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Manual Reference Pages  -  PHPSH (1)


phpsh - an interactive shell into a php codebase



phpsh [-h] [-c | --codebase-mode] [-t | --test-file]
      [-A | --no-autocomplete] [-C | --no-color] [-M | --no-multiline]
      [-T | --no-ctags] [-X | --no-xdebug] [extra-includes...]


phpsh starts and controls a command line PHP interpreter. You can load arbitrary PHP files and pass expressions to the interpreter to evaluate. Beginning with version 1.2 phpsh also supports PHP debugging with xdebug.

Type php commands and they will be evaluted each time you hit enter. Ex:

php> $msg = "hello world"

Put = at the beginning of a line as syntactic sugar for return. Ex:

php> = 2 + 2

phpsh will print any returned value (in yellow) and also assign the last returned value to the variable $_. Anything printed to stdout shows up blue, and anything sent to stderr shows up red.

You can enter multiline input, such as a multiline if statement. phpsh will accept further lines until you complete a full statement, or it will error if your partial statement has no syntactic completion. You may also use ^C to cancel a partial statement.

You can use tab to autocomplete function names, global variable names, constants, classes, and interfaces. If you are using ctags, then you can hit tab again after you’ve entered the name of a function, and it will show you the signature for that function. phpsh also supports all the normal readline features, like ctrl-e, ctrl-a, and history (up, down arrows).

Note that stdout and stderr from the underlying php process are line-buffered; so php> for ($i = 0; $i < 3; $i++) {echo "."; sleep(1);} will print the three dots all at once after three seconds. (echo ".\n" would print one a second.)


-c, --codebase-mode
  Use "-c none" to load no codebase. See /usr/local/etc/phpsh/phpshrc.php for other codebase modes.
-t, --test-file
  Run a saved-phpsh-session unit test file. See test/ in the phpsh distribution for examples.
-v, --verbose
  Be more verbose, do not defer warnings about missing extensions.
-A, --no-autocomplete
  Disable identifier autocomplete.
-C, --no-color
  Do not try to change color for different types of output.
-M, --no-multiline
  Disable support for multiline input.
-T, --no-ctags
  Do not run ctags to index the code base.
-X, --no-xdebug
  Do not load xdebug, disable PHP debugging support.


h Display a help text.
r [files...]
  Reload (e.g. after a code change). args to r append to add includes, like: php> r ../lib/username.php (use absolute paths or relative paths from where you start phpsh)
R [files...]
  Like r, but change includes instead of appending.
d identifier
  Get documentation for a function or other identifier. ex: php> d my_function
D identifier
  Like d, but gives more extensive documentation for builtins.
v identifier
  Open vim read-only where a function or other identifer is defined. ex: php> v some_function
V identifier
  Open vim (not read-only) and reload (r) upon return to phpsh.
e identifier
  Open emacs where a function or other identifer is defined. ex: php> e some_function
x [=]function([args])
  Execute function() with args under debugger (xdebug). Currently geben for emacs is the only debug client supported. This command requires X11.
c [files...]
  Append new includes without restarting; display includes.
C [files...]
  Change includes without restarting; display includes.
! Execute a shell command. ex: php> ! pwd
q Quit (ctrl-D also quits)



Beginning with version 1.2 phpsh supports interactive PHP debugging via Xdebug ( If you want to debug PHP code from phpsh, you will need compiled for your PHP version and build type (debug or nodebug) and installed in the PHP extensions directory or in a location given by Xdebug configuration variable (see below). The default configuration currently requires X Windows and debugclient, a simple Xdebug protocol client distributed with xdebug. See XdebugClientPath configuration setting below for details.

    Starting a debugger

The x command starts debugging of the specified function call in the current phpsh execution environment. Unless configured otherwise, phpsh will try to start emacs and load geben PHP debugging frontend Emacs appearance can be customized through configuration settings described below.

