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PHPBuilder.com: Enforcing Coding Standards with PHP_CodeSniffer

Note: This article was originally published at PHPDeveloper on 23 October 2010.
PHPDeveloper

Developing applications has become simpler and simpler these days and the multitude of IDEs out there can help you keep all of your files organized and linked together so you know everything is in its place. There's one thing that only a handful out there can do, though - enforce coding standards. Thankfully, there's a tool that can help you keep your code following down the right path and PHPBuilder.com has a new tutorial about using it - PHP_CodeSniffer.

Although defined according to formal grammar and syntax, programming languages -- like their spoken counterparts -- often leave their users with a great deal of leeway for creative expression. [...] It can even be singularly counterproductive if you do not maintain stylistic consistency across projects, as you'll need to continuously re-acclimate to differing syntactical variations.

The PHP_CodeSniffer tool runs your code through a validation process and checks its structure against a coding standard (like the PEAR standard) and ensure it's formatted correctly. The tutorial shows you how to use the "phpcs" executable to test PHP, Javascript and CSSS files (using the Squiz standard).