Templating

Docblocks allow you to tell Psalm some simple information about how your code works. For example @return int in a function return type tells Psalm that a function should return an int and @return MyContainer tells Psalm that a function should return an instance of a user-defined class MyContainer. In either case, Psalm can check that the function actually returns those types and that anything calling that function uses its returned value properly.

Templated types allow you to tell Psalm even more information about how your code works.

Let's look at a simple class MyContainer:

class MyContainer {
  private $value;

  public function __construct($value) {
    $this->value = $value;
  }

  public function getValue() {
    return $this->value;
  }
}

When Psalm handles the return type of $my_container->getValue() it doesn't know what it's getting out, because the value can be arbitrary.

Templated annotations provide us with a workaround - we can define a generic/templated param T that is a placeholder for the value inside MyContainer:

/**
 * @template T
 */
class MyContainer {
  /** @var T */
  private $value;

  /** @param T $value */
  public function __construct($value) {
    $this->value = $value;
  }

  /** @return T */
  public function getValue() {
    return $this->value;
  }
}

Now we can substitute values for that templated param when we reference MyContainer in docblocks e.g. @return MyContainer<int>. This tells Psalm to substitute T for int when evaluating that return type, effectively treating it as a class that looks like

class One_off_instance_of_MyContainer {
  /** @var int */
  private $value;

  /** @param int $value */
  public function __construct($value) {
    $this->value = $value;
  }

  /** @return int */
  public function getValue() {
    return $this->value;
  }
}

This pattern can be used in large number of different situations like mocking, collections, iterators and loading arbitrary objects. Psalm has a large number of annotations to make it easy to use templated types in your codebase.

@template

The @template tag allows classes and functions to declare a generic type parameter.

As a very simple example, this function returns whatever is passed in:

/**
 * @template T
 * @psalm-param T $t
 * @return T
 */
function mirror($t) {
    return $t;
}

$a = 5;
$b = mirror(5); // Psalm knows the result is an int

$c = "foo";
$d = mirror($c); // Psalm knows the result is string

Psalm also uses @template annotations in its stubbed versions of PHP array functions e.g.

/**
 * Takes one array with keys and another with values and combines them
 *
 * @template TKey
 * @template TValue
 *
 * @param array<mixed, TKey> $arr
 * @param array<mixed, TValue> $arr2
 * @return array<TKey, TValue>
 */
function array_combine(array $arr, array $arr2) {}

Notes

  • @template tag order matters for class docblocks, as they dictate the order in which those generic parameters are referenced in docblocks.
  • The names of your templated types (e.g. TKey, TValue don't matter outside the scope of the class or function in which they're declared.

@param class-string<T>

Psalm also allows you to parameterise class types

/**
 * @template T
 * @psalm-param class-string<T> $class
 * @return T
 */
function instantiator(string $class) {
    return new $class();
}

class Foo {}

$a = instantiator(Foo::class); // Psalm knows the result is an object of type Foo

Template inheritance

Psalm allows you to extend templated classes with @extends/@template-extends:

/**
 * @template T
 */
class ParentClass {}

/**
 * @extends ParentClass<int>
 */
class ChildClass extends ParentClass {}

similarly you can implement interfaces with @implements/@template-implements

/**
 * @template T
 */
interface IFoo {}

/**
 * @implements IFoo<int>
 */
class Foo implements IFoo {}

and import traits with @use/@template-use

/**
 * @template T
 */
trait MyTrait {}

class Foo {
    /**
     * @use MyTrait<int>
     */
    use MyTrait;
}

You can also extend one templated class with another, e.g.

/**
 * @template T1
 */
class ParentClass {}

/**
 * @template T2
 * @extends ParentClass<T2>
 */
class ChildClass extends ParentClass {}

Template constraints

You can use @template of <type> to restrict input. For example, to restrict to a given class you can use

class Foo {}
class FooChild extends Foo {}

/**
 * @template T of Foo
 * @psalm-param T $class
 * @return array<int, T>
 */
function makeArray($t) {
    return [$t];
}
$a = makeArray(new Foo()); // typed as array<int, Foo>
$b = makeArray(new FooChild()); // typed as array<int, FooChild>
$c = makeArray(new stdClass()); // type error

Templated types aren't limited to key-value pairs, and you can re-use templates across multiple arguments of a template-supporting type:

/**
 * @template T0 as array-key
 *
 * @template-implements IteratorAggregate<T0, int>
 */
abstract class Foo implements IteratorAggregate {
  /**
   * @var int
   */
  protected $rand_min;

  /**
   * @var int
   */
  protected $rand_max;

  public function __construct(int $rand_min, int $rand_max) {
    $this->rand_min = $rand_min;
    $this->rand_max = $rand_max;
  }

  /**
   * @return Generator<T0, int, mixed, T0>
   */
  public function getIterator() : Generator {
    $j = random_int($this->rand_min, $this->rand_max);
    for($i = $this->rand_min; $i <= $j; $i += 1) {
      yield $this->getFuzzyType($i) => $i ** $i;
    }

    return $this->getFuzzyType($j);
  }

  /**
   * @return T0
   */
  abstract protected function getFuzzyType(int $i);
}

/**
 * @template-extends Foo<int>
 */
class Bar extends Foo {
  protected function getFuzzyType(int $i) : int {
    return $i;
  }
}

/**
 * @template-extends Foo<string>
 */
class Baz extends Foo {
  protected function getFuzzyType(int $i) : string {
    return static::class . '[' . $i . ']';
  }
}

Builtin templated classes and interfaces

Psalm has support for a number of builtin classes and interfaces that you can extend/implement in your own code.

  • interface Traversable<TKey, TValue>
  • interface ArrayAccess<TKey, TValue>
  • interface IteratorAggregate<TKey, TValue> extends Traversable<TKey, TValue>
  • interface Iterator<TKey, TValue> extends Traversable<TKey, TValue>
  • interface SeekableIterator<TKey, TValue> extends Iterator<TKey, TValue>

  • class Generator<TKey, TValue, TSend, TReturn> extends Traversable<TKey, TValue>

  • class ArrayObject<TKey, TValue> implements IteratorAggregate<TKey, TValue>, ArrayAccess<TKey, TValue>
  • class ArrayIterator<TKey of array-key, TValue> implements SeekableIterator<TKey, TValue>, ArrayAccess<TKey, TValue>
  • class DOMNodeList<TNode of DOMNode> implements Traversable<int, TNode>
  • class SplDoublyLinkedList<TKey, TValue> implements Iterator<TKey, TValue>, ArrayAccess<TKey, TValue>
  • class SplQueue<TValue> extends SplDoublyLinkedList<int, TValue>