The Phar class supports reading and manipulation of Phar archives, as well as iteration through inherited functionality of the RecursiveDirectoryIterator class. With support for the ArrayAccess interface, files inside a Phar archive can be accessed as if they were part of an associative array.
The PharData class extends the Phar, and allows creating and modifying non-executable (data) tar and zip archives even if phar.readonly=1 in php.ini. As such, PharData::setAlias() and PharData::setStub() are both disabled as the concept of alias and stub are unique to executable phar archives.
It is important to note that when creating a Phar archive, the full path should be passed to the Phar object constructor. Relative paths will fail to initialize.
Assuming that $p is a Phar object initialized as follows:
$p = new Phar('/path/to/myphar.phar', 0, 'myphar.phar');
An empty Phar archive will be created at /path/to/myphar.phar, or if /path/to/myphar.phar already exists, it will be opened again. The literal myphar.phar demonstrates the concept of an alias that can be used to reference /path/to/myphar.phar in URLs as in:
// these two calls to file_get_contents() are equivalent if
// /path/to/myphar.phar has an explicit alias of "myphar.phar"
// in its manifest, or if the phar was initialized with the
// previous example's Phar object setup
$f = file_get_contents('phar:///path/to/myphar.phar/whatever.txt');
$f = file_get_contents('phar://myphar.phar/whatever.txt');
With the newly created $p Phar object, the following is possible:
In addition, the Phar object is the only way to access Phar-specific metadata, through Phar::getMetadata(), and the only way to set or retrieve a Phar archive's PHP loader stub through Phar::getStub() and Phar::setStub(). Additionally, compression for the entire Phar archive at once can only be manipulated using the Phar class.
The full list of Phar object functionality is documented below.