Local Development

If you have come looking for a way to set up your local development environment and use Tide to audit your plugins and themes, that is not a good use case for the platform. A better option would be to install a few Composer packages and run the same code sniffers Tide does. The easiest way would be to add these two files to the root directory inside your plugin or theme.


Create a composer.json file in the project root, and add this code.

  "require-dev": {
    "dealerdirect/phpcodesniffer-composer-installer": "*",
    "phpcompatibility/phpcompatibility-wp": "*",
    "wp-coding-standards/wpcs": "*"
  "scripts": {
    "phpcs": [
      "./vendor/bin/phpcs ${1:.} --standard=.phpcs.ruleset.xml"
    "phpcbf": [
      "./vendor/bin/phpcbf ${1:.} --standard=.phpcs.ruleset.xml"

Install the Composer dependencies:

composer install

PHPCS Ruleset

Create a .phpcs.ruleset.xml file in the project root, add this code, and replace the {{NAME}} and {{SLUG}} with your plugin or theme's name and slug.

<?xml version="1.0"?>
<ruleset name="{{NAME}}">
    <description>Custom ruleset for the {{NAME}} plugin.</description>

    <!-- For help in understanding this file: https://github.com/squizlabs/PHP_CodeSniffer/wiki/Annotated-ruleset.xml -->
    <!-- For help in using PHPCS: https://github.com/squizlabs/PHP_CodeSniffer/wiki/Usage -->

    <!-- What to scan -->
    <!-- Ignoring Files and Folders:
        https://github.com/squizlabs/PHP_CodeSniffer/wiki/Advanced-Usage#ignoring-files-and-folders -->

    <!-- How to scan -->
    <arg value="sp"/> <!-- Show sniff and progress -->
    <arg name="colors"/> <!-- Show results with colors -->
    <arg name="basepath" value="."/> <!-- Strip the file paths down to the relevant bit -->
    <arg name="parallel" value="8"/> <!-- Enables parallel processing when available for faster results. -->
    <arg name="extensions" value="php"/> <!-- Limit to PHP files -->

    <!-- Rules: Check PHP version compatibility - see
            https://github.com/PHPCompatibility/PHPCompatibilityWP -->
    <rule ref="PHPCompatibilityWP"/>

    <!-- For help in understanding this testVersion:
        https://github.com/PHPCompatibility/PHPCompatibility#sniffing-your-code-for-compatibility-with-specific-php-versions -->
    <config name="testVersion" value="5.2-"/>

    <!-- Rules: WordPress Coding Standards - see
            https://github.com/WordPress-Coding-Standards/WordPress-Coding-Standards -->
    <rule ref="WordPress-Core"/>
    <rule ref="WordPress-Docs"/>
    <rule ref="WordPress-Extra"/>

    <!-- For help in understanding these custom sniff properties:
            https://github.com/WordPress-Coding-Standards/WordPress-Coding-Standards/wiki/Customizable-sniff-properties -->
    <config name="minimum_supported_wp_version" value="4.4"/>

    <rule ref="WordPress.WP.I18n">
            <property name="text_domain" type="array">
                <element value="{{SLUG}}"/>
                <element value="default"/>


Run the PHP Code Sniffer on every file:

composer phpcs

Run the PHP Code Sniffer on a single file:

composer phpcs filename.php

Run PHP Code Beautifier on every file:

composer phpcbf

Run PHP Code Beautifier on a single file:

composer phpcbf filename.php

If you get an error when running these commands see the Help page.