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PHP code quality tools to envision and toughen your code

a good mentor is better than any quality tool

They had been coded by Dave, your colleague developer.

The classes are fat of formatting errors, uncomfortable indentation, and peculiar one letter variables. There are such quite loads of dependencies it is indispensable to scroll down for minutes to flee the bloated constructor.

Shacking, you originate the unit assessments to attain the strategy in which it’ll composed work… however they don’t exist. Fright and concern!

That that you just can inquire Dave to reach to your desk, yelling at him that you just never saw wherever this form of crappy code, cursing him and his family for generations to reach.

Nonetheless, because of the you will very effectively be this form of respectful human being, you comprehend it’s no longer an correct solution. Teaching as an quite quite loads of of blaming continually offers higher outcomes.

With a composed worthy of a Zen monk, you first fix the malicious program using your boss crazy with Dave’s relief. Then, you personal chose to introduce to your physique of workers some code quality tools.

You’ve received an correct formulation dear reader: code quality tools are wanted to jot down solid and mistake-free PHP code. It will relief your colleagues detect defects in the codebase and issue them some key concepts.

Don’t put out of your mind however that the advice and the records they are able to provide gained’t be acceptable in every single plight. As most ceaselessly, it depends largely on the context: is your codebase gigantic? Is there an correct motive the cyclomatic complexity is excessive for some characteristic?

Whenever you happen to could possibly very effectively be already bored by this text and appropriate deserve to gaze a easy PHP tools list, you will straight away race to the reference list at the terminate.

The final ingredient before diving in: tools presented listed here analyze or layout your code. I gained’t focus on making an attempt out.

[Read: 3 concrete steps to learning a programming language]

There are continually just a few ways to install the tools described here.

My private need is to spend the composer’s global kit set up the spend of cgr to lend a hand faraway from dependency complications on the worldwide scope.

That that you just can as effectively spend the PHAR layout, in most cases.

That that you just can consult with the documentation of each instrument to personal every imaginable approach to placing in them.

Easy the model to spend the tools

To your terminal

The total tools would be weak in the terminal. Extra most ceaselessly than no longer you appropriate personal to movement the codebase’s route as an argument and voila! I record this job for every tools listed here.

I repeat you to call the tools from the main folder of your conducting. Every example make a choice that your codebase is in the folder src.

In Vim / Neovim

That that you just can with out dispute configure in Vim every instrument that you just can possibly seemingly like and let them parse your originate files.

With the plugin neomake you will hurry with out dispute PHPMD, PHPSTAN, and PHPCS to Vim. This could possibly impress in the gutter warnings and errors. Very at hand!

That that it’s also possible to invent your hold makers to spend every PHP code quality tools that you just can possibly seemingly like. As a reference, you will consult my neomake config file.

In PHPStorm

Since I don’t spend PhpStorm anymore, I gained’t impress the excellent technique to install these tools in the IDE.

Nonetheless here some handly links to Jetbrain’s documentation:

I wouldn’t write any line of code with out the following plugins. They’ll layout your code smartly and offers you treasured advice.

PHP-CS-Fixer (PHP coding standards fixer)

Let’s originate up by the motive in the support of lengthy conferences, hatred behavior, and assassinate impulses: code formatting principles. A sizable example of Parkinson’s Law of Triviality.

Personally I don’t personal any preferences relating to code formatting. What I care about is to personal a constant one:

  • It’s more straightforward to learn
  • It frees your thoughts for more critical questions

PHP-CS-fixer is a easy tools that potential that you just can layout your code robotically. By default, PSR-1 and PSR-2 principles are weak however you will account in your hold formatting principles.

With the following allege you will layout an total codebase:

$ php-cs-fixer fix src/

That that you just can need gotten as effectively the likelihood to preview the changes with out making spend of them (--diff choice) otherwise you will precise the principles (--principles choice) you personal to spend.

PHPCS (PHP CodeSniffer)

PHP CodeSniffer is a extremely appropriate instrument to output the coding standards violations you will personal in your codebase. Two allege line scripts would be weak: phpcs to output the utter coding standards flaws, and phpcbf that can fix some errors for you.

That that you just can style as an illustration:

$ phpcs src/

The output will witness be pleased that:

FILE: /dwelling/superCoolUser/mySuperProject/src/Model/SuperModel.php
  2 | ERROR   | [ ] Missing file doc statement
 14 | ERROR   | [ ] Missing @category impress in class statement
 20 | ERROR   | [ ] Missing doc statement for characteristic __construct()
 34 | WARNING | [ ] Line exceeds 85 characters; contains 93 characters
 57 | ERROR   | [x] Opening parenthesis of a multi-line characteristic call can personal to be the final snarl on the dual carriageway
 60 | ERROR   | [ ] Anticipated "if (...) {n"; stumbled on "if(...) {n"
 63 | ERROR   | [x] Closing parenthesis of a multi-line characteristic call can personal to be on a line by itself

As you will gaze phpcbf can fix robotically two errors for you by typing:

$ phpcbf src/Model/SuperModel.php

That that you just can spend the default coding in model shipped with PHP Code Sniffer otherwise you will with out dispute enforce your hold.

PHPMD (PHP Mess Detector)

PHPMD will impress the imaginable bugs and misuses of the language in your application.

Right here the excellent technique to function the magic:

$ phpmd src/ textual snarl cleancode

PHPMD will scan the directory and sub-directories of your conducting and output in easy textual snarl the errors stumbled on. That that you just can as effectively invent an html or xml output by changing the textual snarl choice in the allege line above.

On this example, we spend the cleancode ruleset however you will obviously alternate it or invent your hold.

Attain you personal to output the errors in a file? Easy:

$ phpmd src/ html cleancode --reportfile ~/phpmd.html

Whenever you happen to personal chose xml as output you will personal more records relating to the rule plight as following:

     beginline="61" endline="61" rule="BooleanArgumentFlag" ruleset="Clean Code Rules" externalInfoUrl="" priority="1">
      The formulation notThatCoolMethod has a boolean flag argument $badBoolean, which is a obvious mark of a Single Responsibility Thought violation.
     beginline="102" endline="104" rule="ElseExpression" ruleset="Clean Code Rules" externalInfoUrl="" priority="1">
      The formulation superMethod uses an else expression. Else is infrequently ever wanted and you will simplify the code to work with out else.

That that you just can gaze as an illustration the precedence of the principles violated. That that you just can then refine your consequence by the spend of the --minimumpriority choice as an illustration.

In fast: PHPMD is a huge instrument I in actuality lend a hand you to spend. This could possibly detect lots of possible complications in your code and could possibly save you hours of debugging.

Your boss will be so happy he’ll lift your salary by 200%. Assured.

PHPStan (PHP Static Diagnosis Instrument)

PHPStan is one other instrument to personal in your toolbox. Does it aim? Output errors be pleased a compiled language would impress at some point soon of compilation. It’s an correct complement to PHPMD.

That that you just can crawl it as issue:

$ phpstan analyse src/ --level=7

That that you just can precise the strictness of PHPStan with the level choice. The minimum is level 0, the utmost level 7.

To give you an idea here an example of the output:

 ------ -----------------------------------------------------------------------
  Line   src/MySuperModels/RandomModel
 ------ -----------------------------------------------------------------------
  78     Instantiated class AppServiceApiInvalidArgumentException no longer stumbled on.
  82     Instantiated class AppServiceApiInvalidArgumentException no longer stumbled on.
  93     Technique AppServiceApiClientClientInterface::put up() invoked with 3 parameters, 4 required.
  103    Casting to string one thing that's already string.
 ------ -----------------------------------------------------------------------

Like the opposite tools, you will invent your hold principles.

PHPUnit and the CRAP metric

This article will not be any longer about the unit check. I select you know that unit making an attempt out your code is a lot more critical than the rest hide listed here.

PHPUnit can as effectively impress very interesting records: the CRAP metric.

CRAP uses the cyclomatic complexity with the code coverage of your code to impress what could be the code tough to alternate in your application.

The more the CRAP index is excessive, the more your code will be idea of as “crappy.”

Indeed in case your code has a huge complexity however a low code coverage, you will inquire it to plight off unhappy bugs while you alternate it. You gained’t even stare till your boss yells at you. Demand Dave, your colleague developer, searching to push you even more down for him to shine in the shadow of your shame.

