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PHP Autoload Builder

The PHP AutoloadBuilder CLI tool phpab is a command line application to automate the process of generating an autoload require file with the option of creating static require lists as well as phar archives.


  • scan multiple directories recursively in one run, optionally follow symlinks, wildcards or based on composer.json
  • Cache scan results
  • Template based autoload code
  • Custom variables for templates
  • Compatibility mode for PHP 5.2 compliant autoloader
  • Case sensitive as well as case insensitive classname mapping
  • Phar generation, with or without compression and openssl key signing
  • Static require list generation
  • Opcache warming list generation
  • Linting of generated code


  • PHP 5.3+ (Runtime, for development / tests: 7.2+)
  • Fileinfo (ext/fileinfo)
  • Tokenizer (ext/tokenizer)
  • For PHAR generation support:
    • ext/phar (write enabled: phar.readonly = Off)
    • ext/gzip (optional)
    • ext/bzip2 (optional)
    • ext/openssl (optional, for phar signing only)


Executable PHAR

The recommended way to install phpab is by using phive:

phive install phpab

Manual install

If you do not have phive installed or want to install manually, you can download the PHAR archive from the Releases tab.

Please note: On Linux/Unix based system the phar needs to be marked executable for direct execution:

[theseer@rikka ~]$ chmod +x phpab*.phar

Other Downloads


Usage: phpab [switches] <directory1|file1|/path/to/composer.json> [...<directoryN|fileN>]

  -i, --include       File pattern to include (default: *.php)
  -e, --exclude       File pattern to exclude

      --blacklist     Blacklist classname or namespace (wildcards supported)
      --whitelist     Whitelist classname or namespace (wildcards supported)

  -b, --basedir       Basedir for filepaths
  -t, --template      Path to code template to use

  -o, --output        Output file for generated code (default: STDOUT)
  -p, --phar          Create a phar archive (requires -o )
      --all           Include all files in given directory when creating a phar
      --alias         Specify explicit internal phar alias filename (default: output filename)
      --hash          Force given hash algorithm (SHA-1, SHA-256 or SHA-512) (requires -p, conflicts with --key)
      --bzip2         Compress phar archive using bzip2 (requires -p) (bzip2 required)
      --gzip          Compress phar archive using gzip (requires -p) (gzip required)
      --key           OpenSSL key file to use for signing phar archive (requires -p) (openssl required)

  -c, --compat        Generate PHP 5.2 compatible code
  -s, --static        Generate a static require file
  -w, --warm          Generate a static opcache warming file
      --reset         Add opcache reset call when generating opcache warming file

  -1, --prepend       Register as first autoloader (prepend to stack, default: append)
  -d, --no-exception  Do not throw exception on registration problem (default: throw exception)

  -n, --nolower       Do not lowercase classnames for case insensitivity

  -q, --quiet         Quiet mode, do not output any processing errors or information

      --cache <file>  Enable caching and set filename to use for cache storage

      --follow        Enables following symbolic links (not compatible with phar mode)
      --format        Dateformat string for timestamp
      --linebreak     Linebreak style (CR, CRLF or LF, default: LF)
      --indent        String used for indenting or number of spaces (default: 16 (compat 12) spaces)

      --tolerant      Ignore Class Redeclarations in the same file
      --once          Use require_once instead of require when creating a static require file

      --trusting      Do not check mimetype of files prior to parsing (default)
      --paranoid      Do check mimetype of files prior to parsing

      --var name=foo  Assign value 'foo' to variable 'name' to be used in (custom) templates

      --lint          Run lint on generated code and exit
      --lint-php      PHP binary to use for linting (default: /usr/bin/php or c:\php\php.exe)

  -h, --help          Prints this usage information
  -v, --version       Prints the version and exits

Usage Examples

[theseer@rikka ~]$ phpab -o src/autoload.php -b src composer.json

[theseer@rikka ~]$ phpab -o opcache_warming.php -w --reset src

[theseer@rikka ~]$ phpab -o src/ src

[theseer@rikka ~]$ phpab -c -o src/ src

[theseer@rikka ~]$ phpab -o src/core/ -b src src

[theseer@rikka ~]$ phpab -p -o framework.phar -b src composer.json

[theseer@rikka ~]$ phpab -p -o framework.phar framework/src

[theseer@rikka ~]$ phpab -p -o framework.phar --bzip2 --key sign.key framework/src

[theseer@rikka ~]$ phpab -b . --tolerant -o zf1_autoload.php -e '*/Test/*' Zend


When using phpab it is necessary to recreate the autoload file every time a new class is created. This usually also happens after pulling from a repo or when switchting branches. Using a git post-checkout hook placed in .git/hooks/post-update this can be automated for most cases.

Basic Sample:

phpab -c -o src/ src

Sample using an ant build.xml file.

if [ -f build.xml ]; then
    ant -p | grep phpab > /dev/null

    if [ $? -eq 0 ]; then
        ant phpab > /dev/null &

Template Variables

The generated code is based uppon templates provided by default in the templates subfolder. The template engine allows for simply replacing of name based placeholders. For now, only a few default variables are defined but API hooks / CLI parameters exist to set custom variables.

Known variables are:

  • ___CREATED___ Set to a timestamp of creation, format can be adjusted
  • ___CLASSLIST___ The found list classes in form of a generated map
  • ___BASEDIR___ If a Basedir is set, the value will get removed from the file path and get replaced by DIR

Used in PHAR Mode only:

  • ___PHAR___ The filename of the generated phar or it's alias when --alias is given (see src/templates/phar.php.tpl)

Custom variables as defined by passing --var name=value via cli are accessed by pre- and appending ___ to it:

  • ___name___ Going to be replaced by the value provided via cli param


The changelog moved to its own document