PHP Code Generator

  • Need to generate PHP code for classes, functions, PHP files, etc.?
  • Supports all the latest PHP features like enums, attributes, etc.
  • Allows you to easily modify existing classes
  • PSR-12 / PER coding style compliant output
  • Highly mature, stable, and widely used library


Download and install the package using Composer:

composer require nette/php-generator

For PHP compatibility, see the table.


Let's start with a straightforward example of generating class using ClassType:

$class = new Nette\PhpGenerator\ClassType('Demo');

	->addComment("Description of class.\nSecond line\n")
	->addComment('@property-read Nette\Forms\Form $form');

// to generate PHP code simply cast to string or use echo:
echo $class;

It will render this result:

 * Description of class.
 * Second line
 * @property-read Nette\Forms\Form $form
final class Demo extends ParentClass implements Countable

We can also use a printer to generate the code, which, unlike echo $class, we will be able to further configure:

$printer = new Nette\PhpGenerator\Printer;
echo $printer->printClass($class);

We can add constants (class Constant) and properties (class Property):

$class->addConstant('ID', 123)
	->setProtected() // constant visiblity

$class->addProperty('items', [1, 2, 3])
	->setPrivate() // or setVisibility('private')
	->addComment('@var int[]');

	->setInitialized(); // prints '= null'

It generates:

final protected const int ID = 123;

/** @var int[] */
private static $items = [1, 2, 3];

public ?array $list = null;

And we can add methods:

$method = $class->addMethod('count')
	->addComment('Count it.')
	->setReturnType('?int') // method return type
	->setBody('return count($items ?: $this->items);');

$method->addParameter('items', []) // $items = []
	->setReference()           // &$items = []
	->setType('array');        // array &$items = []

It results in:

 * Count it.
final protected function count(array &$items = []): ?int
	return count($items ?: $this->items);

Promoted parameters introduced by PHP 8.0 can be passed to the constructor:

$method = $class->addMethod('__construct');
$method->addPromotedParameter('args', [])

It results in:

public function __construct(
	public $name,
	private $args = [],
) {

Readonly properties and classes can be marked via setReadOnly().

If the added property, constant, method or parameter already exist, it throws exception.

Members can be removed using removeProperty(), removeConstant(), removeMethod() or removeParameter().

You can also add existing Method, Property or Constant objects to the class:

$method = new Nette\PhpGenerator\Method('getHandle');
$property = new Nette\PhpGenerator\Property('handle');
$const = new Nette\PhpGenerator\Constant('ROLE');

$class = (new Nette\PhpGenerator\ClassType('Demo'))

You can clone existing methods, properties and constants with a different name using cloneWithName():

$methodCount = $class->getMethod('count');
$methodRecount = $methodCount->cloneWithName('recount');

Interface or Trait

You can create interfaces and traits (classes InterfaceType and TraitType):

$interface = new Nette\PhpGenerator\InterfaceType('MyInterface');
$trait = new Nette\PhpGenerator\TraitType('MyTrait');

Using traits:

$class = new Nette\PhpGenerator\ClassType('Demo');
	->addResolution('sayHello as protected')
	->addComment('@use MyTrait<Foo>');
echo $class;


class Demo
	use SmartObject;
	/** @use MyTrait<Foo> */
	use MyTrait {
		sayHello as protected;


You can easily create the enums that PHP 8.1 brings (class EnumType):

$enum = new Nette\PhpGenerator\EnumType('Suit');

echo $enum;


enum Suit
	case Clubs;
	case Diamonds;
	case Hearts;
	case Spades;

You can also define scalar equivalents for cases to create a backed enum:

$enum->addCase('Clubs', '♣');
$enum->addCase('Diamonds', '♦');

It is possible to add a comment or attributes to each case using addComment() or addAttribute().

