Instant Upgrade and Automated Refactoring of any PHP code

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1.1.0 2024-05-18 09:40 UTC

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Last update: 2024-05-20 11:36:11 UTC



Rector instantly upgrades and refactors the PHP code of your application. It can help you in 2 major areas:

1. Instant Upgrades

Rector now supports upgrades from PHP 5.3 to 8.2 and major open-source projects like Symfony, PHPUnit, and Doctrine. Do you want to be constantly on the latest PHP and Framework without effort?

Use Rector to handle instant upgrades for you.

2. Automated Refactoring

Do you have code quality you need, but struggle to keep it with new developers in your team? Do you want to see smart code-reviews even when every senior developers sleeps?

Add Rector to your CI and let it continuously refactor your code and keep the code quality high.

Read our blogpost to see how to set up automated refactoring.


composer require rector/rector --dev

Running Rector

There are 2 main ways to use Rector:

  • a single rule, to have the change under control
  • or group of rules called sets

To use them, create a rector.php in your root directory:


And modify it:

use Rector\Config\RectorConfig;
use Rector\TypeDeclaration\Rector\Property\TypedPropertyFromStrictConstructorRector;

return RectorConfig::configure()
    // register single rule
    // here we can define, what prepared sets of rules will be applied
        deadCode: true,
        codeQuality: true

Then dry run Rector:

vendor/bin/rector process src --dry-run

Rector will show you diff of files that it would change. To make the changes, drop --dry-run:

vendor/bin/rector process src


Learn Faster with a Book

Are you curious, how Rector works internally, how to create your own rules and test them and why Rector was born? Read Rector - The Power of Automated Refactoring that will take you step by step through the Rector setup and how to create your own rules.

Empowered by Community ❤️

The Rector community is powerful thanks to active maintainers who take care of Rector sets for particular projects.

Among there projects belong:

Hire us to get Job Done 💪

Rector is a tool that we develop and share for free, so anyone can automate their refactoring. But not everyone has dozens of hours to understand complexity of abstract-syntax-tree in their own time. That's why we provide commercial support - to save your time.

Would you like to apply Rector on your code base but don't have time for the struggle with your project? Hire us to get there faster.

How to Contribute

See the contribution guide or go to development repository rector/rector-src.


You can use --debug option, that will print nested exceptions output:

vendor/bin/rector process src/Controller --dry-run --debug

Or with Xdebug:

  1. Make sure Xdebug is installed and configured
  2. Add --xdebug option when running Rector
vendor/bin/rector process src/Controller --dry-run --xdebug

To assist with simple debugging Rector provides 2 helpers to pretty-print AST-nodes:

use PhpParser\Node\Scalar\String_;
$node = new String_('hello world!');

// prints node to string, as PHP code displays it

Known Drawbacks

  • Rector uses nikic/php-parser, built on technology called an abstract syntax tree (AST). An AST doesn't know about spaces and when written to a file it produces poorly formatted code in both PHP and docblock annotations.

  • Rector in parallel mode will work most of the times for most OS. On Windows, you may encounter issues unresolvable despite of following the Troubleshooting Parallel guide. In such case, check if you are using Powershell 7 (pwsh). Change your terminal to command prompt (cmd) or bash for Windows.

How to Apply Coding Standards?

Your project needs to have a coding standard tool and a set of formatting rules, so it can make Rector's output code nice and shiny again.

We're using ECS with this setup.

May cause unexpected output on File with mixed PHP+HTML content

When you apply changes to File(s) thas has mixed PHP+HTML content, you may need to manually verify the changed file after apply the changes.