PHP code piece finder
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Phinder: PHP Code Piece Finder

Phinder is a tool to find code pieces (technically PHP expressions). This tool aims mainly at speeding up your code review process, not static bug detection.

Suppose that your project has the following local rule:

  • Specify the 3rd parameter explicitly when calling in_array to avoid unexpected comparison results.

Your project code follows this rule if you don't forget to check it in code review. But what if you forget? What if your project has ten rules? You probably want machines to do such low-level checking.

Phinder is a command line tool for checking such low-level things automatically. By saving the following yml as phinder.yml and running phinder from your terminal, Phinder finds the violations for you:

- id: in_array_without_3rd_param
  pattern: in_array(_, _)
  message: Specify the 3rd parameter explicitly when calling `in_array` to avoid unexpected comparison results.


composer global require sider/phinder

You can check your installation by the following command:

~/.composer/vendor/bin/phinder --help

If you have $HOME/.composer/vendor/bin in your PATH, you can also check it by the following:

phinder --help

Command Line Options

Quick Test

phinder --quicktest <pattern>

Sample Usage:

phinder --quicktest 'in_array(_, _)'
phinder --quicktest 'var_dump(...)'

JSON Output

phinder --json

Sample Output:

  "result": [
      "path": "./index.php",
      "rule": {
        "id": "sample.var_dump",
        "message": "Do not use var_dump."
      "location": {
        "start": [4, 5],
        "end": [4, 21]
  "errors": []

Rule Path

phinder --rule <file>  # Use <file> instead of phinder.yml
phinder --rule <dir>   # Use all yml files in <dir>

PHP Path

phinder --php <file>  # Find pieces in <file>
phinder --php <dir>   # Find pieces in all php files in <dir>


phinder --help


phinder test

Pattern Syntax

Any PHP expression is a valid Phinder pattern. Phinder currently supports two kinds of wildcards:

  • _: any single expression
  • ...: variable length arguments or array pairs

For example, foo(_) means an invocation of foo with one argument. bar(_, _, ...) means an invocation of bar with two or more arguments. More features will be added such as statement search.


Bug reports and pull requests are welcome on GitHub at


Phinder is inspired by Querly, ast-grep, and ASTsearch. The implementation depends largely on PHP-Parser and kmyacc-forked.