An autocomplete library for PHP
Latest commit 56ef4cf Feb 22, 2015 @cweagans Add gratipay badge
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The Force is an autocompletion tool for PHP. It sort of works right now, and it's not very fast. It's more of a work in progress.

Eventually, I hope to get The Force to the point of feature parity with Jedi, the autocompletion library for Python.

I'll also be integrating this library with ycmd when it gets to the point of usefulness.


The Force is essentially a socket server that can be directed by JSON commands from a code editor. It behaves very similarly to Omnisharp in that regard.

Code editors should be responsible for starting and stopping the server, as well as sending commands to it. Pretty much all of the command handling is built in the Dispatcher component, and it's all pretty straightforward.


If you have a project with more than one directory where you want the parser to discover PHP files, or you want to use a custom filemask to tell the parser what is PHP and what isn't, you'll need to create a config file. These config files are very straightforward, and can look something like this:

paths[] = /Users/cweagans/Documents/Code/drupal
paths[] = /Users/cweagans/Documents/Code/my-other-directory
mask = "/^.+\.(php|inc|module|install)$/i"

The default behavior is to look for anything ending in .php. The regex above should be appropriate for most Drupal installations, though some tweaking may be necessary for your specific project. Note that if you have spaces or any weird characters in your paths, you may need to wrap them in double quotes.


Pull requests, questions, comments, or suggestions are all very welcome. I want this library to be as awesome as possible, and your help could make it happen.

In particular, if you're a Python developer, I'd love some help on integration with YCMD.

Note that while the goal of this project is to provide fantastic PHP autocomplete functionality, I'm not at all interested in supporting plugins for individual editors. If you want code completion, you should integrate with YCMD instead, as that's the end-goal for this library as well.

Similar Projects

PHPCodeIntel works in a pretty similar manner to this project. Unfortunately, there were a lot of design decisions in that project that I'm not a fan of, so I'm building the tool that I want.

Known issues

  • Indexer performance: For large projects, the indexer is slow. One approach to solving this may be to use pthreads if the extension is available, but my first priority is to actually get the library working. At that point, we can start thinking about performance improvements.
  • Notices, warnings, and general lack of error checking: Like I said, this is a work in progress. General hardening of the library will happen eventually.
  • Complete lack of tests: I know, I know. Should have written them first.
  • Builtin symbols are ignored: PHP ships with a ton of built-in symbols that this library doesn't currently know about. In the final 1.0.0 release, I'd like to ship with a couple of files that have function stubs and detailed docblocks for every built in PHP function and class (and their methods/properties). It shouldn't be too difficult to extract this information from the PHP docs. When that PHP file is generated, it should be as simple as always including it in the symbol table.


These are the things I want to do, roughly in order of when I'm going to do them:

  • Ensure that all variables in the AST produced by the PHP Parser have info about the variable type.
  • Add scope-aware variable indexing
  • Start integration with YCMD
  • Add basic go-to-definition support
  • Add command to re-parse a file (editors will use this when a file is saved)
  • Add function autocompletion
  • Add class name autocompletion
  • Add class method autocompletion
  • Make class method autocompletion context aware
    • Outside callers should only be able to access public properties/methods
    • Subclasses should be able to access private/protected properties/methods


  • Q. Does it work right now?
    A. Kind of. Code indexing mostly works, but you can't do anything useful with the data yet.

  • Q. Why did you call it "The Force"?
    A. Python has Jedi. PHP has "The Force". Also, you can answer "What do you use for code completion?" with "The Force".

  • Q. When will it be complete?
    A. When it's done.

  • Q. How can I help?
    A. See the "Contributing" section of this readme. If you need an idea for something to work on, see the "Known issues" section.