Consistency is key

Clean code with consistent formatting is easier to read. Writing code in a consistent way is hard. That is why I'm a big fan of tools that automate this process.

PHP CodeSniffer

PHP_CodeSniffer provides an easy way to define a coding standard and report any violations. The best part is that it can solve many violations automatically.

In my experience, it is easiest to store your configuration in a ruleset xml file.

In this configuration file, you define a custom standard. You can start with a preconfigured standard, like PSR-12. Then you deviate from the standard by excluding or including specific rules.

Slevomat Coding Standard

Slevomat Coding Standard is not a tool in itself, but a big set of rules you can apply with PHP CodeSniffer.

You can, for example, automatically sort use statements. Or require trailing commas in multiline arrays.

Have a look at my CodeSniffer configuration file if you want some inspiration.


If you are looking for a tool to automatically refactor code, try out rectorphp/rector.

It is not strictly a code standard tool, but it can be used in much the same way. If have used it to apply new PHP 8.0 features to an entire project:

  • promoted properties in all constructors;
  • using ::class on objects instead of get_class();
  • using the new str_starts_with() function.


Writing code according to your (team's) standard can be hard. That is why I always automate these tasks.

To make life just a little easier I always have a custom composer script. With composer fix-style all code is scanned and fixed where possible.

On every PR I have a script that runs composer check-style that errors when wrongly formatted code is committed.

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