Last modified 2022/09/14 11:14


Phpactor 1.0 will have no features at all, but it will provide a way to install extensions. All current Phpactor functionality will be extracted to extensions.


One problem with Phpactor has always been that it has not been extensible - it is not possible to, for example, install a Behat extension, or a Phpspec or Symfony extension.

It is not that the infrastructure isn’t there internally - it is and was based on the precedent set by Phpbench (which was in turn influenced by other things, notaby Behat, Symfony, Pimple, etc).

Phpbench could be easily included as a dependency of your project, this meant that it was easy to simply include the extension in your project as you would any other library.

Phpactor is a standalone project, you (generally) install it one place and use it everywhere. While you could include new dependencies on the project, it would not be a good idea because you will have conflicts when updating.


Another problem has been that Phpactor has been aggregating functionality, and as time has gone on I wish that I could drop certain things, or introduce new domain-specific features.

Another long-standing problem has been lack of code fixers (prettifiers). While I have been tempted to write a Phpactor CS Fixer, it would only have been able to do the absolute minimum to fix the grossest formatting errors in generated code. So it makes far sense to make use of an existing tools php-cs-fixer and phpcs - but it makes not so much sense to bind them to Phpactor, as people will want to use one or the other (often depending on project requirements).

The Language Server

Recently I have been playing with a Phpactor Language Server Protocol (LSP) implementation, I have introduced this into the develop branch, it is generally works quite well. The biggest advantage is that it opens Phpactor up to other text editors with no additional effort, and it means ultimately not having to maintain a phpactor.vim plugin.

The disadvantage is that it’s a long running process, and at the moment at least the original Phpactor is more stable.

Anyway - it leads to a problem where more code is added to the core which duplicates existing functionality and introduces more noise. It would be much better if the language server were optional.


So this weekend I played with the idea of introducing an embedded composer. After checking out Beau Simensen’s embedded composer. I managed to get a stripped down embedded composer working in a prototype project: rephpactor.


Rephpactor (which will hopefully become Phpactor 1.0) will look something like this with no extensions installed:


  command [options] [arguments]

  -h, --help            Display this help message
  -q, --quiet           Do not output any message
  -V, --version         Display this application version
      --ansi            Force ANSI output
      --no-ansi         Disable ANSI output
  -n, --no-interaction  Do not ask any interactive question
  -v|vv|vvv, --verbose  Increase the verbosity of messages: 1 for normal output, 2 for more verbose output and 3 for debug

Available commands:
  help               Displays help for a command
  list               Lists commands
  extension:install  Install extension
  extension:update   Update extensions
  extension:search   Search available extensions
  extension:list     List installed extensions

There is absolutely nothing there! It’s amazing.

There is absolutely nothing there! It’s amazing.

After initially installing you will be able to use the extension:install command to add packages from Packagist (only those with the phpactor-extension) type are permitted:

$ ./bin/rephpactor extension:install phpactor/language-server-extension

The installed extensions can then be listed:

$ ./bin/rephpactor extension:list
| Name                                 | Version   | Description                          |
| phpactor/language-server-extension   | 1.0.x-dev | LSP compatible language server       |
| phpactor/completion-extension        | 1.0.x-dev | Completion framework                 |
| phpactor/worse-reflection-extension  | 1.0.x-dev | Completors and other terrbile things |


This change, when it makes it to Phpactor, will make it possible to support more diverse domains. So for example, Symfony DI Completion, or Behat “feature to step jumping”. Things get even more interesting at the language-server level.

It would be easy to create for example a PHPStan extension for the language server (and fulfil the LSP APIs for diagnostics) or a php-cs-fixer extension (and fulfil the LSP APIs for code formatting). It would even be possible to add completors based on existing tools (such as Psalm).

The most important thing is, that by removing pretty much everything from Phpactor by default, we can release a stable 1.0 version and there would be much rejoicing.

Feature Agnostic

As a foot note, Phpactor would also be agnostic to function. It would no longer need to do anything related to PHP code development, it essentially just provides a way to install extensions and bootstrap commands.