Anonymous Class

Give null as the name and you have an anonymous class:

$class = new Nette\PhpGenerator\ClassType(null);

echo '$obj = new class ($val) ' . $class . ';';


$obj = new class ($val) {

	public function __construct($foo)

Global Function

Code of functions will generate class GlobalFunction:

$function = new Nette\PhpGenerator\GlobalFunction('foo');
$function->setBody('return $a + $b;');
echo $function;

// or use PsrPrinter for output conforming to PSR-2 / PSR-12 / PER
// echo (new Nette\PhpGenerator\PsrPrinter)->printFunction($function);


function foo($a, $b)
	return $a + $b;


Code of closures will generate class Closure:

$closure = new Nette\PhpGenerator\Closure;
$closure->setBody('return $a + $b;');
echo $closure;

// or use PsrPrinter for output conforming to PSR-2 / PSR-12 / PER
// echo (new Nette\PhpGenerator\PsrPrinter)->printClosure($closure);


function ($a, $b) use (&$c) {
	return $a + $b;

Arrow Function

You can also print closure as arrow function using printer:

$closure = new Nette\PhpGenerator\Closure;
$closure->setBody('$a + $b');

echo (new Nette\PhpGenerator\Printer)->printArrowFunction($closure);


fn($a, $b) => $a + $b

Method and Function Signature

Methods are represented by the class Method. You can set visibility, return value, add comments, attributes etc:

$method = $class->addMethod('count')
	->addComment('Count it.')

Each parameter is represented by a class Parameter. Again, you can set every conceivable property:

$method->addParameter('items', []) // $items = []
	->setReference() // &$items = []
	->setType('array'); // array &$items = []

// function count(&$items = [])

To define the so-called variadics parameters (or also the splat, spread, ellipsis, unpacking or three dots operator), use setVariadics():

$method = $class->addMethod('count');


function count(...$items)

Method and Function Body

The body can be passed to the setBody() method at once or sequentially (line by line) by repeatedly calling addBody():

$function = new Nette\PhpGenerator\GlobalFunction('foo');
$function->addBody('$a = rand(10, 20);');
$function->addBody('return $a;');
echo $function;


function foo()
	$a = rand(10, 20);
	return $a;

You can use special placeholders for handy way to inject variables.

Simple placeholders ?

$str = 'any string';
$num = 3;
$function = new Nette\PhpGenerator\GlobalFunction('foo');
$function->addBody('return substr(?, ?);', [$str, $num]);
echo $function;


function foo()
	return substr('any string', 3);

Variadic placeholder ...?

$items = [1, 2, 3];
$function = new Nette\PhpGenerator\GlobalFunction('foo');
$function->setBody('myfunc(...?);', [$items]);
echo $function;


function foo()
	myfunc(1, 2, 3);

You can also use PHP 8 named parameters using placeholder ...?:

$items = ['foo' => 1, 'bar' => true];
$function->setBody('myfunc(...?:);', [$items]);

// myfunc(foo: 1, bar: true);

Escape placeholder using slash \?

$num = 3;
$function = new Nette\PhpGenerator\GlobalFunction('foo');
$function->addBody('return $a \? 10 : ?;', [$num]);
echo $function;


function foo($a)
	return $a ? 10 : 3;

Printers and PSR Compliance

The Printer class is used to generate PHP code:

$class = new Nette\PhpGenerator\ClassType('Demo');
// ...

$printer = new Nette\PhpGenerator\Printer;
echo $printer->printClass($class); // same as: echo $class

It can generate code for all other elements, offering methods such as printFunction(), printNamespace(), etc.

Additionally, the PsrPrinter class is available, whose output is in compliance with the PSR-2 / PSR-12 / PER coding style:

$printer = new Nette\PhpGenerator\PsrPrinter;
echo $printer->printClass($class);

Need to fine-tune behavior to your needs? Create your own printer by inheriting from the Printer class. You can reconfigure these variables:

class MyPrinter extends Nette\PhpGenerator\Printer
	// length of the line after which the line will break
	public int $wrapLength = 120;
	// indentation character, can be replaced with a sequence of spaces
	public string $indentation = "\t";
	// number of blank lines between properties
	public int $linesBetweenProperties = 0;
	// number of blank lines between methods
	public int $linesBetweenMethods = 2;
	// number of blank lines between groups of use statements for classes, functions, and constants
	public int $linesBetweenUseTypes = 0;
	// position of the opening brace for functions and methods
	public bool $bracesOnNextLine = true;
	// place one parameter in one line, even if it has an attribute or is promoted
	public bool $singleParameterOnOneLine = false;
	// separator between the right parenthesis and return type of functions and methods
	public string $returnTypeColon = ': ';

How and why exactly does the standard Printer and PsrPrinter differ? Why isn't there just one printer, the PsrPrinter, in the package?

