Check a PHP File for Syntax Errors from the Command Line CodeUnit 23 JAN 2010

I sometimes find myself having to create PHP scripts from scratch using Nano on a command line only interface on a Ubuntu Linux server. Obviously this kind of sucks if you are used to using a proper error-checking and code hinting full IDE like Aptana to help speed up your scripting, but hey, you can’t always have things your way.

Anyway, the point of this quickfire post is to remind you of PHP’s built in syntax checker that comes bundled in with the main PHP executable as a switch…

…namely the -l (lowercase ‘L’) switch.

Simply point the php -l command at the PHP file you wish to check for syntax errors (via a command prompt if you’re using Windows or a terminal if you’re partaking in the Linux experience) and the application will spit out a result for you, hopefully the much appreciated “No syntax errors detected in scriptname” success string.

A nice and simple way of ensuring that your PHP script at least passes all the compiler tests in terms of syntax and will actually run when executed. :)

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About Craig Lotter

Software developer, husband and dad to two little girls. Writer behind An Exploring South African. I don't have time for myself any more.

  • Hierony Manurung

    Hi Craig,
    How if i want to check the syntax of all .php file in my project (also, the subdirectories included).


    • Hi Hierony. You’d most likely want to write a bash script to loop through the directories and files, piping the output into a text file. That said, I’m sure there must be a lot of tools out there that does automate this. Perhaps even something as extreme as a Jenkins build environment?