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Autoindenting PHP Code

written by Mark Rowlinson - Last updated Nov 2004


PHP code uses {} symbols to group pieces of code such as branches and loops. This code makes use of that by checking for the existence of them in each line. If it find a { then there should be a positive indent of the next line. If it finds a } then there should be a negative indent of the current line.

How to use the code

The code requires a reference to the "Microsoft Scripting Runtime" in order to make use of the FileSystemObject to read in and write out the file. Currently it is also written for Excel in that is uses GetOpenFileName to obtain the file to parse, this could easily be modified for VB to use a common dialog.

How it works

The code uses 1 Sub and 2 helper functions and uses a global variable to store the current indent level. When it starts it sets the indent to 0 and opens the file. It then loops through each line in the file, parses it using the FormatPHPLine function and stores it in an array. It then loops through the array to write the lines back out to the file

The FormatPHPLine checks for the occurrence of { and } to detremine if a positive or negative indent is required. If a negative is found it is applied strightaway i.e. the global variable is decreased by 1. The required indent is then created using the indent function. Finally the global variable is increased by 1 if a positive indent was found.


There is much scope for improvement, such as, allowing for multiple occurrences on one line or making sure only code not comments are searched which I may add in the future.

The Full Code

Dim intIndent As Long 
Sub FormatPHP() 
    Dim strFile As String 
    intIndent = 0 
    strFile = Application.GetOpenFilename("PHP Files (*.php),*.php") 
    If strFile = "False" Then Exit Sub 
    Dim fso As Scripting.FileSystemObject 
    Set fso = New Scripting.FileSystemObject 
    Dim ts As Scripting.TextStream 
    Dim strText() As String 
    Dim x As Integer 
    x = 0 
    Set ts = fso.OpenTextFile(strFile, ForReading, False) 
    While Not ts.AtEndOfStream 
        x = x + 1 
        ReDim Preserve strText(1 To x) 
        strText(x) = FormatPHPLine(ts.ReadLine) 
    Set ts = fso.OpenTextFile(strFile, ForWriting, False) 
    For i = 1 To x 
        ts.WriteLine strText(i) 
    Next i 
    MsgBox "Done!" 
End Sub 
Function FormatPHPLine(ByVal strPHP As String) As String 
     'check for { and } to determine indent
     'if { then positive indent
     'if } then negative
    Dim pos As Boolean, neg As Boolean 
    If InStr(1, strPHP, "{") > 0 Then 
        pos = True 
    End If 
    If InStr(1, strPHP, "}") > 0 Then 
        neg = True 
    End If 
     'apply negative indent
    If neg Then 
        intIndent = Application.WorksheetFunction.Max(0, intIndent - 1) 
    End If 
    strPHP = indent(strPHP) 
     'apply +ve indent
    If pos Then 
        intIndent = intIndent + 1 
    End If 
    FormatPHPLine = strPHP 
End Function 
Function indent(ByVal y As String) As String 
    y = Trim$(y) 
    If intIndent > 0 Then 
        For i = 1 To intIndent 
            indent = indent & vbTab 
        Next i 
        indent = indent & y 
        indent = y 
    End If 
End Function