I am modifying an open source CMS to use the Phalcon PHP framework, as well as the PHP-Sundown C implimentation of Markdown.

It is a very simple CMS which previously would just echo out compiled HTML. But I am using the Volt template engine in Phalcon. It renders .volt files to native PHP. This means that I cannot just spit out raw HTML. I need to create a render function that passes an array of data to my PHP file.

Here is that function:

function renderPhpFile($filename, $vars = null) {
  if (is_array($vars) && !empty($vars)) {
  include $filename;
  return ob_get_clean();
// usage
echo renderPhpFile('views/templates/index.php', $view_data);

This works! It is a handy little function for passing data into a PHP file.

If you wanted to use an object, you would need to cast it to an array first.