A PHP feature detection library for code portability

v0.6 2015-08-18 17:37 UTC

This package is auto-updated.

Last update: 2023-09-24 02:31:45 UTC


Morse is a feature detection library for PHP code that needs to run in multiple different environments.

Build Status Scrutinizer Code Quality

Supports PHP 5.3 and up.


Writing PHP that works in unknown (some sometimes hostile) environments is hard. You don't always know what functionality is available to you, so you have to test for it. Morse is a library to encapsulate those tests.

Most tests are really simple - just a function_exists() or similar - but you can often end up needing to repeat that test over and over across your codebase. Morse centralises those tests, providing reusability and consistancy.

Some tests aren't so simple, perhaps due to that one weird PHP bug or unusual hosting configurations or whatever. You have to do a weird dance to check if something is really going to work. Morse takes care of that, and keeps the weird dancing out of your application code, safe from the next developer who thinks it's dumb and rips it out.


Either download and include, or install via Composer:

composer require drewm/morse

How to

use \DrewM\Morse\Morse;

if (Morse::featureExists('http/curl')) {
	// use curl
	// use sockets

Testing if a feature exists


Features that may be available in either newer class support or older function support can return a value of Morse::CLASS_SUPPORT or Morse::FUNCTION_SUPPORT, both of which are truthy.

So this works:

if (Morse::featureExists('file/finfo')) {

but equally:

switch(Morse::featureExists('file/finfo')) {
	case Morse::CLASS_SUPPORT:
		$finfo = new finfo(...);

		$finfo = finfo_open(...);

		die('No finfo support!');

If class support is found, this returns regardless of function support.

Finding the first match in a list

$best_match = Morse::getFirstAvailable(['image/gd', 'image/imagick']);


$best_match = Morse::getFirstAvailable([
					'image/gd' => 'gd',
					'image/imagick' => 'imagick'

switch($best_match) {

	case 'gd':

	case 'imagick':


Feature detection tests currently exist for the following:

  • cache
    • apc
    • memcache
    • memcached
    • opcache
  • crypto
    • mcrypt
    • openssl
    • password
  • data
    • json
  • db
    • mysqli
    • pdo
    • pdo-mysql
    • pdo-pgsql
    • pdo-sqlite
  • file
    • finfo
    • zip
  • http
    • curl
    • filter
    • sockets
  • image
    • gd
    • imagick
  • number
    • bigint
  • protocol
    • ldap
  • system
    • exec
    • ignore_user_abort
    • ini_set
    • passthru
    • popen
    • proc_open
    • set_time_limit
    • shell_exec
    • system
  • text
    • ctype
    • iconv
    • intl
    • multibyte
    • transliterate

Contributing feature tests

Feature tests are functions in the appropriate class that return true or false to indicate support for a feature.

Let's say you wanted to add a feature detection test for a database called Pongo. You would test for it with the feature identifier db/pongo, which would map to a function called testPongo in the Feature/Db.php class file.

Both half of the feature identifier are run through ucwords() to correct case. Dashes are changed to underscores. So db/pongo-panda would map to Feature\Db::testPongo_Panda.

namespace DrewM\Morse\Feature;

class Db extends \DrewM\Morse\Feature
	public function testPongo_Panda()
		// do whatever needs to be done to determine support
		// return true for support, false for no support;
		return true;

If a feature can exist in both OO-style classes and procedural-style function form, return \DrewM\Morse\Morse::CLASS_SUPPORT or \DrewM\Morse\Morse::FUNCTION_SUPPORT as your truthy value. Check for classes first.

namespace DrewM\Morse\Feature;

class Db extends \DrewM\Morse\Feature
	public function testPongo_Panda()
		if (class_exists('PongoPanda')) {
			return \DrewM\Morse\Morse::CLASS_SUPPORT;

		if (self::functionAvailable('pongo_panda')) {
			return \DrewM\Morse\Morse::FUNCTION_SUPPORT;

		return false;

Feature classes should be big concepts (image, text, database) and the tests themselves should be specific features.

Please write a corresponding PHPUnit test for the feature you're adding. Note that you can't rely on the environment, so just test that the detection works and returns a sane value.

Testing for function availability

PHP gives us function_exists() for testing if a function has been declared. In some circumstances (e.g. when suhosin blacklisting is invoked), this can return true even if the function has been disabled and isn't available for use. Therefore, do the following within a feature class to detect whether a function is both declared and not disabled: