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Derick Rethans:
Good Bye PHP 5
Jan 11, 2017 @ 10:13:53

On his site Derick Rethans has posted an announcement about a major change in the Xdebug project (a widely used PHP debugger) he leads, saying goodby to PHP 5.

A few days ago I merged a patch into on GitHub. Maintaining PHP 5 and PHP 7 support in one code base is not particularly easy, and even more complicated for something like Xdebug, with its deep interactions with PHP's internals.

As PHP 5.6's active support has ended on December 31st, I also felt it no longer needed to support PHP 5 with Xdebug any more. It saves more than 5000 lines of code.

He shares some of the responses to the change (via Tweets) from the community ranging from full support to outcry over the change. He points out that the current version of Xdebug (2.5) will continue to operate on PHP 5 systems but when Xdebug 2.6 rolls around, the 2.5 branch will only receive bugfixes and no new features. You can find out about those upcoming features here.

tagged: xdebug debugging tool php7 php5 upgrade support

Link: https://derickrethans.nl/xdebug-php5.html

Laravel News:
Quickly Dumping Laravel Queries
Nov 28, 2016 @ 12:49:36

The Laravel News site has a quick post today with a helpful hint for those trying to track down exactly what queries their Laravel application is performing on database calls. In this post they show two ways to get this information - one using the Debugbar and the other with a quick script.

When you are building an application and utilizing Eloquent it’s very easy to hit the N+1 problem. This is where you select a model and then later use lazy loading to fetch child records.

They give an example of selecting a user, grabbing it's list of "posts" and then looping through them causing queries to fire for each post individually. A fix for it is using the "with" method to pre-load them but determining this could be tricky. Enter their two solutions: the Laravel Debugbar package and this quick script shared by magkopian that listens for a "kernel.handled" event and outputs the results of the "getQueryLog" method with the Laravel "dd" helper.

tagged: laravel dump queries debugbar debugging sql database tip

Link: https://laravel-news.com/2016/11/quickly-dumping-laravel-queries/

A better dd() for your TDD
Oct 13, 2016 @ 11:57:45

On the Tighten.co blog they have a recent post sharing a better dd() for your TDD - basically a better method for debugging the current state of object with a "dump and die" function.

An important part of every Laravel developer's debugging arsenal is the humble dd() helper function—"dump and die"—to output the contents of a variable and terminate execution of your code. In the browser, dd() results in a structured, easy-to-read tree, complete with little arrow buttons that can be clicked to expand or hide children of nested structures. In the terminal, however, it's a different story.

[...] Fortunately, it's simple to build your very own customized version of dd() to help tame your unwieldy terminal output—helping you find the details you're interested in quickly, without wearing out your trackpad (and your patience).

He provides two options you can use to help clean up the output of a "dump or die" method from the extensive results the current "dd" function provides:

Kint provides a few other helper methods you can use and easily configurable max and min depth to show in the output.

tagged: tdd testing vardumper kint library package output debugging

Link: https://blog.tighten.co/a-better-dd-for-your-tdd

Mark Baker:
PHP Generators – Sending “Gotchas”
Oct 11, 2016 @ 11:54:52

In this post to his site Mark Baker has shared some "sending gotchas" when generators are used in you PHP code. The focus of the article is on the "sending" part, pushing data into the generator for evaluation and use.

If you’re reading this, you’re probably already aware of just how useful PHP’s Generators are for improving performance and/or reducing memory overheads while keeping your code clean and easy to read.

Unlike their equivalent in some programming languages, PHP’s Generators allow you to send data into the Generator itself; not simply at initialisation (the arguments that we pass to the Generator when instantiating it); but also between iterations. This has its own uses, and again, allows us to move code from our main blocks and methods into the Generator itself. [...] However, there are a few “gotchas” when we combine Generators that both return and accept data in this way, and it really helps to be aware of them when we’re developing, otherwise it can create problems.

He starts simple, showing a generator that uses integers passed in as the starting number and addition interval for each loop. He gets a bit more complex in his next example, having a method called inside the loop. While the first instance of this behaves as expected, the second (after minor modification) yields unexpected results. He walks you through what's happening to produce those results and one possibility on how to get it corrected.

tagged: generator gotcha issue unexpected results debugging workaround

Link: https://markbakeruk.net/2016/10/08/php-generators-sending-gotchas/

Liip Blog:
Let’s debug in Drupal 8 !
Jun 20, 2016 @ 09:23:37

In a new post to the Liip blog Karine Chor shares some helpful Drupal 8 debugging tips and things you can do to determine what you code is doing "under the covers".

