Checking the Code Complexity of your App

Developer Tools

January 10th, 2017


Taylor Otwell recently made a post comparing the code complexity between Laravel and other frameworks. The tool he used to generate these reports is called phploc and it’s very easy to run on your own code base.

I decided as a means of comparison I would run that on the codebase for this site and just see what the results are.


First, install the composer package either your require-dev or globally:

composer global require 'phploc/phploc=*'

Next, just cd into your application and run the phploc command:

phploc ./app

Then it spits out the results. Here is what the app directory for Laravel News looks like:

phploc 3.0.1 by Sebastian Bergmann.

Directories                                         14
Files                                               72

  Lines of Code (LOC)                             3748
  Comment Lines of Code (CLOC)                     790 (21.08%)
  Non-Comment Lines of Code (NCLOC)               2958 (78.92%)
  Logical Lines of Code (LLOC)                     950 (25.35%)
    Classes                                        656 (69.05%)
      Average Class Length                           9
        Minimum Class Length                         0
        Maximum Class Length                        84
      Average Method Length                          2
        Minimum Method Length                        0
        Maximum Method Length                       21
    Functions                                        0 (0.00%)
      Average Function Length                        0
    Not in classes or functions                    294 (30.95%)

Cyclomatic Complexity
  Average Complexity per LLOC                     0.10
  Average Complexity per Class                    2.33
    Minimum Class Complexity                      1.00
    Maximum Class Complexity                     15.00
  Average Complexity per Method                   1.41
    Minimum Method Complexity                     1.00
    Maximum Method Complexity                     6.00

  Global Accesses                                    0
    Global Constants                                 0 (0.00%)
    Global Variables                                 0 (0.00%)
    Super-Global Variables                           0 (0.00%)
  Attribute Accesses                               436
    Non-Static                                     436 (100.00%)
    Static                                           0 (0.00%)
  Method Calls                                     570
    Non-Static                                     412 (72.28%)
    Static                                         158 (27.72%)

  Namespaces                                        15
  Interfaces                                         0
  Traits                                             0
  Classes                                           72
    Abstract Classes                                 0 (0.00%)
    Concrete Classes                                72 (100.00%)
  Methods                                          233
      Non-Static Methods                           226 (97.00%)
      Static Methods                                 7 (3.00%)
      Public Methods                               194 (83.26%)
      Non-Public Methods                            39 (16.74%)
  Functions                                         24
    Named Functions                                  0 (0.00%)
    Anonymous Functions                             24 (100.00%)
  Constants                                          0
    Global Constants                                 0 (0.00%)
    Class Constants                                  0 (0.00%)

The one downside to this tool is I was unable to have it give me the file name for the maximum cyclomatic complexity or the maximum method length. Another tool named PhpMetrics can be used to help you find these and let’s look at how it works.


Another option if you want even more reporting and dig deeper into your codebase is PhpMetrics. It creates a nice HTML-based report complete with graphs and file-based reports.

Installing it is just as easy thanks to Composer:

composer global require 'phpmetrics/phpmetrics'

Then, run the following to parse your app folder:

phpmetrics --report-html=myreport.html ./app

After that runs, just open myreport.html in the browser and you can browse through its results.

Wrap Up

These are just two tools but many others exist and the two other most popular ones are phpmd, and php depend.

What I find great about these is these are not just vanity metrics but give you real insight on what part of your code base needs improvements and what may cause you problems later.

Filed in:

Eric L. Barnes

Eric is the creator of Laravel News and has been covering Laravel since 2012.