shell.php is a maintenance script that is located in the maintenance directory that provides a REPL shell you can use to play live with MediaWiki objects and functions. It is based on PsySH; it replaces eval.php which is less robust and has fewer features.

Beyond the ability to evaluate PHP statements, functionality includes handling errors and fatals in a way that does not break the shell, examining object internals, source code and documentation via reflection, external editor integration and more.


Interactively: php maintenance/shell.php
Executing PHP commands from a file: cat commands.txt | maintenance/shell.php


Option Description
--log-channels Print logs sent to the given log channels. Comma-separated: --log-channels authentication,cookie,session Log levels can be filtered with --log-channels authentication,cookie:info,session:error
--log-all Print logs sent to all channels
--dbo-debug Log more database-related information (roughly the same as setting $wgDebugDumpSql )
--no-session Pretend MW_NO_SESSION has been set (useful for debugging code that's invoked from no-session endpoints such as load.php)


Command execution and error handling[edit]

$ php maintenance/shell.php
Psy Shell v0.8.5 (PHP 5.6.30-0+deb8u1 — cli) by Justin Hileman

>>> User::newFromName('Foo')
=> User {#1075
     +mId: null,
     +mName: "Foo",
     +mRealName: null,
     +mEmail: null,
     +mTouched: null,
     +mEmailAuthenticated: null,
     +mOptionsLoaded: false,
     +mFrom: "name",
     +mBlockedby: -1,
     +mRights: null,
     +mHideName: null,
     +mOptions: null,
     +mBlock: null,

>>> $_->mQuickTouched
PHP Error:  Cannot access protected property User::$mQuickTouched in Psy Shell code on line 2

>>> sudo $_->mQuickTouched
=> null

>>> User::newFromName( true )
InvalidArgumentException with message '$text must be a string.'

>>> wtf
InvalidArgumentException with message '$text must be a string.'
0:  () at includes/Title.php:283
1:  Title::newFromText() at includes/user/User.php:1255
2:  User::getCanonicalName() at includes/user/User.php:588

Use wtf -a to see 10 more lines


>>> ls Message
Class Methods: __construct, __toString, bitrateParam, bitrateParams, content, durationParam, durationParams, escaped, exists, expiryParam, expiryParams, getFormat, getKey, getKeysToTry, getLanguage, getParams, getTitle, inContentLanguage, inLanguage, isBlank, isDisabled, isMultiKey, listParam, newFallbackSequence, newFromKey, newFromSpecifier, numParam, numParams, params, parse, parseAsBlock, plain, plaintextParam, plaintextParams, rawParam, rawParams, serialize, setContext, setInterfaceMessageFlag, sizeParam, sizeParams, text, timeperiodParam, timeperiodParams, title, toString, unserialize, useDatabase

>>> doc Message::setContext
public function setContext(IContextSource $context)

  Set the language and the title from a context object

  IContextSource  $context 

  Message  $this

Since: 1.19

>>> show Message::setContext
  > 724|        public function setContext( IContextSource $context ) {
    725|                $this->inLanguage( $context->getLanguage() );
    726|                $this->title( $context->getTitle() );
    727|                $this->interface = true;
    729|                return $this;
    730|        }

Debug output[edit]

$ php maintenance/shell.php --log-all --dbo-debug
[debug] [DBReplication] Wikimedia\Rdbms\LBFactory::getChronologyProtector: using request info {
    "IPAddress": "",
    "UserAgent": "",
    "ChronologyProtection": "true"
[debug] [DBConnection] Wikimedia\Rdbms\LoadBalancer::openConnection: calling initLB() before first connection.
[debug] [DBConnection] Connected to database 0 at ''.
[debug] [DBQuery] wiki SHOW /* Wikimedia\Rdbms\DatabaseMysqlBase::serverIsReadOnly  */ GLOBAL VARIABLES LIKE 'read_only'
[debug] [DBQuery] SHOW GLOBAL VARIABLES LIKE 'read_only'
Psy Shell v0.8.5 (PHP 5.6.30-0+deb8u1 — cli) by Justin Hileman

>>> wfMessage("Recentchanges")->text()
[debug] [CryptRand] mcrypt_create_iv generated 20 bytes of randomness.
[debug] [CryptRand] 0 bytes of randomness leftover in the buffer.
[info] [MessageCache] MessageCache::load: Loading en... local cache is empty, got from global cache
=> "Recent changes"

Editline integration[edit]

PsySH can integrate with readline / editline (PHP usually comes pre-built with the latter).

A sample .editrc for history search:

# make PgUp/PgDown work, sort of
# editline has no prefix search so use fulltext search
bind "\e[5~" ed-search-prev-history
bind "\e[6~" ed-search-next-history

See also[edit]