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A PHP mode for GNU Emacs
Emacs Lisp PHP

PHP Mode for GNU Emacs

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This updates PHP Mode with features to make it more friendly to use with PHP 5.4 and later. This fork builds on the work of:

  1. Turadg Aleahmad (Original Author)

  2. Aaron S. Hawley

  3. Lennart Borgman

All contributors listed below improved PHP Mode as well.

Please email any bugs or feature requests to ejmr at plutono dot com or submit them as Issues on the GitHub page. Also please include the output of php-mode-version in bug reports. There is a changelog for previous versions.


If you are using GNU Emacs 24 or later then you can use its package feature to install PHP Mode from MELPA. The Marmalade package repository only has the original PHP Mode from 2004.

If you are using an older version of Emacs, or if you simply do not wish to use the package manager, then all you need to do is download the php-mode.el file, place it inside your load-path, and optionally add (require 'php-mode) to your Emacs configuration to automatically enable PHP Mode whenever you open a PHP file.

Note: PHP Mode requires Emacs 23.1 or later.


PHP Mode is not dead. However, I will no longer be contributing my own features because my time is taken up my game development that I am doing. Nonetheless, I still welcome all contributions and will try to review and merge them as best as possible, so please continue to improve the mode all you great Emacs Lisp developers.

Experimental and In-Progress Features

CC Mode

Daniel Haxney began incorparating CC Mode, and now the task is carried on by Jorys Steyn. The features are not complete but are usable. To test this out you can siwtch to the cc-mode-conversion branch. Please report all feedback on this thread


New Keywords

Now PHP Mode supports syntax highlighting for new keywords which PHP 5.4 introduced, e.g. those related to traits, such as insteadof. Also supported are the older keywords clone and default.


Syntax highlighting includes every magic constant and predefined constant listed on the official PHP site. However, some constants from specific extensions are not currently included.

Traits, Interfaces, and Namespaces

Traits, interfaces, and namespaces now appear under Imenu listings. Fontification behaves properly for namespaces as well, so that code like namespace Foo\Bar\Baz no longer looks like a warning. This is also true for namespace aliases, e.g. use <namespace> as <alias>; currently the aliased name is not listed in Imenu, but future versions will address this.

Treatment of Underscores

PHP Mode treats underscores as ‘symbol constituents’ (in Emacs terminology) so that you can use keys like M-f and M-b to move through the individual parts of a variable name like $foo_bar_baz.

Chained Method Calls

PHP Mode can align method calls over multiple lines anchored around the -> operator, e.g.:


This behaviour is off by default, but you can customize the variable php-lineup-cascaded-calls to enable this.

Note: Alignment will only work if you use one of the php-mode coding styles or inherit one of the styles.

Nested Array Formatting

Nested function calls and array() structures now look better by default (or at least in my opinion). Here is an example of the style:

$results = Post::model()->find(
        'select' => 'title',
        'condition' => 'postID=:postID',
        'params' => array(':postID' => 10),

Anonymous Functions

Anonymous functions such as

$greet = function($name) { ... };

will now appear on Imenu; in this case the name will be $greet.

Flymake Support

By customizing the variable php-executable you can enable Flymake mode in order to see warnings and errors in real-time as you write code.

Search Local Documentation

The key command C-c C-f will search the PHP website for documentation on the word under the cursor. However, if you have a local copy of the PHP documentation then PHP Mode will try searching that documentation first. All you need to do is customize the variable php-manual-path and give it the path to your copy of the documentation. If PHP Mode cannot find something locally then it will still fallback on searching the PHP website.

Executing Regions of PHP

The command php-send-region, which is bound to C-c C-r by default, will execute the selected region of PHP code. In conjunction with the Emacs command C-x h you can use this to execute an entire file. Any output will appear in a buffer called *PHP*.

Annotation Highlighting

Projects like Symfony use annotations in comments. For example, here is code from their website:

 * @ORM\Entity
 * @ORM\Table(name="product")
class Product
     * @ORM\Id
     * @ORM\Column(type="integer")
     * @ORM\GeneratedValue(strategy="AUTO")
    protected $id;

     * @ORM\Column(type="string", length=100)
    protected $name;

     * @ORM\Column(type="decimal", scale=2)
    protected $price;

     * @ORM\Column(type="text")
    protected $description;

The annotations are the lines that begin with the @ character, and PHP Mode will give these special highlighting to help them stand out.

Coding Styles

By default PHP Mode tries to provide a reasonable style for indentation and formatting, which you can use via the function php-enable-default-coding-style. However, it provides other options suited for particular projects which you may find useful. Other coding styles are available through these functions:

  1. php-enable-pear-coding-style
  2. php-enable-drupal-coding-style
  3. php-enable-wordpress-coding-style
  4. php-enable-symfony2-coding-style
  5. php-enable-psr2-coding-style

They will help format your code for PEAR/PSR-2 projects, or work on Drupal, WordPress, and Symfony2 software, respectively. You may enable any of them by default by running M-x customize-group <RET> php and looking for the ‘PHP Mode Coding Style’ option. You may also enable any of these via a hook, e.g.

(add-hook 'php-mode-hook 'php-enable-default-coding-style)

Symfony2 Style

With this style method call chains can be formatted with indented continuation and a hanging semi-colon:

        ->setCreateDate(new \DateTime('2007-05-07 01:34:45'))
        ->setLastDate(new \DateTime('2012-08-18 19:03:02'))

This style is used widely throughout Symfony2 source code even if it is not explicitly mentioned in their conventions documents.

