Category Archives: Allgemein

composer šŸ§” phar

It bothered me for a long time that installing tools via composer cluttered my projects with unnecessary dependencies and also bind my code to the dependencies of my development toolchain and vice-versa.

The easy way to solve that was to use phar-files for the tools I am using in my development chain. So tools like phpunit, phpstan, psalm or phpcs/phpcbf. All of these can be installed via composer require --dev – but also via phive install.

The trouble though when using the phar-files was, that composer didn’t know about them and whenever I wanted to use a plugin for one of those tools, composer didn’t know that the tool was already there and so installed the tool again. Which wasn’t helpful!

I was thinking about multiple ways to handle that. Like a plugin for composer to remove installed PHAR-files from the internal resolver-tree and what other ideas I had. All of these didn’t really work out.

Until a few days it hit me: composers replace config-option!

So what did I do:

After installing my tool – in this case php-codesniffer – via phive install phpcs --copy I created a new composer.json file in the .phive-folder with the following content:

    "name": "myproject/phive_stuff",
    "description": "A replacement package for phars",
    "minimum-stability": "stable",
    "license": "MIT",
    "replace" : {
        "squizlabs/php_codesniffer": "*"

Now I added this code to my projects composer.json file:

    "repositories": [{
        "type": "path",
        "url": ".phive/"

Then all that was left to do was to require the new package via

composer require --dev myproject/phive_stuff 

With all that done I can now install plugins for php-codesniffer via

composer require --dev phpcompatibility/php-compatibility

and composer will realize that php-codesniffer is already installed and not install it again.


This has some caveats though! For example there are two tools phpcs and phpcbf that need to be installed via phive while requiring squizlabs/php-codesniffer will install both of them.

Due to the way phive works, the binaries are by default linked into the project from a main folder outside the project which can break when using docker. That’s why I usually call phive with the --copy flag as that actually adds a copy of the phar to the tools -folder.

Due to this linking phpcs suddenly created its config-file in that shared folder which had some unexpected sideeffects. When using --copy the confi is added by default to the tools folder.

So there might be some extra work necessary when using PHARs. But at least it works now šŸ˜

Further ideas

My main idea now was to automate this manual process as that is something that can automatically done by phive when installing (or updating) a tool.

Would that something that helps others as well? Feel free and leave your comment in the feature-request on github

Increase code coverage successively

I often come across legacy projects that have a very low code coverage (or none at all). Getting such a project up to a high code coverage can be very frustrating as you will have a poor code coverage for a very long time.

So instead of generating an overall code coverage report with every pull request I tend to create a so called patch coverage report that checks how much of the patch is actually covered by tests.

Having something like that in place also allows me to force contributors to include tests for their newly contributed code. Which in turn successively improves the overall code coverage up to a level where I might be able to go for that instead of the patch coverage.

But how to implement that?

That’s not as complicated as it sounds. As Sebastian Bergmann already wrote a tool for that.

Enter phpcov

Using phpcov requires us to

  • first generate a diff against the last code-revision,
  • then generate a coverage-report via phpunit --coverage-php and
  • then run phpcov against those artefacts.

So it’s as complicated as

$ git diff HEAD^1 > /tmp/patch.txt
$ ./tools/phpunit --coverage-php /tmp/coverage.cov
$ ./tools/phpcov patch-coverage --path-prefix /path/to/project /tmp/coverage.cov /tmp/patch.txt

That’s it.

It will return a non-zero value when not all lines are covered and it will tell you which lines aren’t covered.

So add that to your automation to have it executed at whatever stage you like (I recommend in the CI-pipeline of your Pull-/Merge-Request and let that fail whenever the return code is non-zero)

Github Action

If you want to see a way to implement that in GitHub Actions, check out this gist.

Attributes are awesome

Especially in combination with constructor property promotion.

Recently I did a code-review on an entity from a PHP8.0 project. What I saw was this:

The origin



namespace App\Entity;

use Doctrine\ORM\Mapping as ORM;

#[ORM\Table(name: 'user')]
class User
    #[ORM\Column(type: 'integer', unique: true)]
    public int $id;

    #[ORM\Column(type: 'string')]
    public string $username;

    #[ORM\Column(type: 'string')]
    public string $passwordhash;

    public function __construct(
        int $id,
        string $username,
        string $passwordhash,
    ) {
        $this->id = $id;
        $this->username = $username;
        $this->passwordhash = $passwordhash;

I was thinking about using constructor property promotion to get rid of the property declaration and property assignment but immediately thought that that would require us to handle the attributes differently. So I shortly checked my favourite search engine and realized that indeed we are able to shorten this whole stuff considerably:

The result



namespace App\Entity;

use Doctrine\ORM\Mapping as ORM;

#[ORM\Table(name: 'user')]
class User
    public function __construct(
        #[ORM\Column(type: 'integer', unique: true)]
        public int $id,
        #[ORM\Column(type: 'string')]
        public string $username,
        #[ORM\Column(type: 'string')]
        public string $passwordhash,
    ) {}

Combining the attributes with the constructor property promotion allows much smaller entity definitions.


In our case we also cleared a misunderstanding. My colleague was under the impression that Doctrine requires properties to be public. Otherwise they are not able to be hydrated properly. That is not the case and Doctrine can perfectly hydrate private properties!

So we decided to go for private properties in combination with getters. As in our concrete implementation we actually also need to execute some logic before returning some of the values. So declaring the properties private and having getters provides us with a truly immutable entity.

As we are not using PHP8.1 yet we could not make use of the new readonly declaration which would have solved the issue with the immutability though as we need logic in some cases the approach with using getters always makes more sense in this particular setup.

Enums. With PHP < 8.1

Recently I had to build something where an Enum would have been perfect.


The Challenge

It needed to run on PHP 8.0. Of course.

So what to do? I decided to build an Enum like thingy that I can easily upgrade into a real Enum once we are on PHP8.1 with that project.

Why not use a library for that? There are plenty of libraries on packagist that already provide you with the basics!

For one thing: I only needed one Enum. Not a multitude. And Adding a further dependency to make creating one enum easier that will (hopefully) converted into a “eral” enum in about half a year? That sounds bit like taking the sledgehammer to crack a nut.

And on the other hand it turned out that creating an enum from scratch isn’t rocket science.

Continue reading Enums. With PHP < 8.1