Available in PHPStan 1.8.0

If you want to write custom rules that take a look at the whole codebase instead of a single AST node, you can take advantage of collectors.

PHPStan rules are executed in isolation across multiple processes so it’s not possible to share information from all the executions.

In order to write a specific category of rules like unused code detection, we need to use collectors.

Collectors are executed the same way as rules, in separate processes, and they collect various information about the codebase. All of the data collected by collectors is gathered into a single object CollectedDataNode, and traditional rules registered for this node type are executed in the main PHPStan process with all of the gathered data.

Collectors are seamlessly integrated with the result cache so even if you take advantage of them, PHPStan is going to be as fast as before.

The Collector interface #

Collectors are classes implementing the PHPStan\Collectors\Collector interface. The interface has two methods:

  • public function getNodeType(): string
  • public function processNode(PhpParser\Node $node, PHPStan\Analyser\Scope $scope): array

The getNodeType() method returns the AST node type. Every time the analyser encounters the node of this type, the second method processNode() is called with that AST node as the first argument, and the current Scope as the second argument. The goal of the processNode() method is to return data later used by custom rules.

Choosing the right AST node and implementing the collector logic is very similar to doing these things when implementing the PHPStan\Rules\Rule interface.

The class implementing the interface should use generics to inform PHPStan about the collected data type:

use PhpParser\Node;
use PHPStan\Analyser\Scope;
use PHPStan\Collectors\Collector;

 * @implements Collector<Node\Stmt\Trait_, array{string, int}>
class TraitDeclarationCollector implements Collector

	public function getNodeType(): string
		return Node\Stmt\Trait_::class;

	public function processNode(Node $node, Scope $scope)
		if ($node->namespacedName === null) {
			return null;

		// returns an array with trait name and line - array{string, int}
		return [$node->namespacedName->toString(), $node->getLine()];


The returned data should be arrays and scalar values so that it’s easy to send them “over the wire” between main and child processes, and also store them in the result cache.

Registering the collector in the configuration #

The custom collector needs to be registered in the configuration file:

		class: App\MyCollector
			- phpstan.collector

Using collected data in a custom rule #

Custom rules need to be registered for the PHPStan\Node\CollectedDataNode node. This object contains all the gathered data from all the collectors, but it’s only possible to get data from a single collector at a time:

public function getNodeType(): string
	return CollectedDataNode::class;

public function processNode(Node $node, Scope $scope): array
	$traitDeclarationData = $node->get(TraitDeclarationCollector::class);
	// $traitDeclarationData is array<string, list<array{string, int}>>
	foreach ($traitDeclarationData as $file => $declarations) {
		foreach ($declarations as [$name, $line]) {
			// ...
	// ...

Because these custom CollectedDataNode rules are executed out of context, the reported errors should specify the file and line to report:

$errors = [];
foreach ($declaredTraits as [$file, $name, $line]) {
	$errors[] = RuleErrorBuilder::message(sprintf(
		'Trait %s is used zero times and is not analysed.',

return $errors;

Testing collectors #

Collectors are always tested in addition to the rule that’s using them. Besides implementing the getRule(): Rule method that returns the tested rule instance, override the getCollectors() method to return the collectors needed for the rule to work:

protected function getRule(): Rule
	return new NotAnalysedTraitRule();

protected function getCollectors(): array
	return [
		new TraitDeclarationCollector(),
		new TraitUseCollector(),

public function testRule(): void
	$this->analyse([__DIR__ . '/data/not-analysed-trait.php'], [
			'Trait NotAnalysedTrait\Bar is used zero times and is not analysed.',

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