Skip to main content
Version: 4.4

Deprecation API

Since 4.4

When deprecating a code feature, it is often desirable to include a reasonable amount of information, and to provide a consistent deprecation message.

In some cases it is also desirable to check if a called class, or method, has been marked as deprecated.

One way to simplify this is through use of the \core\attribute\deprecated PHP attribute, which can be used in conjunction with the \core\deprecation class.


Please note that the attribute does not replace the @deprecated phpdoc annotation. They serve slightly different purposes.

The attribute can be used to specify information including:

  • the replacement for that feature
  • the version that the feature was deprecated in
  • the relevant MDL
  • the reason for deprecation
  • whether the deprecation is final

The deprecated attribute

The attribute is a Moodle PHP Attribute and can be applied to:

  • classes, traits, interfaces, and enums
  • enum cases
  • global functions
  • class constants, properties, and methods
Example attribute usage
// On a global function:
#[\core\attribute\deprecated('random_bytes', since: '4.3')]
function random_bytes_emulate($length) {
// Replaced by random_bytes since Moodle 4.3.

// On a class:
#[\core\attribute\deprecated(replacement: null, since: '4.4', reason: 'This functionality has been removed.')]
class example {
replacement: '\core\example::do_something',
since: '4.3',
reason: 'No longer required',
mdl: 'MDL-12345',
public function do_something(): void {}

// On an enum case:
enum example {
#[\core\attribute\deprecated('example::OPTION', since: '4.4', final: true)]
case OPTION;

Inspecting the attribute

The \core\deprecation class contains helper methods to inspect for use of the deprecated attribute and allows usage including:

  • checking if a feature is deprecated
  • emitting a deprecation notice if a feature is deprecated
  • fetching an instance of the attribute to query further
Examples of usage
// A method which has been initially deprecated, and replaced by 'random_bytes'. It should show debugging.
/** @deprecated since 4.3 */
#[\core\attribute\deprecated('random_bytes', since: '4.3')]
function random_bytes_emulate($length) {
return random_bytes($length);

// A method which has been finally deprecated and should throw an exception.
/** @deprecated since 2.7 */
#[\core\attribute\deprecated(replacement: 'Events API', since: '2.3', final: true)]
function add_to_log() {

// Checking when an enum case is deprecated:
\core\deprecation::is_deprecated(\core\param::RAW); // Returns false.
\core\deprecation::is_deprecated(\core\param::INTEGER); // Returns true.

// On an collection of items.
foreach ($values as $value) {

// Checking if a class is deprecated:
\core\deprecation::is_deprecated(\core\task\manager::class); // Returns false.

// Checking if an instantiated class is deprecated:
\core\deprecation::is_deprecated(new \moodle_url('/example/'));

// Checking if a class method is deprecated:
\core\deprecation::is_deprecated([\moodle_url::class, 'out']);
\core\deprecation::is_deprecated([new \moodle_url('/example/'), 'out']);

This functionality is intended to simplify deprecation of features such as constants, enums, and related items which are called from centralised APIs and difficult to detect as deprecated.