The standard Printer formats the code as we do it in all of Nette. Since Nette was created much earlier than PSR, and also because PSR for many years did not deliver standards in time, but sometimes even with several years of delay from the introduction of a new feature in PHP, this resulted in a few minor differences in the coding standard. The bigger difference is just the use of tabs instead of spaces. We know that by using tabs in our projects we allow for width adjustment, which is essential for people with visual impairments. An example of a minor difference is the placement of the curly brace on a separate line for functions and methods and always. We see the PSR recommendation as illogical and leading to a decrease in code clarity.


Each type or union/intersection type can be passed as a string, you can also use predefined constants for native types:

use Nette\PhpGenerator\Type;

$member->setType('array'); // or Type::Array;
$member->setType('array|string'); // or Type::union('array', 'string')
$member->setType('Foo&Bar'); // or Type::intersection(Foo::class, Bar::class)
$member->setType(null); // removes type

The same applies to the method setReturnType().


With Literal you can pass arbitrary PHP code to, for example, default property or parameter values etc:

use Nette\PhpGenerator\Literal;

$class = new Nette\PhpGenerator\ClassType('Demo');

$class->addProperty('foo', new Literal('Iterator::SELF_FIRST'));

	->addParameter('id', new Literal('1 + 2'));

echo $class;


class Demo
	public $foo = Iterator::SELF_FIRST;

	public function bar($id = 1 + 2)

You can also pass parameters to Literal and have it formatted into valid PHP code using special placeholders:

new Literal('substr(?, ?)', [$a, $b]);
// generates, for example: substr('hello', 5);

The literal representing the creation of a new object is easily generated by the new method:

Literal::new(Demo::class, [$a, 'foo' => $b]);
// generates, for example: new Demo(10, foo: 20)


You can add PHP 8 attributes to all classes, methods, properties, constants, enum cases, functions, closures and parameters. Literals can also be used as parameter values.

$class = new Nette\PhpGenerator\ClassType('Demo');
$class->addAttribute('Table', [
	'name' => 'user',
	'constraints' => [
		Literal::new('UniqueConstraint', ['name' => 'ean', 'columns' => ['ean']]),


$method = $class->addMethod('count')
	->addAttribute('Foo\Cached', ['mode' => true]);


echo $class;


#[Table(name: 'user', constraints: [new UniqueConstraint(name: 'ean', columns: ['ean'])])]
class Demo
	public $list;

	#[Foo\Cached(mode: true)]
	public function count(
	) {


Classes, traits, interfaces and enums (hereinafter classes) can be grouped into namespaces (PhpNamespace):

$namespace = new Nette\PhpGenerator\PhpNamespace('Foo');

// create new classes in the namespace
$class = $namespace->addClass('Task');
$interface = $namespace->addInterface('Countable');
$trait = $namespace->addTrait('NameAware');

// or insert an existing class into the namespace
$class = new Nette\PhpGenerator\ClassType('Task');

If the class already exists, it throws exception.

You can define use-statements:

// use Http\Request;
// use Http\Request as HttpReq;
$namespace->addUse(Http\Request::class, 'HttpReq');
// use function iter\range;

To simplify a fully qualified class, function or constant name according to the defined aliases, use the simplifyName method:

echo $namespace->simplifyName('Foo\Bar'); // 'Bar', because 'Foo' is current namespace
echo $namespace->simplifyName('iter\range', $namespace::NameFunction); // 'range', because of the defined use-statement

Conversely, you can convert a simplified class, function or constant name to a fully qualified one using the resolveName method:

echo $namespace->resolveName('Bar'); // 'Foo\Bar'
echo $namespace->resolveName('range', $namespace::NameFunction); // 'iter\range'

