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phpgrep for Visual Studio Code

Search for PHP code using AST patterns. Uses tool under the hood.


  • Search PHP code using smart matching instead of regexps
  • Find similar code fragments
  • AST-based replace for quick and precise refactoring (to be implemented)
  • Advanced search filters (to be implemented)


This extension exposes phpgrep search commands.

Every command creates a search pattern prompt.

Search results are printed to the output channel named phpgrep.

The pattern language is syntactically identical to PHP. Only variable nodes meaning is slightly different.

Instead of matching a literal variable, every $<expr> matches a certain class of AST nodes. A simple variable, like $x would match any expression (or statement). If a single variable used more than once in a pattern, all occurences must match identical nodes. So, $x=$x finds all self-assignments. Use $_ if you don't want to name a variable (repeated $_ variables do not cause submatch comparison).

Advanced queries may include special variable nodes: foo(null, ${"*"}) finds all foo function calls where the first argument is null and all other arguments are ignored. Read docs to learn all phpgrep tricks.

Reminder: ${"varname"} is a valid PHP variable syntax and is identical to $varname with the exception that it allows chars that are not permitted in conventional syntax.

Some example search patterns:

  • @$_ - find all usages of error supress operator
  • in_array($x, [$y]) - find in_array calls that can be replaced with $x == $y
  • $x ? true : false - find all ternary expressions that could be replaced by just $x
  • $_ ? $x : $x - find ternary expressions with identical then/else expressions
  • $_ == null - find all == (non-strict) comparisons with null
  • $x != $_ || $x != $y - find || operators where comparison with $y may be redundant
  • [${"*"}, $k => $_, ${"*"}, $k => $_, ${"*"}] - find arrays with at least 1 duplicated key
  • for ($_ == $_; $_; $_) $_ - find for loops where == is used instead of = inside init clause
  • foo($_, ${"int"}) - find foo calls where the second argument is integer literal
  • array_map($_, ${"func"}) - find potentially incorect arguments order for array_map calls

To run "find similar" query, run any main search command (e.g. phpgrep.searchFile) with non-empty selection. Selected text will be used as a search pattern. Note that multi-statement search is not implemented yet.

If you're familiar with structural search and replace (SSR) from the JetBrains IDEs, you can feel yourself at home. phpgrep patterns are slightly different, but the idea is the same.


Running $x ? $x : $y pattern that finds all candidates for ?: refactoring:

Running if ($cond) $x; else $x pattern that finds all if statements with duplicated then/else bodies:

Extension Settings

  • phpgrep.binary: phpgrep binary path (default "phpgrep")
  • phpgrep.singleline: print multiline results without line breaks (default false)
  • phpgrep.limit: limit to this many search results per query (default 100)