Interaktiver Modus

Seit PHP 5.1.0 bietet die CLI SAPI mit der -a Option eine interaktive Shell an, wenn PHP mit der --with-readline Option kompiliert wurde.

Mittels der interaktiven Shell können sie PHP code eingeben und direkt ausführen lassen.

Beispiel #1 Ausführung von Code auf der interaktiven Shell

$ php -a
Interactive shell

php > echo 5+8;
php > function addTwo($n)
php > {
php { return $n + 2;
php { }
php > var_dump(addtwo(2));
php >

Die interaktive Shell bietet ebenfalls Tab-Autovervollständigung für Funktionen, Konstanten, Klassen, Variablen, statische Methoden und Klassenkonstanten.

Beispiel #2 Tab-Autovervollständigung

Zweimaliges Drücken der Tab-Taste im Falle mehrerer Möglichkeiten führt zu einer Auflistung dieser Möglichkeiten:

php > strp[TAB][TAB]
strpbrk   strpos    strptime  
php > strp

Wenn es nur eine mögliche Vervollständigung gibt, führt ein einmaliges Drücken der Tab-Taste zur Vervollständigung der Zeile:

php > strpt[TAB]ime(

Autovervollständigung funktioniert auch für Namen, welche bereits während dieser interaktiven Session definiert wurden:

php > $fooThisIsAReallyLongVariableName = 42;
php > $foo[TAB]ThisIsAReallyLongVariableName

Die interaktive Shell speichert den Verlauf von zuletzt eingegeben Zeilen. Auf diesen kann mittels der Pfeiltasten zugegriffen werden. Er wird in der ~/.php_history Datei gespeichert.

Seit PHP 5.4.0 bietet die CLI SAPI die php.ini Optionen cli.pager und cli.prompt. Die cli.pager Option erlaubt einem externen Programm (wie etwa less) als Pager für die Ausgabe zu agieren, anstatt dass diese direkt ausgegeben wird. Die cli.prompt Option erlaubt das Ändern der php > Eingabeaufforderung.

Seit PHP 5.4.0 ist es auch möglich php.ini Optionen einfacher zu ändern.

Beispiel #3 Setzen von php.ini Optionen in der interaktiven Shell

Die cli.prompt Option:

php > #cli.prompt=hello world :> 
hello world :>

Mittels Backticks kann PHP Code in dem Präfix ausgeführt werden:

php > #cli.prompt=`echo date('H:i:s');` php > 
15:49:35 php > echo 'hi';
15:49:43 php > sleep(2);
15:49:45 php >

Setzen des Pagers auf less:

php > #cli.pager=less
php > phpinfo();
(output displayed in less)
php >

Die cli.prompt Option unterstützt einige Escape-Sequenzen.

cli.prompt Escape-Sequenzen
Sequenzen Beschreibung
\e Wird benutzt um Farben zur Eingabeaufforderung hinzuzufügen. Ein Beispiel: \e[032m\v \e[031m\b \e[34m\> \e[0m
\v Die PHP Version.
\b Gibt an, in welchem Block PHP sich befindet. Zum Beispiel gibt /* an, dass man sich gerade in einem mehrzeiligen Kommentar befindet. Der äußerste Block ist php.
\> Gibt das Eingabeaufforderungszeichen an. Standardmäßig ist dies >, ändert sich jedoch, wenn sich die Shell innerhalb eines nicht beendeten Blocks oder Strings befindet. Mögliche Buchstaben sind: ' " { ( >


Dateien, die mit auto_prepend_file und auto_append_file eingebunden wurden, werden in diesem Modus mit einigen Einschränkungen geparset - Funktionen müssen etwa vor dem Aufruf definiert werden.


Automatisches Laden (autoload) ist im interaktiven PHP CLI Modus nicht verfügbar.

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User Contributed Notes 11 notes

Ryan P
5 years ago
Interactive Shell and Interactive Mode are not the same thing, despite the similar names and functionality.

If you type 'php -a' and get a response of 'Interactive Shell' followed by a 'php>' prompt, you have interactive shell available (PHP was compiled with readline support). If instead you get a response of 'Interactive mode enabled', you DO NOT have interactive shell available and this article does not apply to you.

You can also check 'php -m' and see if readline is listed in the output - if not, you don't have interactive shell.

Interactive mode is essentially like running php with stdin as the file input. You just type code, and when you're done (Ctrl-D), php executes whatever you typed as if it were a normal PHP (PHTML) file - hence you start in interactive mode with '<?php' in order to execute code.

