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Coding standards

#1 Rules Or Die

  • Readability is more important than cleverness or brevity.
  • Submit a patch against the current development version in the master branch, not the latest official package available. Also check for potential branches in which your feature or bugfix may be already taken care of.

Mandatory naming conventions

We use lowercase letters and underscores in names (also known as snake case). Examples:

  • function yourls_check_php_version() {...}
  • $valid_user = ...

We don't use camelCase like fetchSqlTableResult (because. Sorry, PSR2.)

Use unambiguous and self-documenting names instead of generic and meaningless names (eg function2() or global $a)

In core patches, always prefix all your PHP functions with yourls_.

In plugins, prefix everything (functions, classes, global variables, HTML elements...) with a unique and personal prefix such as joe_myplugin_

Curly braces on same line as function name

We mostly put braces on the same line as the function or class declaration.


function yourls_do_something( $string, $var ) {


function yourls_do_something( $string, $var )

Mandatory 4 spaces indentation

Indentation should reflect logical structure of the code, and you must use 4 spaces.

There are never too many comments and we'd rather strip a few out before committing a patch than pull our hair trying to understand what's going on.

For simple explanations, use inline commenting. For larger explanation, don't hesitation to break in multiple lines using /** ... **/

Comments should not focus on what is happening (unless the code itself is not self explanatory enough) but on why we are doing this.

Your code must reflect logical structure and be easy on the eye

  • Use blocks of 4 spaces at the beginning of a line
  • Align as many things as possible where it improves readability
  • Vertically align begining of line blocks and end of blocks with opening and closing parenthesis (), brackets [ and braces {}

Put whitespace anywhere it will make your code breathe

// if, elseif, foreach, for and switch blocks
foreach( $array as $key => $value } { ...

// define a function
function do_stuff( $param1= 'foo', $param2 = 'bar' ) { ...

// call a function
do_stuff( '31337', other_func( 42 ) );

// whitespace around variable array items
$x = $foo['bar']; // string, no space = OK
$y = $foo[ $bar ]; // variable, need spaces

// vertically align things if it increases readability
$this_var = 'hello';
$this_other = 'world';
$omg_lol = 'ozh';

PHP tags

Always use full PHP tag.


<?php ... ?>


<? ... ?>
<?= $var ?>

It is also best to omit the final closing PHP tag of a PHP file

Turn debugging on

Always develop with error reporting on. In YOURLS, this means you should add this to your dev config.php:

define( 'YOURLS_DEBUG', true );

Don't hardcode a URL or path

Users may have their plugins in any directory, not just /user/plugins. They may have renamed your plugin directory. They may use https instead of http.

Don't hardcode any path or URL, there are functions for this, such as dirname(), yourls_plugin_url() or yourls_admin_url().

Don't hardcode echoed strings

If you need to output text, don't hardcode it in English, but use the Translation API. Bad: <?php echo "some message"; ?> Good: <?php yourls_e( "some message" ); ?>

Read languages guide and, more specifically, i18n for developers for more.