Class Names Resolving

When the class is part of the namespace, it is rendered slightly differently: all types (ie. type hints, return types, parent class name, implemented interfaces, used traits and attributes) are automatically resolved (unless you turn it off, see below). It means that you have to use full class names in definitions and they will be replaced with aliases (according to the use-statements) or fully qualified names in the resulting code:

$namespace = new Nette\PhpGenerator\PhpNamespace('Foo');

$class = $namespace->addClass('Demo');
$class->addImplement('Foo\A') // it will simplify to A
	->addTrait('Bar\AliasedClass'); // it will simplify to AliasedClass

$method = $class->addMethod('method');
$method->addComment('@return ' . $namespace->simplifyType('Foo\D')); // in comments simplify manually
	->setType('Bar\OtherClass'); // it will resolve to \Bar\OtherClass

echo $namespace;

// or use PsrPrinter for output conforming to PSR-2 / PSR-12 / PER
// echo (new Nette\PhpGenerator\PsrPrinter)->printNamespace($namespace);


namespace Foo;

use Bar\AliasedClass;

class Demo implements A
	use AliasedClass;

	 * @return D
	public function method(\Bar\OtherClass $arg)

Auto-resolving can be turned off this way:

$printer = new Nette\PhpGenerator\Printer; // or PsrPrinter
echo $printer->printNamespace($namespace);

PHP Files

Classes, functions and namespaces can be grouped into PHP files represented by the class PhpFile:

$file = new Nette\PhpGenerator\PhpFile;
$file->addComment('This file is auto-generated.');
$file->setStrictTypes(); // adds declare(strict_types=1)

$class = $file->addClass('Foo\A');
$function = $file->addFunction('Foo\foo');

// or
// $namespace = $file->addNamespace('Foo');
// $class = $namespace->addClass('A');
// $function = $namespace->addFunction('foo');

echo $file;

// or use PsrPrinter for output conforming to PSR-2 / PSR-12 / PER
// echo (new Nette\PhpGenerator\PsrPrinter)->printFile($file);



 * This file is auto-generated.


namespace Foo;

class A

function foo()

Generating According to Existing Ones

In addition to being able to model classes and functions using the API described above, you can also have them automatically generated using existing ones:

// creates a class identical to the PDO class
$class = Nette\PhpGenerator\ClassType::from(PDO::class);

// creates a function identical to trim()
$function = Nette\PhpGenerator\GlobalFunction::from('trim');

// creates a closure as specified
$closure = Nette\PhpGenerator\Closure::from(
	function (stdClass $a, $b = null) {},

Function and method bodies are empty by default. If you want to load them as well, use this way (it requires nikic/php-parser to be installed):

$class = Nette\PhpGenerator\ClassType::from(Foo::class, withBodies: true);

$function = Nette\PhpGenerator\GlobalFunction::from('foo', withBody: true);

Loading from PHP File

You can also load functions, classes, interfaces and enums directly from a string of PHP code. For example, we create ClassType object this way:

$class = Nette\PhpGenerator\ClassType::fromCode(<<<XX

	class Demo
		public $foo;

When loading classes from PHP code, single line comments outside of method bodies are ignored (e.g. for properties, etc.) because this library does not have an API to work with them.

You can also load the entire PHP file directly, which can contain any number of classes, functions or even multiple namespaces:

$file = Nette\PhpGenerator\PhpFile::fromCode(file_get_contents('classes.php'));

The initial file comment and the strict_types declaration are also loaded. On the other hand, all other global code is ignored.

This requires nikic/php-parser to be installed.

If you need to manipulate global code in files or individual statements in method bodies, it is better to use the nikic/php-parser library directly.

Variables Dumper

The Dumper returns a parsable PHP string representation of a variable. Provides better and clearer output that native function var_export().

$dumper = new Nette\PhpGenerator\Dumper;

$var = ['a', 'b', 123];

echo $dumper->dump($var); // prints ['a', 'b', 123]

Compatibility Table

PhpGenerator 4.0 and 4.1 are compatible with PHP 8.0 to 8.3

version: 4.0 3.x 2.x