PHP Function Comments


Question

Just a quick question: I've seen that some PHP functions are commented at the top, using a format that is unknown to me:

/**
 *
 * Convert an object to an array
 *
 * @param    object  $object The object to convert
 * @return      array
 *
 */

My IDE gives me a dropdown selection for the things such as @param and @return, so it must be documented somewhere. I've tried searching google but it won't include the @ symbol in its search.

What is this format of commenting and where can I find some information on it?

1
102
8/21/2009 4:41:20 AM

Accepted Answer

That's phpDoc syntax.

Read more here: phpDocumentor

87
8/21/2009 4:10:56 AM

Functions:

/**
 * Does something interesting
 *
 * @param Place   $where  Where something interesting takes place
 * @param integer $repeat How many times something interesting should happen
 * 
 * @throws Some_Exception_Class If something interesting cannot happen
 * @author Monkey Coder <mcoder@facebook.com>
 * @return Status
 */ 

Classes:

/**
 * Short description for class
 *
 * Long description for class (if any)...
 *
 * @copyright  2006 Zend Technologies
 * @license    http://www.zend.com/license/3_0.txt   PHP License 3.0
 * @version    Release: @package_version@
 * @link       http://dev.zend.com/package/PackageName
 * @since      Class available since Release 1.2.0
 */ 

Sample File:

<?php

/**
 * Short description for file
 *
 * Long description for file (if any)...
 *
 * PHP version 5.6
 *
 * LICENSE: This source file is subject to version 3.01 of the PHP license
 * that is available through the world-wide-web at the following URI:
 * http://www.php.net/license/3_01.txt.  If you did not receive a copy of
 * the PHP License and are unable to obtain it through the web, please
 * send a note to license@php.net so we can mail you a copy immediately.
 *
 * @category   CategoryName
 * @package    PackageName
 * @author     Original Author <author@example.com>
 * @author     Another Author <another@example.com>
 * @copyright  1997-2005 The PHP Group
 * @license    http://www.php.net/license/3_01.txt  PHP License 3.01
 * @version    SVN: $Id$
 * @link       http://pear.php.net/package/PackageName
 * @see        NetOther, Net_Sample::Net_Sample()
 * @since      File available since Release 1.2.0
 * @deprecated File deprecated in Release 2.0.0
 */

/**
 * This is a "Docblock Comment," also known as a "docblock."  The class'
 * docblock, below, contains a complete description of how to write these.
 */
require_once 'PEAR.php';

// {{{ constants

/**
 * Methods return this if they succeed
 */
define('NET_SAMPLE_OK', 1);

// }}}
// {{{ GLOBALS

/**
 * The number of objects created
 * @global int $GLOBALS['_NET_SAMPLE_Count']
 */
$GLOBALS['_NET_SAMPLE_Count'] = 0;

// }}}
// {{{ Net_Sample

/**
 * An example of how to write code to PEAR's standards
 *
 * Docblock comments start with "/**" at the top.  Notice how the "/"
 * lines up with the normal indenting and the asterisks on subsequent rows
 * are in line with the first asterisk.  The last line of comment text
 * should be immediately followed on the next line by the closing asterisk
 * and slash and then the item you are commenting on should be on the next
 * line below that.  Don't add extra lines.  Please put a blank line
 * between paragraphs as well as between the end of the description and
 * the start of the @tags.  Wrap comments before 80 columns in order to
 * ease readability for a wide variety of users.
 *
 * Docblocks can only be used for programming constructs which allow them
 * (classes, properties, methods, defines, includes, globals).  See the
 * phpDocumentor documentation for more information.
 * http://phpdoc.org/tutorial_phpDocumentor.howto.pkg.html
 *
 * The Javadoc Style Guide is an excellent resource for figuring out
 * how to say what needs to be said in docblock comments.  Much of what is
 * written here is a summary of what is found there, though there are some
 * cases where what's said here overrides what is said there.
 * http://java.sun.com/j2se/javadoc/writingdoccomments/index.html#styleguide
 *
 * The first line of any docblock is the summary.  Make them one short
 * sentence, without a period at the end.  Summaries for classes, properties
 * and constants should omit the subject and simply state the object,
 * because they are describing things rather than actions or behaviors.
 *
 * Below are the tags commonly used for classes. @category through @version
 * are required.  The remainder should only be used when necessary.
 * Please use them in the order they appear here.  phpDocumentor has
 * several other tags available, feel free to use them.
 *
 * @category   CategoryName
 * @package    PackageName
 * @author     Original Author <author@example.com>
 * @author     Another Author <another@example.com>
 * @copyright  1997-2005 The PHP Group
 * @license    http://www.php.net/license/3_01.txt  PHP License 3.01
 * @version    Release: @package_version@
 * @link       http://pear.php.net/package/PackageName
 * @see        NetOther, Net_Sample::Net_Sample()
 * @since      Class available since Release 1.2.0
 * @deprecated Class deprecated in Release 2.0.0
 */
class Net_Sample
{
    // {{{ properties

