Get list of cases in a PHP switch statement

Like the title says, you have a PHP script where a (supposedly long) case switch statement is placed, and you want to programmatically get a list of all the strings for each case.

My use case is, I have a Telegram bot for my own private use, which does several actions, all different among themselves, when receiving user input from a specific account (mine).

The command strings are predetermined, so I have a -long- list of cases like so:

switch(strtolower($text)) {
    case "blah1":
    case "blah2":
    case "blah3":
        echo file_get_contents($someurl);
    // [...]
    case "blah12":
        exec('php somescript.php > /tmp/somescript.log 2>&1 &');

I am adding new commands all the time, with the most different functions, and I might even forget some neat functions exist, so I wanted to implement a function where, in reply to a certain command, the bot lists all possible other commands (a --help function of sorts if you might).

They cannot be simply put inside an array, to be neatly listed at my pleasure, not with a useless excercise of my patience. Also, the listing functionality comes second, the first utility is semantical appropriatedness.

Let’s first say that there is no builtin function in PHP to get a list of cases in switch statement but you can still hack a function yourself.

The following solution is very ugly, but it will work on a simple code, and I would use this only if both of following conditions are verified:

  1. You are the only user of the script (my telegram bot takes into account commands only if they come from my account)
  2. the whole code in the script file basically revolves around the case switch and not much else

This scenario perfectly fits my case, so here’s what I did:

preg_match_all('/case \"([a-z0-9\s]+)\"\:/', file_get_contents(__FILE__), $matches);

You then can use:

foreach ($matches[1] as $casestring) {

or rather, as I actually did in the end, I simply returned:


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