What's New - PHP Tools for Visual Studio (March 2023)

Author by Jakub Misek
11 minutes
What's New - PHP Tools for Visual Studio (March 2023)

We're happy to introduce updates to our PHP extension for Visual Studio! Version 1.72 introduces Inlay Hints, new Code Actions, improved code analysis, improved support for Doc Comments with extended syntax for Psalm and PHPStan type names and keywords, and more!

Inlay Hints

Sometimes it is not clear what function arguments are used for. We are adding so-called inlay hints that annotate function parameters, inferred function return type, by-ref semantics to arguments, and expressions type.

inlay hints in PHP

Enable or disable Inlay Hints in Tools/Options, under Text Editor/PHP/Inlay Hints,

Code Actions

Several quick refactorings through code actions have been added.

inlay hints in PHP

Assignments can be simplified with ??=, +=, *=, etc.

inlay hints in PHP

Transforming expressions to the new nullable object operator ?->.

inlay hints in PHP

Assignment using if conditions can be simplified.

inlay hints in PHP

And hard-to-read switch blocks can be simplified with the new match expression.

Better PHP 8.2 and PHP 8.1 Support

  • enum and BackedEnum and UnitEnum implicit interfaces
  • readonly and enum parsed properly when used a part of the qualified name
  • updated integrated manual with the latest symbols and translations
  • support for the new Random extension
  • support for the new PHP 8.2 core types

IntelliSense & Enums

The PHP 8.1 enum objects implicitly implement UnitEnum and BackedEnum interfaces. The BackedEnum<TValue> interface is annotated with a template type argument so it can be used in Doc Comments with the backed type for better type analysis. E.g.:

/** @param \BackedEnum<string> $e */
function foo($e) {
    return $e->value // -> string

enum MyEnum : string {
    case A;

foo( MyEnum::A );

Doc Comments

PHP Documentary Comments have been improved as well. In addition to more code diagnostics, the editor understands a wide range of Psalm and PHPStan type annotations. We've been working on recognizing commonly used type syntaxes in Doc Blocks; now supporting most of PHPStan, and other popular linting frameworks.

PHPDoc property validation

Image: Diagnostic showing missing variable name!

Types, including complex array shapes, generic types, template type annotations, unions, intersections, and callables; are all not properly colorized, occurrences highlighted, and code completion works (even inside < and > when specifying generic type arguments). Refactoring recognizes nested types within Doc Blocks, and the overall functionality of types within Doc Blocks is complete now.

Additionally, the triple dot syntax ... is now allowed within the @param tag, and the @param-out tag is recognized.

Improved Generics and PHPStan Compatibility

  • Supported the rest of @template, @implements-*, @extends-*, and other notations.
  • Generic types support overall improvements, more supported scenarios, working with doctrine/collections, etc.
  • Core PHP Traversable types have been annotated with generic template type-arguments.
  • foreach works well with generic collections, Traversable types with generic annotations.

PHPStan Array Shape, callable, list, and More

Since this release, the editor supports all the syntaxes for array shapes and callables. In addition, the type analysis handles specified PHPStan types accordingly.

PHPStan and Psalm array shapes specified in PHP Doc Comments are allowed, parsed, colorized, and used in code completion and type analysis.

Additionally, list and non-empty-list types are handled as well. Including their generic counterparts with < and > types specified.

All the callable syntaxes in PHP Doc Comments are supported now as well.

Array Shape Types Supported

  • doc comments allow using single-line structured array types in form of array{ key: type, }

More Generic Annotations

This update brings the standard types annotated with generic template types; this is especially helpful in Laravel and Symfony frameworks, where it provides type inferring for all the collections, iterables, Generator, DOMNodeList, etc.

This improves value inferred within foreach for all kinds of iterables.

New Diagnostics

  • Checks for use of readonly properties.

  • Assignment to non-existing properties is checked.

  • Check for use of an unknown attribute class.

  • Check that class used within the throw expression is throwable.

  • Fixes many false-positive warnings!

  • Newly, we report interface containing properties, which is not allowed in PHP.

  • Type analysis handles array type inferring, avoiding lots of falsy warnings.

  • Newly, we report invalid types in echo and concatenation expressions.

  • Type analysis for array_map() is more precise, if the "map" functions can be determined.

    array_map() type inferrence

  • It is now possible to use PHPDoc right above the constructor property promotion, with just @var annotation.

    property promotion @var

  • Improved analysis of define() with object.

Other Editor & IntelliSense Improvements

  • Facades from traits are recognized.
  • More precise type inference for some built-in functions.
  • More precise analysis of match arms.
  • Completion of properties after ?->.
  • Updated integrated PHP manual.
  • Go To Def prefers declaration in the same file. It avoids showing the unnecessary list of all functions.
  • Comment/uncomment block (/* ... */) instead of line comment (//).
  • Lots of minor UI fixes and code analysis improvements.
  • Tooltips show resolved generic types.
  • Stub-only Phar packages (.phar with only the main stub, no file entries) are supported.
  • Blade files do not report falsy warnings.
  • Generated doc comments (/**) respect Generator functions.
  • Memory use optimizations.
  • Overall type inferring improvements and fixes.
  • PHPStan doc comment type syntaxes supported and improved.
  • Avoids several falsy warnings.
  • integer, boolean, list types are handled properly in Doc Block.
  • Unused use analysis is fixed, so it handles type names specified in Doc Blocks.
  • Diagnostic and parameter completion for session_set_cookie_params() works for both possible definitions.
  • Missing Imagick constants added.
  • Improves type inferring for generic types and various edge cases.