Interactive shell evaluates every expression as you complete it (with ; or }), reports errors without terminating execution, and supports standard shell functionality via readline (history, tab completion, etc). It's an enhanced version of interactive mode that is ONLY available if you have the required libraries, and is an actual PHP shell that interprets everything you type as PHP code - using '<?php' will cause a parse error.

Finally, if you're running on Windows, you're probably screwed. From what I'm seeing in other comments here, you don't have readline, and without readline there is no interactive shell.
1 month ago
For use interactive mode enabled on GNU/Linux on distros Debian/Ubuntu/LinuxMint you must install "php*-cli" and "php*-readline" packages from official repository.
>$sudo aptitude install php5-cli php5-readline

After that you can use interactive mode.
~ $ php -a
Interactive mode enabled

php >echo "hola mundo!\n";
hola mundo!
php >

I hope somebody help it!
spencer at aninternetpresence dot net
6 years ago
In Windows, press Enter after your ending PHP tag and then hit Ctrl-Z to denote the end-of-file:

C:\>php -a
Interactive mode enabled

echo "Hello, world!";
Hello, world!

You can use the up and down arrows in interactive mode to recall previous code you ran.
7 years ago
Just a few more notes to add...

1) Hitting return does literally mean "execute this command".  Semicolon to note end of line is still required.  Meaning, doing the following will produce a parse error:

php > print "test"
php > print "asdf";

Whereas doing the following is just fine:

php > print "test"
php > ."asdf";

2) Fatal errors may eject you from the shell:

name@local:~$ php -a
php > asdf();

Fatal Error: call to undefined function...

3) User defined functions are not saved in history from shell session to shell session.

4) Should be obvious, but to quit the shell, just type "quit" at the php prompt.

5) In a sense, the shell interaction can be thought of as linearly following a regular php file, except it's live and dynamic.  If you define a function that you've already defined earlier in your current shell, you will receive a fatal "function already defined" error only upon entering that closing bracket.  And, although "including" a toolset of custom functions or a couple of script addon php files is rather handy, should you edit those files and wish to "reinclude" it again, you'll cause a fatal "function x already defined" error.
7 years ago
It seems the interactive shell cannot be made to work in WIN environments at the moment. 

Using "php://stdin", it shouldn't be too difficult to roll your own.  You can partially mimic the shell by calling this simple script (Note: Window's cmd already has an input history calling feature using the up/down keys, and that functionality will still be available during execution here):


= fopen("php://stdin", "r");
$in = '';
$in != "quit") {
"php> ";
    eval (

Replace 'eval' with code to parse the input string, validate it using is_callable and other variable handling functions, catch fatal errors before they happen, allow line-by-line function defining, etc.  Though Readline is not available in Windows, for more tips and examples for workarounds, see
lee8oi at gmail dot com
5 years ago
I use git-bash in windows to connect to my servers via SSH. When I use the interactive mode via 'php -a' command I have to hit ctrl+d twice to execute the entered code. Example:
(<ctrl+d> denotes hitting ctrl & D)

-bash$ php -a
Interactive mode enabled
echo 'hello world';
?><br />
hello world<br />

Note: this still displays the <br /> tag but without the tag your output would likely be attached to your bash prompt like this:

hello world-bash$
wheat at wheatdesign dot com
8 days ago
If you're stuck on Widows or any other machine where PHP was not compiled with readline support, one solution is to use a web-based PHP CLI. I use this in training classes, especially the sort where people bring their own laptops and I can't assume they have PHP installed. The best one I've found--partly because of the UX and partly because it's free (no credit card required) and quick to setup, is
elijah at elijahlynn dot net
3 years ago
Bug #55496 Interactive mode doesn't force a newline before the prompt =>

Fixed on July 24th, 2014 @;a=commit;h=71d3a69425449972f4efdf7228c6f7e49e090755

Until then, this will work:

php -dcli.prompt="\nphp> " -a
alexandrebr at gmail dot com
6 years ago
For those who (just like me) can't get it working, try to press CTRL+D after inserting some commands.

echo "Hello World!\r\n";
Hit CTRL+D here)
Hello World!

This is NOT interactive mode, but may help you.

To have the "-i" available, you'll need the following arguments while compiling PHP:
--with-readline e --with-libedit
6 years ago
When building php on FreeBSD from ports one can add --with-readline option by manually editing the var CONFIGURE_ARGS in Makefile inside the php port directory and proceeding with build as usual.
Shane Harter
4 years ago
If you've ever wanted to build your own interactive shell, I released a project recently that makes it insanely easy to build awesome shell apps in PHP. It blends features from Zend2 and Symonfy2 with things like regex routing, state management, etc. Check it out here:
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