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This package is abandoned and no longer maintained. The author suggests using the sider/phinder package instead.

PHP code piece finder

v0.6.1 2018-12-11 04:32 UTC


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Phinder: PHP Code Piece Finder

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Phinder is a tool to find code pieces (technically PHP expressions). This tool aims mainly at speeding up your code review process, not static bug detection.

Suppose that your project has the following local rule:

  • Specify the 3rd parameter explicitly when calling in_array to avoid unexpected comparison results.

Your project code follows this rule if you check it in code review. But what if you forget to check it? What if your project has tens of rules? You probably want machines to do such low-level checking.

Phinder is a command line tool for checking such low-level things automatically. By saving the following yml as phinder.yml and running phinder from your terminal, Phinder finds the violations for you:

- id: in_array_without_3rd_param
  pattern: in_array(_, _)
  message: Specify the 3rd parameter explicitly when calling `in_array` to avoid unexpected comparison results.


Phinder requires PHP >= 7.0. You can install with Composer:

composer require --dev sider/phinder
vendor/bin/phinder -v

You can also use Docker:

docker run --rm -t -v $(pwd):/workdir sider/phinder

Quick start

As a first step, you can run phinder init command to create an example phinder.yml:

$ phinder init
`phinder.yml` has been created successfully
$ cat phinder.yaml
# Feel free to add your own project rules to this YAML file.
# The following example describes the rule syntax.
# See the documentation for more details:

- # The rule identifier. It must be unique in the YAML file.
  id: sample.var_dump
  # Pattern syntax. The `...` pattern matches variable length arguments or array pairs.
  # As a result, this pattern matches `var_dump` function call with any arguments.
  pattern: var_dump(...)
  # The message to display when code pieces are matched with the pattern.
  message: Do not use var_dump.
  # Exceptions that can ignore this violation.
  justification: Allowed when debugging

- id: sample.in_array_without_3rd_param
  # `_` pattern mattches any single expression.
  # This means the pattern always matches `in_array` function call with any two arguments.
  pattern: in_array(_, _)
  message: Specify 3rd parameter explicitly when calling in_array to avoid unexpected comparison results.
  # You can test whether your pattern works as expected with `phinder test`.
    # Code pieces that will match your pattern.
    # This means the following codes are bad as you expected.
      - in_array(1, $arr)
      - in_array(2, $arr)
    # Code pieces that will NOT match your pattern.
    # This means the following codes are good as you expected.
      - in_array(3, $arr, true)
      - in_array(4, $arr, false)

Next you can run phinder command to phind patterns against your code base.

$ phinder

After understanding how a pattern matches your code, let's add more useful rules for a real your project. The possibilities are infinite!



Bug reports, feature request, and pull requests are welcome on GitHub at


Phinder is inspired by Querly, ast-grep, and ASTsearch. The implementation depends largely on PHP-Parser and kmyacc-forked.