Prefixes all PHP namespaces in a file or directory.

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0.18.14 2024-06-16 17:21 UTC


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PHP-Scoper is a tool which essentially moves any body of code, including all dependencies such as vendor directories, to a new and distinct namespace.


PHP-Scoper's goal is to make sure that all code for a project lies in a distinct PHP namespace. This is necessary, for example, when building PHARs that:

  • Bundle their own vendor dependencies; and
  • Load/execute code from arbitrary PHP projects with similar dependencies

When a package (of possibly different versions) exists, and is found in both a PHAR and the executed code, the one from the PHAR will be used. This means these PHARs run the risk of raising conflicts between their bundled vendors and the vendors of the project they are interacting with, leading to issues that are potentially very difficult to debug due to dissimilar or unsupported package versions.

Table of Contents


php-scoper add-prefix

This will prefix all relevant namespaces in code found in the current working directory. The prefixed files will be accessible in a build folder. You can then use the prefixed code to build your PHAR.

Warning: After prefixing the files, if you are relying on Composer for the auto-loading, dumping the autoloader again is required.

For a more concrete example, you can take a look at PHP-Scoper's build step in Makefile, especially if you are using Composer as there are steps both before and after running PHP-Scoper to consider.

Refer to TBD for an in-depth look at scoping and building a PHAR taken from PHP-Scoper's makefile.

Building a Scoped PHAR

With Box

If you are using Box to build your PHAR, you can use the existing PHP-Scoper integration. Box will take care of most of the things for you so you should only have to adjust the PHP-Scoper configuration to your needs.

Without Box

Step 1: Configure build location and prep vendors

Assuming you do not need any development dependencies, run:

composer install --no-dev --prefer-dist

This will allow you to save time in the scoping process by not processing unnecessary files.

Step 2: Run PHP-Scoper

PHP-Scoper copies code to a new location during prefixing, leaving your original code untouched. The default location is ./build. You can change the default location using the --output-dir option. By default, it also generates a random prefix string. You can set a specific prefix string using the --prefix option. If automating builds, you can set the --force option to overwrite any code existing in the output directory without being asked to confirm.

Onto the basic command assuming default options from your project's root directory:

bin/php-scoper add-prefix

As there are no path arguments, the current working directory will be scoped to ./build in its entirety. Of course, actual prefixing is limited to PHP files, or PHP scripts. Other files are copied unchanged, though we also need to scope certain Composer related files.

Speaking of scoping Composer related files... The next step is to dump the Composer autoloader if we depend on it, so everything works as expected:

composer dump-autoload --working-dir build --classmap-authoritative


There is 3 things to manage when dealing with isolated PHARs:

  • The PHAR format: there is some incompatibilities such as realpath() which will no longer work for the files within the PHAR since the paths are not virtual.
  • Isolating the code: due to the dynamic nature of PHP, isolating your dependencies will never be a trivial task and as a result you should have some end-to-end test to ensure your isolated code is working properly. You will also likely need to configure the excluded and exposed symbols or patchers.
  • The dependencies: which dependencies are you shipping? Fine controlled ones managed with a composer.lock or you always ship your application with up-to-date dependencies? The latter, although more ideal, will by design result in more brittleness as any new release from a dependency may break something (although the changes may be SemVer compliant, we are dealing with PHARs and isolated code)

As a result, you should have end-to-end tests for your (at the minimum) your released PHAR.

Since dealing with the 3 issues mentioned above at once can be tedious, it is highly recommended having several tests for each step.

For example, you can have a test for both your non-isolated PHAR and your isolated PHAR, this way you will know which step is causing an issue. If the isolated PHAR is not working, you can try to test the isolated code directly outside the PHAR to make sure the scoping process is not the issue.

To check if the isolated code is working correctly, you have a number of solutions:


Having a good breakdown like described in Recommendations will help to know where the issue is coming from. However, if you have a doubt or you are fiddling with patchers and want to check the result for a specific file without doing the whole scoping process, you can always check the result for that single individual file:

php-scoper inspect path/to/my-file.php


Contribution Guide


Project originally created by: Bernhard Schussek (@webmozart) which has now been moved under the Humbug umbrella.