To impress the CRAP metrics, it is indispensable to invent a code coverage memoir:

$ phpunit phpunit --coverage-html ./tempFolder

This could possibly invent HTML files in the tempFolder directory. That that you just can originate the index.html in there and click on on the dashboard hyperlink to at final glimpse the CRAP indicator.

crap metricHigh-tail to the center of the CRAP

Please be aware, however: code coverage doesn’t imply that your code is effectively examined. Right here’s an utterly lots of subject I will eradicate for one other article.

Checking your PHP code deeper

I spend the following tools to be obvious the conducting I work on goes in the upright direction. They enable you with seeing the giant image.

They’ll as effectively be an proper-life savior whenever it is indispensable to work on an unknown (legacy) application. They’d be a huge relief for refactoring.


PhpLoc is a extremely appropriate instrument to salvage an idea of the size of a conducting.

That that you just can compose on your codebase:

$ phploc src

This could possibly output one thing be pleased that:

  Lines of Code (LOC)                               61
  Commentary Lines of Code (CLOC)                       0 (0.00%)
  Non-Commentary Lines of Code (NCLOC)                 61 (100.00%)
  Logical Lines of Code (LLOC)                      23 (37.70%)
    Lessons                                         17 (73.91%)
      Moderate Class Length                          17
        Minimal Class Length                        17
        Maximum Class Length                        17
      Moderate Technique Length                          3
        Minimal Technique Length                        1
        Maximum Technique Length                        7
    Functions                                        0 (0.00%)
      Moderate Feature Length                        0
    No longer in classes or gains                      6 (26.09%)

Cyclomatic Complexity
  Moderate Complexity per LLOC                     0.26
  Moderate Complexity per Class                    7.00
    Minimal Class Complexity                      7.00
    Maximum Class Complexity                      7.00
  Moderate Complexity per Technique                   2.20
    Minimal Technique Complexity                     1.00
    Maximum Technique Complexity                     4.00

  World Accesses                                    0
    World Constants                                 0 (0.00%)
    World Variables                                 0 (0.00%)
    Gargantuan-World Variables                           0 (0.00%)
  Attribute Accesses                                 7
    Non-Static                                       7 (100.00%)
    Static                                           0 (0.00%)
  Technique Calls                                      14
    Non-Static                                      14 (100.00%)
    Static                                           0 (0.00%)

  Namespaces                                         1
  Interfaces                                         0
  Traits                                             0
  Lessons                                            1
    Abstract Lessons                                 0 (0.00%)
    Concrete Lessons                                 1 (100.00%)
  Systems                                            5
      Non-Static Systems                             5 (100.00%)
      Static Systems                                 0 (0.00%)
      Public Systems                                 3 (60.00%)
      Non-Public Systems                             2 (40.00%)
  Functions                                          0
    Named Functions                                  0 (0.00%)
    Anonymous Functions                              0 (0.00%)
  Constants                                          1
    World Constants                                 0 (0.00%)
    Class Constants                                  1 (100.00%)

These records could give you already some clues about the conducting:

  • Commentary strains of code is infrequently ever appropriate. Set away with it with out a second idea.
  • Too excessive Moderate Class length is mostly no longer appropriate either. Split the god classes.
  • Too excessive Moderate Technique length is again no longer appropriate. For the sack of your colleagues, split them.
  • Cyclomatic complexity can demonstrate a puny bit of the whole lot and the rest. Trusting one thing be pleased CRAP would be wiser.
  • Steer obvious of needless Dependencies. Don’t put out of your mind that globals accesses, constants and variables can bring you lots complications.
  • Steer obvious of summary classes as great as imaginable: be aware composition over inheritance.

In a nutshell: a rather easy and treasured instrument.

PHP perception

PHP Insight is a beautiful appropriate static analyzer that could give you great advice to enhance the quality of your code.

That that you just can spend it as issue:

phpinsights analyse ./src

First, This could possibly give you a rapid overview of your codebase:

PHP Insight first screen

Then, this could possibly provide you great advice:

PHP Insight second screen

Right here’s a extremely helpful instrument. That that you just can as effectively layout the output (JSON as an illustration) or even invent your hold principles!

PHPCPD (PHP Reproduction past detector)

PHPCPD will scan your codebase and output the code duplicated.

