PHP CodeSniffer: Ignoring rules

PHP CodeSniffer is a great tool for making sure all your code is consistent with a set of rules and guidelines. However, there are cases, when you need to ignore the rules for a particular code snippet. For example, when you are working with third-party frameworks or libraries.

CodeSniffer provides a number of ways to do this. Until today, the following worked well for me:

// @CodingStandardsIgnoreStart
echo "Here goes some code that breaks the rules";
// @CodingStandardsIgnoreEnd

This is particularly useful for code within functions and methods. But what if you need to ignore a particular rule for the whole file, especially in places like method names, which are difficult to surround by starting and ending annotation tags?

Here’s an example that worked for me (thanks to this comment for the solution):

<?php
/**
 * @phpcs:disable CakePHP.NamingConventions.ValidFunctionName.PublicWithUnderscore
 */

The only bit that you’d probably need now is an easy way to find the name of the rule from the CodeSniffer output. The usual output of “./vendor/bin/phpcs” looks like so:

FILE: src/Model/Table/KeysTable.php
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
FOUND 1 ERROR AFFECTING 1 LINE
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 53 | ERROR | Public method name "KeysTable::_initializeSchema" must not be prefixed with underscore
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

But if you run it with the “-s” flag (thanks to this comment), CodeSniffer will add sniff codes to all reports. Here’s the same example with “./vendor/bin/phpcs -s“:

FILE: src/Model/Table/KeysTable.php
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
FOUND 1 ERROR AFFECTING 1 LINE
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 53 | ERROR | Public method name "KeysTable::_initializeSchema" must not be prefixed with underscore
    |       | (CakePHP.NamingConventions.ValidFunctionName.PublicWithUnderscore)
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

And that’s the code sniff rule that you can add to the ignore annotation tag at the top of your file, like I’ve shown above.

Go Monorepo


As a maintainer and contributor to multiple, and often related, git repositories, I often find myself thinking that there must be a simpler way.

Consider, for example, a variety of CakePHP plugins that we develop and maintain at work.  Sure, each one provides a completely separate bit of functionality and has its purpose as a standalone project.  But, at the same time, they all have enough overlap that we use a common cakephp-plugin-template repository to keep things in sync, and also require cakephp-utils plugin from all of them.

It’s only natural to consider other ways of doing things.  Sure, I tried git submodules before, but they don’t quite cut it.  Something is still missing.

Today I came across the Go Monorepo website.  Which makes me wonder even further down this road.  There are also a few other tools and alternatives mentioned in this article.

That’s not something that I’ll jump into right now, but it’s definitely something I’ll consider to try out in the nearest future.

Documenting lists with Swagger


Swagger is a great tool for documenting APIs.  Not only it helps with keeping the documentation complete and up-to-date, but it also provides a handy sandbox for developers to play around with the API directly from the documentation.

We use Swagger a lot at work.  We’ve even pushed the bar slightly, but automatically generating the API documentation on the fly, to match the rest of our Qobrix functionality.  Whenever you change the database schema or the configuration of the fields, the changes are also reflected immediately in the API documentation.  And it works great!

One of the things that we haven’t done though until very recently is the documentation of the list fields.  Swagger provides the enum to document the values that can go into the field, but it’s not very helpful, when the values are not obvious.  Country codes and currency symbols work well, as they are common knowledge.  But if you have something custom, there needs to be a set of labels associated with the set of values.

The other day we decided that something is better than nothing, and added the documentation of the values as part of the field description (the property is described on the same page as enum above).  Here’s the Pull Request with the tiniest of changes.  And here’s how it looks in Swagger:

I admit, it’s not the prettiest of things, but at least the hints for the developers are there.  Also, since the list of labels uses a specific format, it’s quite easy to parse it out of the Swagger JSON automatically and reuse in third-party applications and services (like a website, connected to the system via the API).

While browsing around, I’ve also noticed that Swagger is growing and expanding. There is a new version of the specification – version 3.0, which has also been re-branded as OpenAPI Specification (see OpenAPI Initiative).  Here’s a great blog post that describes the differences between this and the previous versions, and here’s the migration guide for those who need it.

If you are working with PHP, zircote/swagger-php is the way to go.  It already even support the version 3.0.  If you are using the CakePHP framework, alt3/cakephp-swagger is the plugin for you (version 3.0 is not yet supported, but I’m sure it’ll get there soon).

Inflected – a port of ActiveSupport’s inflector to Node.js and the browser


For the last few years I have been heavily involved in building web applications with the CakePHP framework.  Apart from all the usual MVC, ORM, and so on, and so forth, features, I am a big fan of the CakePHP utilities.  And among all of them, my long time favorite is the Inflector class.

The Inflector class makes makes word transformations a breeze – camel-casing, snake-casing, plural, singular, and so on – work like a charm at least for the English language.  It’s also possible to use the same functionality for other languages, but that would require quite a bit of the linguistic expertise.

I’ve got so used to the inflections that I miss them every single time I have to step out of the CakePHP framework.  This doesn’t happen very often for me in the PHP domain, but JavaScript is a totally different story.

The other day I came across the inflected library, which brings most of the CakePHP’s Inflector to JavaScript, via either a Node.JS NPM package, or a simple inclusion of the JavaScript file to the page source and laying off all the hard work on to the browser.

I’m a lot happier with my universe now.