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Static Analysis Results Baseliner (SARB)

PHP versions: 8.0|8.1|8.2 Latest Stable Version License Total Downloads

Continuous Integration Scrutinizer Code Quality Type coverage Psalm level 1 PHPStan level 8 Code Coverage Infection MSI


If you've tried to introduce advanced static analysis tools (e.g. Psalm, PHPStan) to legacy projects the tools have probably reported thousands of problems. It's unrealistic to fix all but the most critical ones before continuing development.

SARB is used to create a baseline of these results. As work on the project progresses SARB takes the latest static analysis results, removes those issues in the baseline and report the issues raised since the baseline. SARB does this, in conjunction with git, by tracking lines of code between commits. Currently, SARB only supports git, but it is possible to add support for other SCMs.

SARB is written in PHP, however it can be used to baseline results for any language and any static analysis tool.

Why not SARB?

SARB should not be used on greenfield projects. If you're lucky enough to work on a greenfield project make sure you fix all problems raised by static analysis as you go along.


Currently, SARB only supports projects that use git.

SARB requires PHP >= 8.0 to run. The project being analysed does not need to run PHP 8.0 or even be a PHP project at all.


You can either add directly to the project you wish to run analysis on:

composer require --dev dave-liddament/sarb

Or you can install SARB globally (e.g. if you want to use it on a non PHP project):

composer global require dave-liddament/sarb

If you install globally make sure the composer bin directory is in your path.

Using SARB

If you're using version 0.x see the old documentation and how to upgrade.

1. Make sure the current git commit is the one to be used in the baseline

When creating the baseline, SARB needs to know the git commit SHA of the baseline. Make sure your code is in the state you want it to be in for the baseline and that the current commit represents that state.

2. Create the baseline

Run the static analyser of choice and pipe the results into SARB:

E.g. using Psalm's JSON output:

vendor/bin/psalm --output-format=json | vendor/bin/sarb create --input-format="psalm-json" psalm.baseline

This creates a baseline file called psalm.baseline. You'll want to check this in to your repository.

3. Update code and then use SARB to remove baseline results

Continue coding. Then rerun static analyser and pipe results into SARB:

vendor/bin/psalm --output-format=json | vendor/bin/sarb remove psalm.baseline

Running SARB from a global installation

If you are running SARB from a global installation you will need to specify the root of the project (where the .git directory lives). The above would become:

psalm --output-format=json | sarb create --project-root=/path/to/project/root --input-format="psalm-json" psalm.baseline

Supported tools

To see a list of supported tools and formats use:

vendor/bin/sarb list-static-analysis-tools

How to create and remove baseline for each supported tool:

vendor/bin/phpcs src --report=json | vendor/bin/sarb create --input-format="phpcodesniffer-json" phpcs.baseline
vendor/bin/phpcs src --report=json | vendor/bin/sarb remove phpcs.baseline
vendor/bin/phan -m json | vendor/bin/sarb create --input-format="phan-json" phan.baseline
vendor/bin/phan -m json | vendor/bin/sarb remove phan.baseline

See notes on relative paths.

php exakat.phar report -p <project> -format sarb | vendor/bin/sarb create --input-format="exakat-sarb" exakat.baseline
php exakat.phar report -p <project> -format sarb | vendor/bin/sarb remove exakat.baseline
vendor/bin/phpmd src json <ruleset> | vendor/bin/sarb create --input-format="phpmd-json" phpmd.baseline
vendor/bin/phpmd src json <ruleset> | vendor/bin/sarb remove phpmd.baseline
vendor/bin/psalm --output-format=json | vendor/bin/sarb create --input-format="psalm-json" psalm.baseline
vendor/bin/psalm --output-format=json | vendor/bin/sarb remove psalm.baseline

NOTE: Checkout Psalm's built in baseline feature. Learn how it differs from SARB.

vendor/bin/phpstan analyse --error-format=json | vendor/bin/sarb create --input-format="phpstan-json" phpstan.baseline
vendor/bin/phpstan analyse --error-format=json | vendor/bin/sarb remove phpstan.baseline

NOTE: Checkout PHPStan's built in baseline feature. Learn how it differs from SARB.

vendor/bin/phpmnd . | vendor/bin/sarb create --input-format="phpmnd" phpmnd.baseline
vendor/bin/phpmnd . | vendor/bin/sarb remove phpmnd.baseline

See notes on relative paths.

My tool isn't supported...

That's no problem there are 3 methods to integrate a static analysis tool with SARB.

Output formats

The format for showing issues after the baseline is removed can be specified using --output-format option. Possible values are: table, text, json or github (for Github actions).

Ignoring warnings

Some static analysis tools (e.g. PHP Code Sniffer) classify issues wth a severity or either error or warning. By default, SARB will report all of these. If you wish to ignore warnings you can use the --ignore-warnings option.


vendor/bin/phpcs src --report=json | vendor/bin/sarb remove phpcs.baseline --ignore-warnings

SARB with Github Actions

If you're using actions/checkout@v2 to check out your code you'll need to add set fetch-depth to 0. By default checkout only gets that latest state of the code and none of the history. SARB uses git, which needs the full git history, to track file changes since the baseline. To get the full history checked out use this:

- uses: actions/checkout@v2
    fetch-depth: 0

Also don't forget to use the SARB option --output-format=github. It will annotate your PR with any issues that have been added since the baseline.

Gradually improving the codebase

In an ideal world SARB should not be required. SARB prevents you from adding new issues to your codebase.

It also provides a --clean-up option when running remove. Running SARB with this option will pick out 5 random issues that are still in the baseline. Challenge your team to fix 5 issues in the baseline every day. Over a working year that'll be 1000 issues gone from the baseline! Soon you'll be able to ditch SARB for good!

Further Reading