Coding standards

As of GLPI 10, we rely on PSR-12 for coding standards.

Call static methods

Function location

How to call

class itself


parent class


another class


Static or Non static?

Some methods in the source code as declared as static; some are not.

For sure, you cannot make static calls on a non static method. In order to call such a method, you will have to get an object instance, and then call the method on it:


$object = new MyObject();

It may be different calling static classes. In that case; you can either:

  • call statically the method from the object; like MyObject::staticMethod(),

  • call statically the method from an object instance; like $object::staticMethod(),

  • call non statically the method from an object instance; like $object->staticMethod().

  • use late static building; like static::staticMethod().

When you do not have any object instance yet; the first solution is probably the best one. No need to instantiate an object to just call a static method from it.

On the other hand; if you already have an object instance; you should better use any of the solution but the late static binding. That way; you will save performances since this way to go do have a cost.


To be more visible, don’t put inline block comments into /* */ but comment each line with //. Put docblocks comments into /** */.

Each function or method must be documented, as well as all its parameters (see Variables types below), and its return.

For each method or function documentation, you’ll need at least to have a description, the version it was introduced, the parameters list, the return type; each blocks separated with a blank line. As an example, for a void function:

 * Describe what the method does. Be concise :)
 * You may want to add some more words about what the function
 * does, if needed. This is optional, but you can be more
 * descriptive here:
 * - it does something
 * - and also something else
 * - but it doesn't make coffee, unfortunately.
 * @since 9.2
 * @param string  $param       A parameter, for something
 * @param boolean $other_param Another parameter
 * @return void
function myMethod($param, $other_param) {

Some other information way be added; if the function requires it.

Refer to the PHPDocumentor website to get more information on documentation.

Please follow the order defined below:

  1. Description,

  2. Long description, if any,

  3. @deprecated.

  4. @since,

  5. @var,

  6. @param,

  7. @return,

  8. @see,

  9. @throw,

  10. @todo,

Parameters documentation

Each parameter must be documented in its own line, beginning with the @param tag, followed by the Variables types, followed by the param name ($param), and finally with the description itself. If your parameter can be of different types, you can list them separated with a | or you can use the mixed type; it’s up to you!

All parameters names and description must be aligned vertically on the longest (plu one character); see the above example.

Override method: @inheritDoc? @see? docblock? no docblock?

There are many question regarding the way to document a child method in a child class.

Many editors use the {@inheritDoc} tag without anything else. This is wrong. This inline tag is confusing for many users; for more details, see the PHPDocumentor documentation about it. This tag usage is not forbidden, but make sure to use it properly, or just avoid it. An usage example:


abstract class MyClass {
    * This is the documentation block for the current method.
    * It does something.
    * @param string $sthing Something to send to the method
    * @return string
   abstract public function myMethod($sthing);

class MyChildClass extends MyClass {
    * {@inheritDoc} Something is done differently for a reason.
    * @param string $sthing Something to send to the method
    * @return string
   public function myMethod($sthing) {

Something we can see quite often is just the usage of the @see tag to make reference to the parent method. This is wrong. The @see tag is designed to reference another method that would help to understand this one; not to make a reference to its parent (you can also take a look at PHPDocumentor documentation about it). While generating, parent class and methods are automatically discovered; a link to the parent will be automatically added. An usage example:

 * Adds something
 * @param string $type  Type of thing
 * @param string $value The value
 * @return boolean
public function add($type, $value) {
   // [...]

 * Adds myType entry
 * @param string $value The value
 * @return boolean
 * @see add()
public function addMyType($value) {
   return $this->addType('myType', $value);

Finally, should I add a docblock, or nothing?

PHPDocumentor and various tools will just use parent docblock verbatim if nothing is specified on child methods. So, if the child method acts just as its parent (extending an abstract class, or some super class like CommonGLPI or CommonDBTM); you may just omit the docblock entirely. The alternative is to copy paste parent docblock entirely; but that way, it would be required to change all children docblocks when parent if changed.

Variables types

Variables types for use in DocBlocks for Doxygen:




A variable with undefined (or multiple) type


Integer type variable (whole number)


Float type (point number)


Logical type (true or false)


String type (any value in "" or ' ')


Array type


Object type


Resource type (as returned from mysql_connect function)

In addition to the above, you may use any valid types from PHPStan.

You may also use a specific class for the type as a replacement for object when you know the exact type of data being used. This is recommended if you use typehints. Since PHP 7.1, you can have nullable typehints for method parameters and return types. You should prepend a ? to the above types if they are nullable.

Inserting comment in source code for doxygen. Result : full doc for variables, functions, classes…

Quotes / double quotes

  • You must use single quotes for indexes, constants declaration, translations, …

  • Use double quote in translated strings

  • When you have to use tabulation character (\t), carriage return (\n) and so on, you should use double quotes.

  • For performances reasons since PHP7, you may avoid strings concatenation.


//for that one, you should use double, but this is at your option...
$a = "foo";

//use double quotes here, for $foo to be interpreted
//   => with double quotes, $a will be "Hello bar" if $foo = 'bar'
//   => with single quotes, $a will be "Hello $foo"
$a = "Hello $foo";

//use single quotes for array keys
$tab = [
   'lastname'  => 'john',
   'firstname' => 'doe'

//Do not use concatenation to optimize PHP7
//note that you cannot use functions call in {}
$a = "Hello {$tab['firstname']}";

//single quote translations
$str = __('My string to translate');

//Double quote for special characters
$html = "<p>One paragraph</p>\n<p>Another one</p>";

//single quote cases
switch ($a) {
   case 'foo' : //use single quote here
   case 'bar' :

Checking standards

In order to check standards are respected, we provide a default configuration for PHP CodeSniffer rules. From the GLPI directory, just run:

phpcs .

If the above command does not provide any output, then, all is OK :)

An example error output would looks like:

phpcs .

FILE: /var/www/webapps/glpi/tests/HtmlTest.php
 40 | ERROR | [x] Line indented incorrectly; expected 4 spaces, found
    |       |     3
 59 | ERROR | [x] Line indented incorrectly; expected 4 spaces, found
    |       |     3
 64 | ERROR | [x] Line indented incorrectly; expected 4 spaces, found
    |       |     3

To automatically fix most of the issues, use phpcbf, it will per default rely on default configuration:

phpcbf .

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