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.

Google: How to do a code review

Google is sharing “How to do a code review” as part of its engineering practices. Unlike many similar guides online, I find this document to be a lot more comprehensive. It covers both the technical bits of the process, as well as suggestions that improve overall team communications and efficiency.

A particular type of complexity is over-engineering, where developers have made the code more generic than it needs to be, or added functionality that isn’t presently needed by the system. Reviewers should be especially vigilant about over-engineering. Encourage developers to solve the problem they know needs to be solved now, not the problem that the developer speculates mightneed to be solved in the future. The future problem should be solved once it arrives and you can see its actual shape and requirements in the physical universe.

Tips to Speed up Your PHPunit Tests

I came across this collection of “Tips to Speed up Your PHPunit Tests“. Apart from the few usual ones, like disabling XDebug and using groups, I found a couple that linked to handy tools:

  • ParaTest – a PHPUnit extension that runs PHPUnit tests in parallel, significantly minimizing the test run time, and
  • PHPUnit Report – a tool that visualizes test run times, clearly showing which unit tests take the longest to run.

Very cool! Needs trying …

Reading postmortems

Once in a while a seemingly straightforward article turns into a goldmine of links and resources. This happened to me today with this one – “Reading postmortems“.

Not only this article itself is a very nice roundup of common sources for system failures, but it also links to a couple of awesome references:

  • Simple Testing Can Prevent Most Critical Failures: An Analysis of Production Failures in Distributed Data-Intensive Systems. This is both a talk and a paper.
  • danluu/post-mortems – a GitHub repository with a collection of publicly available postmortems from a variety of organizations, like Google, Amazon, Facebook, NASA, GitHub, and more.

If you still have no idea what postmortem is, Wikipedia explains.

GrumPHP – PHP quality control tool

GrumPHP is yet another quality control tool for PHP. But unlike a million other – PHPUnit, PHP CodeSniffer, and the like – this one is more of a tying knot. GrumPHP integrates via git hooks. It runs one more of the other tools, making sure that the changes you are committing are up to the par.

The support for other tools is excellent. You’ll find anything from the basic unit tests and coding style checks to commit message formatting and content, Robo tasks, and even custom shell scripts.