Static production dependency analysis.
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MediaCT Dependency Guard is a static code analyzer that determines whether your package is depending on code that is installed as a side-effect of your developer and / or test environment.


composer require --dev mediact/dependency-guard

The tool can then be used in 3 ways:

  1. As a composer command
  2. As a stand-alone command
  3. As GrumPHP task

Composer command

composer dependency-guard



GrumPHP task

Invoke GrumPHP using the provided configuration.


When running the DependencyGuard, it will look for all files that are accessible through the autoload configuration of composer.json.

It will traverse all files, trying to detect PHP files and then determining the symbols (class, interface, trait) used by each file.

When the symbols are gathered, it determines to which package each symbol belongs. If a package is detected that is not installed because of the require section, but because of the require-dev section in composer.json, a violation is registered.

Also, when it is determined that a package is installed, while no code is using that package, another violation is registered.

Violation text

In the example above, the package mediact/data-container is installed as dev package, yet used directly in the code of the current package.

Additionally, the package league/container is installed, but none of its code is directly used.

To use custom reporting of these violations, JSON is supported as export format:

Violation JSON

Configuring exceptions

There are circumstances when dependency violations happen intentionally.


For instance, when a package is supplying factories for multiple implementations of a specific factory, that require different packages for each factory. In that case, the package would require those implementations as dev-package, and also list them under the suggest section of their composer.json.

When a package is added to the suggest section, its violations are ignored by the dependency guard:

  "require": {
    "psr/http-message-implementation": "@stable"
  "require-dev": {
    "guzzlehttp/psr7": "^1.4"
  "suggest": {
    "guzzlehttp/psr7": "To use the Guzzle PSR7 implementation."

Exclude symbols

To exclude specific symbols, add the following to the extra.dependency-guard.exclude section of composer.json:

  "extra": {
    "dependency-guard": {
      "exclude": [

Symbols can be excluded using an exact match, a namespace match or a pattern used by fnmatch.

The configuration above will exclude:

  • Specific\Class\To\Exclude
  • Specific\Namespace\Bunny
  • Some\Class\Matching\FooBarBaz

Ignore packages

To ignore violation messages for a specific package, add the following to the extra.dependency-guard.ignore section of composer.json:

  "extra": {
    "dependency-guard": {
      "ignore": [

Packages can be ignored using an exact match, a vendor match or a pattern used by fnmatch.

The configuration above will ignore violations for the following packages:

  • acme/tnt
  • symfony/console
  • league/flysystem

Known limitations

Some scenarios cannot be covered by Dependency Guard, in its current form. Known limitations are listed below:

🦊 Pokémon exception handling combined with integration tests

Pókemon exception handling is also known as:

This methodology catches any and all exceptions and either forwards them or ignores them:

try {
} catch (Throwable $exception) {
    // Do nothing.

When this is used to handle exceptions in an application, the following issue is caused by running integration tests on that code.

When the test sets an expectation / assertion, the assertion may fail. When the assertion fails, it throws a corresponding exception, which is meant to be caught by the test framework.

Instead it is caught by the exception handling as described above. To counteract this, the following ends up in production code:

try {
} catch (\PHPUnit\Framework\AssertionFailedError $assertionException) {
    // Re-throw the exception, as it is part of the testing framework.
    throw $assertionException;
} catch (Throwable $exception) {
    // Do nothing.

The code above causes DependencyGuard, to detect that \PHPUnit\Framework\AssertionFailedError is a symbol that can only be available when a development installation is used. It may be expected that, since this symbol is only used within a catch, it is not "really" a dependency, as it will only be autoloaded when that specific exception is thrown. DependencyGuard does no such specific inspection of the symbol at hand. The exception is thus marked as dependency violation.

There are currently no plans to solve this. That being said, pull requests and open discussions on this matter are welcomed.