    Debugging session

The execution stops at the first line of function, geben and xdebug module in PHP take over control over the function execution. All basic interactive debugging actions, such as stepping through lines, setting breakpoints, entering functions, examining variables, are supported. Debugging session terminates as soon as the function returns control to phpsh. The default behavior at that point is to minimize Emacs without closing it, this can be customized through configuration settings in [Emacs] section of the phpsh config file. All breakpoints set during debugging session are saved by geben and will be set automatically when the next debugging session starts. If Emacs is terminated by user, all breakpoints set so far are lost. When phpsh exits it kills its Emacs process if one is running.

    Other debug clients

If ClientPort is set, phpsh will expect an external xdebug client to listen on that port and will try to connect to the client. If connection is successful, phpsh will not attempt to start emacs, but will be using the client as the debugging frontend. This can be used, for example, to run debugging from phpsh without X Windows by starting emacs with geben manually in another terminal.


Config file support was added in phpsh-1.2. When phpsh starts up it tries to read its configuration from /usr/local/etc/phpsh/config, then from $HOME/.phpsh/config. If either file is not present or not readable, it is ignored. Entries in the per-user config file $HOME/.phpsh/config override the corresponding entries in the host-wide config file /usr/local/etc/phpsh/config.

The config file consists of sections containing key:value pairs. Lines starting with # are ignored. All settings are optional and have reasonable default values. Section names are in brackets. A section name must be present in the config file if any settings in that section are present. The following configuration settings are supported:


  Location of, a debugging extension for the Zend engine. If set to "yes" (without quoutes) phpsh will look for in the extensions directory reported by php-config. Set to "no" to disable loading xdebug into php VM. This will disable all debugging support. Default is "yes".
  Command to run to start an xdebug client. Default is "emacs", which starts emacs under X and loads Geben, an xdebug frontend written in Emacs lisp.
  Number of seconds to wait for debug client to start up and begin listening for xdebug connections. Default is 60. If set to "none", 0 or a negative number phpsh will wait until killed.
  Name of host on which debug client is running. You should not set this unless you are running your own debug client. Default is localhost.
  Port on which the debug client listens for xdebug connections. By default ProxyPort+1 is used.
  The port on which the proxy should listen for xdebug connections. By default the proxy will use the lowest available even-numbered port between 9002 and 9998. If DebugClient is also unset or set to "emacs", the proxy will configure emacs PHP debug client to listen on the next port up.
X11 If set to "yes", phpsh looks at the value of DISPLAY environment variable to determine how it should start debug client. If DISPLAY is set, debug client is started in a separate X window, otherwise it is started without X support in the terminal where phpsh is running. If this option is set to "no", debug client will always be started in terminal. If set to "require", debug client will not be started unless DISPLAY is set. Default is "yes".
Help This option works only if DebugClient is unset or set to "emacs". If set to "yes", when emacs starts it will show a help screen for its PHP debugging mode. If set to "no", a help file will be loaded into an Emacs buffer but will not be displayed on startup. Default is "no".
  If "yes", debug proxy will log DBGp (xdebug protocol) messages to file dbgp.log in the current directory. Defaul is "no".


The following options control the appearance of Emacs debug client. They take effect only if DebugClient option above is set to "emacs" or left unset.
  Foreground color of default typeface. Default is black.
  Background color of default typeface when a debugging session is in progress. Default is white.
  Background color of default typeface when Emacs window is inactive (no debugging in progress). Default is grey75.
  If set to "yes", minimize (iconify) Emacs window upon completion of debugging session. Restore (deiconify) window when next session begins. Default is "yes". On some X servers Emacs fails to deiconify correctly. If that’s the case for you, set this to "no".
  Font family to use for default Emacs face. If not set, Emacs defaults are used.
  Font size in points for default Emacs face. If unset, Emacs defaults are used.
  Emacs debug client, geben, uses a simple command-line debug client, aptly called debugclient, a part of xdebug package. This setting controls the location that Emacs should use to start debugclient. Default is just to pass "debugclient" to shell.


Written by Charles Chiever and Dan Corson

PHP debugging and config file support written by Mark Marchukov

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