This is a set of sniffs for PHP_CodeSniffer that checks for PHP version compatibility.

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7.0.4 2016-08-20 20:59 UTC


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This is a set of sniffs for PHP_CodeSniffer that checks for PHP version compatibility. It will allow you to analyse your code for compatibility with higher and lower versions of PHP.

Thank you

Thanks to all contributors for their valuable contributions.

Thanks to WPEngine for their support on the PHP 7.0 sniffs.

Installation (method 1)

  • Install PHP_CodeSniffer with pear install PHP_CodeSniffer (PHP_CodeSniffer 1.5.1 is required for 90% of the sniffs, 2.6 or later is required for full support, notices may be thrown on older versions).
  • Checkout the latest release from https://github.com/wimg/PHPCompatibility/releases into the PHP/CodeSniffer/Standards/PHPCompatibility directory.

Installation in Composer project (method 2)

  • Add the following lines to the require-dev section of your composer.json file.
"require-dev": {
   "squizlabs/php_codesniffer": "*",
   "wimg/php-compatibility": "*",
   "simplyadmire/composer-plugins" : "@dev",
   "prefer-stable" : true
  • Run composer update --lock to install both phpcs and PHPCompatibility coding standard.
  • Use the coding standard with ./vendor/bin/phpcs --standard=PHPCompatibility

Using the compatibility sniffs

  • Use the coding standard with phpcs --standard=PHPCompatibility
  • You can specify which PHP version you want to test against by specifying --runtime-set testVersion 5.5.
  • You can also specify a range of PHP versions that your code needs to support. In this situation, compatibility issues that affect any of the PHP versions in that range will be reported: --runtime-set testVersion 5.3-5.5

More information can be found on Wim Godden's blog.

Using a custom ruleset

Alternatively, you can add PHPCompatibility to a custom PHPCS ruleset.

<?xml version="1.0"?>
<ruleset name="Custom ruleset">
    <description>My rules for PHP_CodeSniffer</description>

    <!-- Run against the PHPCompatibility ruleset -->
    <rule ref="PHPCompatibility" />

    <!-- Run against a second ruleset -->
    <rule ref="PSR2" />


You can also set the testVersion from within the ruleset:

    <arg name="testVersion" value="5.3-5.5"/>

Other advanced options, such as changing the message type or severity, as described in the PHPCS Annotated ruleset wiki page are, of course, also supported.

PHPCompatibility specific options

At this moment, there is one sniff which has a property which can be set via the ruleset. More custom properties may become available in the future.

The PHPCompatibility.PHP.RemovedExtensions sniff checks for removed extensions based on the function prefix used for these extensions. This might clash with userland function using the same function prefix.

To whitelist userland functions, you can pass a comma-delimited list of function names to the sniff.

    <!-- Whitelist the mysql_to_rfc3339() and mysql_another_function() functions. -->
    <rule ref="PHPCompatibility.PHP.RemovedExtensions">
            <property name="functionWhitelist" type="array" value="mysql_to_rfc3339,mysql_another_function" />

Running the Sniff Tests

All the sniffs are fully tested with PHPUnit tests. In order to run the tests on the sniffs, the following installation steps are required.

  1. Install the master branch of PHP_CodeSniffer [https://github.com/squizlabs/PHP_CodeSniffer.git].

    This can be done with composer by adding the following into ~/.composer/composer.json:

        "require": {
            "phpunit/phpunit": "3.7.*",
            "squizlabs/php_codesniffer": ">=2.0"
  2. Run the following command to compose in the versions indicated in the above global composer.json file:

    $ composer.phar global install
  3. Update your system $PATH to include the globally composed files:

    $ export PATH=~/.composer/vendor/bin:$PATH
  4. Be sure that the PHPCompatibility directory is symlinked into PHP_Codesniffer's standards directory:

    $ ln -s /path/to/PHPCompatibility ~/.composer/vendor/squizlabs/php_codesniffer/CodeSniffer/Standards/PHPCompatibility
  5. Verify standard is available with phpcs -i. The output should include PHPCompatibility

  6. Run the tests by running phpunit in the root directory of PHPCompatibility. It will read the phpunit.xml file and execute the tests


This code is released under the GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL). For more information, visit http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/lesser.html