An object oriented wrapper for shell commands

0.8 2017-02-16 16:57 UTC


Build Status

PHP Shell Wrapper is a high level object oriented wrapper for accessing the program execution functions in PHP.

Its primary purpose is to abstract away low level program execution functions in your application, allowing you to mock PHP Shell Wrapper in your tests, making applications which call shell functions easily testable.


Install composer in your project:

curl -s | php

Create a composer.json file in your project root:

    "require": {
        "adambrett/shell-wrapper": "dev-master"

Install via composer:

php composer.phar install

Add this line to your application's index.php file:

require 'vendor/autoload.php';

Basic Usage

Hello World

Import the required classes into your namespace:

use AdamBrett\ShellWrapper\Command;
use AdamBrett\ShellWrapper\Command\Param;
use AdamBrett\ShellWrapper\Runners\Exec;

Instantiate a new shell runner:

$shell = new Exec();

Create the command:

$command = new Command('echo');

Add some parameters:

$command->addParam(new Param('Hello World'));

Now run the command:


Which would run the command:

echo 'Hello World'

Command Builder

Whilst this library is highly object oriented behind the scenes, you may not want to use it that way, what's where the Command Builder comes in. The command builder constructs a Command object behind the scenes, and then constructs the correct class for each method called, so you don't have to worry about it.

The Command Builder also has a fluent interface for extra syntactical sugar. Here's the above example re-written using the Command Builder:

use AdamBrett\ShellWrapper\Runners\Exec;
use AdamBrett\ShellWrapper\Command\Builder as CommandBuilder;

$shell = new Exec();
$command = new CommandBuilder('echo');
$command->addParam('Hello World');

And here's a slightly less trivial example:

use AdamBrett\ShellWrapper\Runners\Exec;
use AdamBrett\ShellWrapper\Command\Builder as CommandBuilder;

$shell = new Exec();
$command = new CommandBuilder('phpunit');
    ->addArgument('configuration', '~/phpunit.xml')

Which would run:

phpunit -v --stop-on-failure --configuration '~/phpunit.xml' '~/tests/TestCase.php'

and another:

use AdamBrett\ShellWrapper\Runners\Exec;
use AdamBrett\ShellWrapper\Command\Builder as CommandBuilder;

$shell = new Exec();
$command = new CommandBuilder('/usr/bin/jekyll');

Which would run:

/usr/bin/jekyll serve --watch


Runners are paths directly in to the PHP program execution functions, and map to them by name exactly. Runners should all implement \AdamBrett\ShellWrapper\Runners\Runner, which means you can type hint on that whenever you need to use a shell and they should then all be interchangeable.

Some runners will also implement \AdamBrett\ShellWrapper\Runners\ReturnValue, but only where that is appropriate to the low level function.

Some runners (marked *) only emulate command running. This feature useful for testing.

Runner Returns Flush getOutput getReturnValue
Exec Last Line x x
Passthru x x
ShellExec Full Output or null
System Last Line or false x x
Dry* Exit code x x
Fake* Exit code x x

You can use FakeRunner in your unit tests to emulate running a command. You can use DryRunnerfor debugging purposes, or when your application uses a --dry-run type argument and you want to echo the command rather than run it.



use AdamBrett\ShellWrapper\Command\SubCommand;

$shell->addSubCommand(new SubCommand($subCommand));

Sub commands will not be escaped or modified in anyway, they are intended for use like so:

use AdamBrett\ShellWrapper\Command\Command;
use AdamBrett\ShellWrapper\Command\SubCommand;

$command = new Command('jekyll')
$shell->addSubCommand(new SubCommand('build'));

Which would run the command jekyll build.



use AdamBrett\ShellWrapper\Command\Argument;

$shell->addArgument(new Argument($name, $value));

$value will be automatically escaped behind the scenes, but $name will not, so make sure you never have user input in $name, or if you do, escape it yourself.

If you want multiple arguments of the same name, then $value can be an array, like so:

use AdamBrett\ShellWrapper\Command\Argument;

$shell->addArgument(new Argument('exclude', ['.git*', 'cache'])); 

Which would result in the following:

somecommand --exclude '.git*' --exclude 'cache'



use AdamBrett\ShellWrapper\Command\Flag;

$shell->addFlag(new Flag($flag));

$flag will not be escaped, but can be a string rather than a single character, so new Flag('lla') is perfectly valid.



use AdamBrett\ShellWrapper\Command\Param;

$shell->addParam(new Param($param));

$param will be automatically escaped behind the scenes, but will otherwise be un-altered.


  • PHP >=5.4


Pull Requests

  1. Fork the php-shell-wrapper repository
  2. Create a new branch for each feature or improvement
  3. Send a pull request from each feature branch to the develop branch

Style Guide

This package is compliant with PSR-0, PSR-1, and PSR-2. If you notice compliance oversights, please send a patch via pull request.


The library is developed using test driven development. All pull requests should be accompanied by passing unit tests with 100% coverage. phpunit is used for testing and mockery is used for mocks. faker is available as a random data generator if required.

Creating Builds

Some build tools are included via composer if required, you can run them using . ./vendor/bin/phing from the root of the project. The output will be stored in ./build and will include code coverage and code browser output. Inspect the contents of build.xml to see what's happening underneath.


Adam Brett - -


php-shell-wrapper is licensed under the BSD-3-Clause License - see the LICENSE file for details