Extra Constants

If you commonly use a framework or library that defines a set of constants then you may wish to customize the value of php-extra-constants. It is a list of strings that PHP Mode will treat as additional constants, i.e. providing them the same level syntax highlighting that PHP Mode uses for built-in constants.

Web Mode Constants and Keywords

If you use Web Mode then PHP Mode will attempt to use any additional PHP constants and keywords that Web Mode allows you to define.

Avoid HTML Template Compatibility

Many developers use PHP Mode to edit pure PHP scripts (e.g. files with only PHP and no HTML). A basic compatibility layer with HTML has historically been part of PHP Mode but it does not work perfectly and can cause some bad side effects such as slowness and incorrect font locking. Configuring the php-template-compatibility property with a nil will cancel any attempt of HTML compatibility. Web Mode is a great alternative to PHP Mode if you need to work with PHP scripts that do contain HTML and other markup.

Subword Mode

GNU Emacs comes with Subword Mode, a minor mode that allows you to navigate the parts of a camelCase as if they were separate words. For example, PHP Mode treats the variable $fooBarBaz as a whole name by default. But if you enable Subword Mode then Emacs will treat the variable name as three separate words, and therefore word-related commands (e.g. M-f, M-b, M-d) will only affect the camelCase part of the name under the cursor.

If you want to always use Subword Mode for PHP files then you can add this to your Emacs configuration:

(add-hook 'php-mode-hook (lambda () (subword-mode 1)))

The key-binding C-c C-w will also toggle Subword Mode on and off.

Amaka Support

Viewing and editing build scripts for Amaka will automatically enable PHP Mode.

How to Contribute

All contributions to PHP Mode are welcome. But please try to do the following when sending improvements or bug fixes:

  1. Add your name to the list of ‘Contributors’ in this file if it is not there already. If you have a GitHub page and/or personal site then please link your name to it, so people can see your other work.

  2. If your contribution addresses an issue on the GitHub project page then include a single line like GitHub-Issue: 16 with the appropriate issue number.

  3. Make sure to update the constant php-mode-modified only if you patch affects php-mode.el, which means this step is unnecessary for patches related to unit tests.

  4. However, please do not modify php-mode-version-number. I will decide what constitutes a bump in the version number.

  5. Open the php-mode-test.el file and run all of the tests to ensure they still pass as expected. Sometimes we expect for a test to fail, and those unit tests have the appropriate configuration so their failure will not raise any warnings. You can use make test script to run all tests from a terminal, which is also useful in conjunction with git bisect run.

  6. Send me a pull request here on GitHub. Or if you do not have a GitHub account then email the patches to me at ejmr at plutono dot com. Please try to make sure the patches are acceptable input to the comand git am. Please note that even if you send a pull request it is very likely that I will not simply merge your branch through GitHub; I prefer to go through commits and cherry-pick them so I can review the commit messages and sign-off on them. You can see which commits I did or did not merge by using the git-cherry command.

If you are fixing a bug related to a GitHub issue, then first of all, thank you for the help improving PHP Mode. Second, there is a tests/ directory which contains PHP scripts for issues (although not all of them). Please consider adding a test script to that directory that documents the expected behavior and provides code that allows others to see if said behavior works properly. Then create a unit test within php-mode-test.el using ERT. Please try to follow the format of the existing tests.

The Wiki

The GitHub project page has a wiki that you should feel free to edit. The wiki lists the features and bugs that are on plan to include in upcoming versions of PHP Mode. It is also a place to add any tips to make the mode more useful.


PHP Mode uses the GNU General Public License 3.


In chronological order:

  1. Juanjo
  2. Torsten Martinsen
  3. Vinai Kopp
  4. Sean Champ
  5. Doug Marcey
  6. Kevin Blake
  7. Rex McMaster
  8. Mathias Meyer
  9. Boris Folgmann
  10. Roland
  11. Rosenfeld
  12. Fred Yankowski
  13. Craig Andrews
  14. John Keller
  15. Ryan
  16. Sammartino
  17. ppercot
  18. Valentin Funk
  19. Stig Bakken
  20. Gregory Stark
  21. Chris Morris
  22. Nils Rennebarth
  23. Gerrit Riessen
  24. Eric Mc Sween
  25. Ville Skytta
  26. Giacomo Tesio
  27. Urban Müller
  28. Engelke Eschner
  29. Lennart Borgman
  30. Stefan Monnier
  31. Aaron S. Hawley
  32. Ian Eure
  33. Bill Lovett
  34. Dias Badekas
  35. David House
  36. Tom Willemse
  37. Olaf the Viking
  38. Maël Nison
  39. flack
  40. Michele Bini
  41. Emanuele Tomasi
  42. David Maus
  43. Jakub Jankiewicz
  44. Marcin Antczak
  45. 顾伟刚
  46. zapad
  47. Carl Groner
  48. Michael Dwyer
  49. Daniel Hackney
  50. Nate Eagleson
  51. Steve Purcell
  52. TatriX
  53. François-Xavier Bois
  54. James Laver
  55. Jacek Wysocki
  56. Jon Dufrense
  57. Andrei Chițu
  58. phil-s
  59. Bence Kalmar
  60. Elis Axelsson
  61. Alan Pearce
  62. Syohei Yoshida
  63. Joris Steyn
  64. l3msh0
  65. Hernawan Fa'iz Abdillah
  66. Sebastian Wiesner
  67. Michael Stolovitzsky
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