PHP Tools for Visual Studio (Late October 2021)

Author by Jakub Misek
8 minutes
PHP Tools for Visual Studio (Late October 2021)

Introducing PHP Tools for Visual Studio, version 1.57! This update brings the new Object ID support in debugger, Project Events, improvements to Remote Explorer and corresponding remote profiles, and improves overall stability and existing features.


This update improves the existing debugger functionality and adds new features. Neat improvements are:

  • the ability to add static properties to Watch window,
  • distinguish static properties in Watch Window with a new icon,
  • to set protected and private properties values,
  • and tracking objects with Make Object ID below.

Make Object ID

The new debugger feature allows marking an object from Watch Window or Quick Watch using Make Object ID context menu command. The marked object can be tracked during the whole request execution.

make object id

Marking an object creates a weak reference which can be always revealed in Locals window or in Watch window using $1 alias (or $2, $3, ... correspondingly). Marked objects are also marked in quick watches by its {$-index} alias. This works even within arrays and inside other objects.

watch object id

Complex Expressions

Newly, the Watch and the Immediate Window allow expanding complex expressions, including results of function calls, magic properties, and complex combinations with operators.

expand complex expressions

Also, array values as a result of such complex expressions can be now expanded and listed through all its entries. It is not limited to 32 entries anymore.


IntelliSense tool-tips and error tool-tips are now shown even during debugging. Previously, tool-tips were only displayed when Visual Studio was in design mode (not debug mode).

Project Events

An important part of the project workflow is automatization. With the new update, there are customizable Project Events allowing to trigger commands upon certain events. Open the Project Events in Project Properties:

project events

Creating or editing events looks like the following dialog.

project event UI

Initially, there are the following triggers:

  • Project Opened gets triggered when a project is opened in Visual Studio.
  • Before Publish is called before publish (i.e. upload pending changes) gets started.
  • After Publish gets called after the publish.
  • After Clean is triggered by Project / Clean command.
  • Files Changed happens when a file is modified both inside or outside Visual Studio.
  • File Saved is caused by saving a file inside Visual Studio.

And the following actions to choose from:

  • Publish uploads pending changes using a selected remote profile. In the case of File Saved only that file is uploaded.
  • Custom Command allows entering custom cmd commands. The commands have php.exe (chosen on Application project property page) in its %PATH% environmental variable.

Remote Explorer

The Publish and the whole Remote Explorer are more configurable now. Open the Remote Explorer and follow the Manage button.

It is now possible to specify wildcard file mask to simply ignore files or folders from being tracked by the Remote Explorer. Folders or files matching the Ignored wildcards won't be shown and won't be uploaded to the remote servers.

Secondly, there is an option to choose Publish Scope; whether to track the whole project directory (All Files in Project Folder) or to track files included in the project, i.e. the files shown in the project in Solution Explorer (Files Included in Project).

new remote profile settings

Finally, the Remote Explorer respects the legacy setting - Publishable - which could be set in project items properties. File items annotated with this project property are ignored by the Remote Explorer. This feature requires you to set the Publish Scope to Files Included in Project.

Automatic Publish

We have made improvements when configuring automatic uploads to the remote server. It is more configurable, using the new Project Events, and the option is more accessible.

automatic publish

Open the Remote Explorer and change the Auto setting. Clicking Manage Project Events opens all the project events, where additional settings can be changed.

Visual Studio 2022

Phar Browser with Icons

Expanding .phar files in Solution Explorer reveals corresponding file icons as well now. See the screenshot below:

expanded phar file


  • Rename refactoring correctly replaces class names within extends and implements.
  • Fixed opening project properties on VS 2022.
  • Fixed Remote Explorer to correctly create directories on SFTP server.
  • Fixed Remote Explorer to be working with Open Folder feature.
  • Fixed Remote Explorer UI glitches.
  • Adds more logging during the remote publish process.
  • Fixes some errors locations, e.g. the warning about overflowing an integer number into a floating-point number. integer overflow warning

Please follow the Release Notes for the details.