Setting up VSCode

From MoodleDocs

VSCode is a an Integrated Development Environment from Microsoft available under the MIT License. It works on Linux/Windows/OSX. It has a large number of plugins available, most entirely free/libre. It has good support for Xdebug.


PHP Debug adds debugging capability for PHP files, which is essential. Follow the extension's installation instructions.

If the root of the project is not the same as where the Moodle code is located, the settings.json file for xdebug can be set to point to that location via pathMappings as in this example.

   "configurations": [
            "name": "Listen for Xdebug",
            "type": "php",
            "request": "launch",
            "port": 9003,
            "pathMappings": {
                "/var/www/html": "${workspaceFolder}/moodle"

It allows the setting of breakpoints where the contents of variables can be inspected. Breakpoints can be conditional, e.g. break execution of a loop when a variable reaches a certain value.


PHP Intelephense is the standard php plugin for intellisense features.


Linting plugins will show wavy red lines under code that does not conform:

phpcs sniff.png

The linters used for development are:


1. Install PHP CS (codesniffer). Under Ubuntu/Linux this may be done as

sudo apt-get install -y php-codesniffer

See For more details on installing

2. After installing PHP Sniffer, add the following setting to define standard PHP CS (if you haven't set it as default in your system):

"phpSniffer.standard": "moodle",

Code Formatting

If you have PHP Sniffer installed, with PHP CS configured too, set it to be the default formatter:

// add this [php] key/value pair in vscode's user settings (settings.json):
  // ...
  "[php]": {
    "editor.defaultFormatter": "wongjn.php-sniffer"

Behat/Gherkin/Cucumber Formatting

This plugin offers colour syntax formatting for behat .feature files.

This plugin seems to indent the feature files nicely

Automated testing

Yet Another PHPUnit lets you run automated tests from within vscode.

It inserts a link just above the class name that says 'Run class tests' which will run all the tests in a class and links above each function that says Run test that will run just that test.

yet another phpunit.png


PHP DocBlocker to create a docblock by typing /** at the top of a function and it grabs the parameters, including types if given and creates a PHPDoc block.

Moodle specific Snippets and autocomplete

Moodle - Snippets & Autocomplete offers some useful Moodle specific code completion popups.

Auto trim trailing white space

To ensure trailing white space is trimmed do the following

Open VS User Settings (Preferences > Settings > User Settings tab). Click the {} icon in the top-right part of the window. This will open a document.

Add a new

"files.trimTrailingWhitespace": true

setting to the User Settings document if it's not already there.

This is so you aren't editing the Default Setting directly, but instead adding to it.

Save the User Settings file.

Develop over an ssh connection

With this plugin you can develop on a remote machine as if it were locally providing you have ssh login acces