    /**
     * The status of foo's universe
     * Potential values are 'good', 'fair', 'poor' and 'unknown'.
     * @var string $foo
     */
    public $foo = 'unknown';

    /**
     * The status of life
     * Note that names of private properties or methods must be
     * preceeded by an underscore.
     * @var bool $_good
     */
    private $_good = true;

    // }}}
    // {{{ setFoo()

    /**
     * Registers the status of foo's universe
     *
     * Summaries for methods should use 3rd person declarative rather
     * than 2nd person imperative, beginning with a verb phrase.
     *
     * Summaries should add description beyond the method's name. The
     * best method names are "self-documenting", meaning they tell you
     * basically what the method does.  If the summary merely repeats
     * the method name in sentence form, it is not providing more
     * information.
     *
     * Summary Examples:
     *   + Sets the label              (preferred)
     *   + Set the label               (avoid)
     *   + This method sets the label  (avoid)
     *
     * Below are the tags commonly used for methods.  A @param tag is
     * required for each parameter the method has.  The @return
     * and @access tags are mandatory.  The @throws tag is required if
     * the method uses exceptions.  @static is required if the method can
     * be called statically.  The remainder should only be used when
     * necessary.  Please use them in the order they appear here.
     * phpDocumentor has several other tags available, feel free to use
     * them.
     *
     * The @param tag contains the data type, then the parameter's
     * name, followed by a description.  By convention, the first noun in
     * the description is the data type of the parameter.  Articles like
     * "a", "an", and  "the" can precede the noun.  The descriptions
     * should start with a phrase.  If further description is necessary,
     * follow with sentences.  Having two spaces between the name and the
     * description aids readability.
     *
     * When writing a phrase, do not capitalize and do not end with a
     * period:
     *   + the string to be tested
     *
     * When writing a phrase followed by a sentence, do not capitalize the
     * phrase, but end it with a period to distinguish it from the start
     * of the next sentence:
     *   + the string to be tested. Must use UTF-8 encoding.
     *
     * Return tags should contain the data type then a description of
     * the data returned.  The data type can be any of PHP's data types
     * (int, float, bool, string, array, object, resource, mixed)
     * and should contain the type primarily returned.  For example, if
     * a method returns an object when things work correctly but false
     * when an error happens, say 'object' rather than 'mixed.'  Use
     * 'void' if nothing is returned.
     *
     * Here's an example of how to format examples:
     * <code>
     * require_once 'Net/Sample.php';
     *
     * $s = new Net_Sample();
     * if (PEAR::isError($s)) {
     *     echo $s->getMessage() . "\n";
     * }
     * </code>
     *
     * Here is an example for non-php example or sample:
     * <samp>
     * pear install net_sample
     * </samp>
     *
     * @param string $arg1 the string to quote
     * @param int    $arg2 an integer of how many problems happened.
     *                     Indent to the description's starting point
     *                     for long ones.
     *
     * @return int the integer of the set mode used. FALSE if foo
     *             foo could not be set.
     * @throws exceptionclass [description]
     *
     * @access public
     * @static
     * @see Net_Sample::$foo, Net_Other::someMethod()
     * @since Method available since Release 1.2.0
     * @deprecated Method deprecated in Release 2.0.0
     */
    function setFoo($arg1, $arg2 = 0)
    {
        /*
         * This is a "Block Comment."  The format is the same as
         * Docblock Comments except there is only one asterisk at the
         * top.  phpDocumentor doesn't parse these.
         */
        if ($arg1 == 'good' || $arg1 == 'fair') {
            $this->foo = $arg1;
            return 1;
        } elseif ($arg1 == 'poor' && $arg2 > 1) {
            $this->foo = 'poor';
            return 2;
        } else {
            return false;
        }
    }

    // }}}
}

// }}}

/*
 * Local variables:
 * tab-width: 4
 * c-basic-offset: 4
 * c-hanging-comment-ender-p: nil
 * End:
 */

?>

Source: PEAR Docblock Comment standards


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