That that you just can spend it by typing:

$ phpcpd src/

PHPCPD will invent this form of output:

phpcpd 4.0.0 by Sebastian Bergmann.

Learned 1 clones with 44 duplicated strains in 2 files:

  - /dwelling/superUser/src/superFile.php: 11-55
    /dwelling/superUser/src/superFolder/superFile.php: 11-55

5.04% duplicated strains out of 873 total strains of code.

Time: 29 ms, Reminiscence: 4.00MB

That that you just can encompass just a few files as an quite quite loads of of an total directory, exclude some files (or paths) or even output the consequence in a XML file.

Opt into fable though: whenever you happen to switch to the DRY precept violation hunting in your codebase, eradicate into consideration that code duplication doesn’t necessarily imply DRY violation.

PHPMND (PHP magic number detector)

This instrument is gorgeous utter: it enable you receive magic numbers in your code.

The finest technique to spend it:

$ phpmnd src/

Right here the output:


httpClient/myHttpClient.php: 98. Magic number: 200
  > 98|         if ($response->getStatusCode() != 200) {


carrier/superClass.php: 47. Magic number: 8
  > 47|         for ($i = 0; $i < 8; $i++) {


That that you just can play with lots of alternate solutions, be pleased the likelihood to ignore numbers, exclude files / paths / extensions…


Did you ever work on a conducting fat of needless dependencies, questioning the excellent technique to attain this nightmare? Attain you personal to check in case your very perfect conducting will not be any longer mutating genuine into a fancy Gargantuan Ball of Mud?

dePHPend enable you grandly on that topic.

That that you just can spend it as issue:

$ dephpend metrics src/

This output will then appear magically:

example dephpend output

As you will gaze, dePHPend will output the number of Afferent Coupling, the number of Efferent Coupling and impress an instability indicator in step with them.

In obvious:

  • No class count upon the category AppKernel
  • The category AppKernel depends on 5 other classes

The instability salvage is excessive here: this class couple other classes collectively however is infrequently ever weak!

That that you just can as effectively output easy textual snarl or UML as an illustration.


churn-php will impress the classes you will composed refactor in step with the cyclomatic complexity and the number of commit the category has.

Right here's a beautiful interesting formulation. A truly complex class that's most ceaselessly modified has certainly a excessive likelihood to introduce bugs.

As the opposite tools, it is extremely straightforward to spend:

$ churn crawl src/

Right here the consequence:

| File                                      | Times Changed | Complexity | Web |
| src/Service/classToRefactor.php           | 12            | 8          | 0.441 |
| src/Service/anotherClass.php              | 3             | 15         | 0.185 |

The elevated the salvage, the elevated the personal to refactor.


Deprecated gains are unfriendly. They'll invent very peculiar bugs tough to debug. This instrument enable you detect them in your engrossing application. That that you just can precise the model of PHP you work with and your main codebase directory as issue:

$ phpcf --target 7.1 src

And here the standard imaginable output:

phpcf output


Closing however no longer least: whenever you happen to could possibly very effectively be a metric lover, PhpMetrics will be your day-to-day fix. This could possibly output lots of metrics about your conducting.

It be critical to style one thing be pleased that:

$ phpmetrics --memoir-html=myreport.html src/

The HTML output will be fat of diagrams and numbers.

Now eradicate into consideration that metrics are no longer necessarily completely the truth, it in actuality depends on your conducting. I gained’t impress the whole lot this instrument can output here, seemingly in a future article?

My journey confirmed me that application entropy is an proper ingredient. The more you will modify your application, the more the application has probabilities to interrupt. Your application will inevitably became more complex.

These PHP code quality tools can no doubt allow you to in that topic. Since your codebase will be more and more buggy, refactoring is a necessity and these tools can demonstrate you the save to originate up. On a day-to-day basis, they could give you appropriate advice on all these puny stuff it is indispensable to handle to lend a hand your codebase wholesome.

Opt into fable though: they are an correct complement however no longer a replacement for a solid check suite, starting by appropriate unit assessments.

Attain you utilize other tools than the ones described here? Attain you utilize them in a utterly different method? Don’t hesitate to support the community by sharing your journey.

This article was written by Matthieu Cneude and was initially published on The Precious Dev, a blog specializing in the critical and timeless concepts in application building. That that you just can learn the allotment here

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