cat_count" />

Other tags used: if_article_category

Example 4: Output a counter in an article list

<txp:article wraptag="p" break="br">
    Article <txp:variable name="counter" add="1" output />: <txp:title />

Other tags used: article, title.

Example 5: Use any tag’s value as a conditional expression

There are two parts to making this work. First a variable is created that stores the output of any tag as the value (the name is arbitrary)…

<txp:variable name="foo" value='<txp:permlink />' />

Note: A Textpattern tag, used as an attribute (a parsed attribute), must be surrounded with single quotes.

Alternatively, to avoid complicated quote escaping inside the value attribute, you can use the tag as a container:

<txp:variable name="foo"><txp:permlink /></txp:variable>

The variable ‘foo’ can then be used as a conditional later in the code:

<txp:if_variable name="foo" value="example.com/bar/baz">
    …do this…
<txp:else />
    …do that…

The conditional is saying: if there is a variable named ‘foo’ having a specific value of ‘example.com/bar/baz’, then output what is in the container, i.e. ‘do this if it matches, else do that’.

Other tags used: if_variable.

Example 6: Check if the list of articles is of a given pagination group

For convenience, set a variable called page to the value of the pg URL parameter:

<txp:variable name="page"><txp:page_url type="pg" /></txp:variable>

Later, you can check which paginated set of results the visitor is viewing. To take action if the article list is on the first page of results:

<txp:if_variable name="page" value="1">
    This is the first page.
<txp:else />
    This is page number <txp:variable name="page" />.

To take action if the article list is greater than the fifth page of results, you have a few options:

Option 1: Use a regular expression pattern

<txp:if_variable name="page" value="^([6-9]|\d\d)" match="pattern">
    This is greater than the fifth page.

The expression ^([6-9]|\d\d) means: does the page value start with a 6, 7, 8, or 9, or is double digits.

Option 2: Use evaluate

<txp:evaluate query='<txp:variable name="page" /> > 5'>
    This is greater than the fifth page.

Other tags used: else, evaluate, if_variable, page_url.

Example 7: Link to the latest article in a section

<txp:variable name="is_latest"><txp:page_url type="most-recent" /></txp:variable>
<txp:if_variable name="is_latest" value="1">
    <txp:article limit="1" />
    <txp:article />

Using the above code in a page template would permit you to use example.org/articles?latest=1 as a URL and have Textpattern capture the ‘latest’ parameter and take action to display just the most recent article in that section.

Other tags used: article, else, if_variable, page_url.

Example 8: Using default values

You may want to make up a variable that contains the value of some dynamic content and display a default value if that content is empty. Conceptually, this seems easy but you need to bear in mind that the primary purpose of the <txp:variable> when used with a value is to store the content and when used without a value it will display any stored content.

To use default values you must therefore only use them when you intend to display what is stored and not when you assign the value to the variable. Viz:

<!-- Variable assignment: displays nothing -->
<txp:variable name="primary_section" value="about"  />

<!-- Variable display: default overrides the value attribute (it's ignored)
     and the tag will display _articles_ -->
<txp:variable name="primary_section" value="about" default="articles" />

This demonstrates it even more clearly:

<!-- Variable has a value so is output by the 2nd tag
     Result: about -->
<txp:variable name="primary_section" value="about" />
<txp:variable name="primary_section" default="articles" />

<!-- Variable has no value so default value is output by the 2nd tag
     Result: articles -->
<txp:variable name="primary_section" value="" />
<txp:variable name="primary_section" default="articles" />


Version 4.7.2

add, output, reset and separator attributes added.

Version 4.0.7

Tag support added.

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