It has been nearly 7 months since Drupal 8 first release and as a developer, I am still in the learning process. It can be hard sometimes to know what is going wrong with your code and how to solve it. I will tell you about few things to know on how to develop and debug Drupal 8 projects and continue learning, learning and learning !

Her tips cover topics like:

  • Disabling cache
  • Displaying errors
  • Creating log messages
  • Debugging Twig templates
  • Profiling pages

The post ends with a section covering use of the the Drupal command line tool to provide even more real-time debugging functionality.

tagged: debugging drupal8 commandline cache error log twig profiler tutorial

Link: https://blog.liip.ch/archive/2016/06/20/lets-debug-drupal-8.html

Never Use null
May 03, 2016 @ 13:07:32

On the QaFoo.com blog they've made a recommendation in their latest post - they suggest that you never use null.

When doing code reviews together with our customers we see a pattern regularly which I consider problematic in multiple regards – the usage of null as a valid property or return value. We can do better than this.

Let's go into common use cases first and then discuss how we can improve the code to make it more resilient against errors and make it simpler to use. Most issues highlighted are especially problematic when others are using your source code. As long as you are the only user (which hopefully is not the case) those patterns might be fine.

They talk about some of the most common uses they see for using null in PHP applications including setters for class properties (injection). They point out that in PHP 7 a missing value on a property would result in a Fatal error and make the functionality harder to test overall. They suggest that all required dependencies be injected on object construction instead, making it easier to know the current state of the object on testing. They also talk some about using null as a return value, how it could make debugging difficult and a solution that could make more sense - throwing an exception instead.

tagged: never use null return value injection setter solution suggestion debugging

Link: https://qafoo.com/blog/083_never_use_null.html

Adam Culp:
Using an SSH tunnel to step debug through a firewall
Apr 19, 2016 @ 10:54:28

Adam Culp has followed up some of his previous posts about the setup and configuration of remote debugging in PHP applications (more specifically in Zend Studio) with this new post. In it he shows how to use a SSH tunnel to allow debugging to happen through a firewall for those cases when direct access isn't possible.

In a previous post I covered how to set up step debugging in Zend Studio. But if that doesn’t work there may be a firewall in between the server and the debugging client, or IDE, preventing the connection. Here is a possible way to get around that.

He assumes that you already have the SSH server and connection available to you (he doesn't cover the install of that part). He then steps you through the setup of Zend Studio to add a new server, configure the SSH tunneling and remote/local ports to use. In his case he was using Zend Server so switching on debugging was as easy as turning in debugging via the toolbar. It's also worth noting that another popular PHP IDE can handle SSH-based debugging as well - PHPStorm - as seen here.

tagged: remote debugging ssh zendstudio setup configure tutorial phpstorm

Link: http://www.geekyboy.com/archives/1242

Adam Culp:
Setting up step debugging in Zend Studio
Apr 11, 2016 @ 11:52:43

Adam Culp has posted a guide on his site showing you how to set up debugging in Zend Studio, the PHP IDE from Zend. In it he walks you through the setup on both the server and client side to get them working happily together.

Recently I was helping someone set up step debugging in Zend Studio, and had some difficulties. Therefore I decided to create a blog post to remind me later, and perhaps help others get it set up.

I was doing this on an Ubuntu laptop, so while menus may vary slightly the process should be very similar. Also, I did this using a local virtual machine in VirtualBox, but using Bridged networking mode to simulate a remote server. In Zend Studio I had a project created with the Zend Framework Skeleton Application, and created a virtualhost in the virtual environment that mirrored that.

He starts with the server, pointing out that the only thing really needed there is an installed and working version of Xdebug. He then goes through each step in the IDE, complete with screenshots:

  • Configuring the server in the Preferences
  • Testing the connection between the two
  • Enabling debugging on the project
  • Ensuring the server is configured correctly to use debugging when specified

While some of his instructions are more specific to a Zend Server installation, they can still be mostly applied to any kind of system. You can also check the Xdebug documentation for additional help.

tagged: debugging zendstudio guide zendserver configuration testing xdebug

Link: http://www.geekyboy.com/archives/1220

Andreas Gohr:
Visualizing XDebug Traces
Feb 29, 2016 @ 12:49:44

Andreas Gohr has posted an interesting article to his site showing you how you can easily visualize XDebug stack traces and make them a bit more clear than the usual output dump.

As alluded to in yesterday's post, I'm currently hunting an elusive bug with xdebug. The problem is, that it only happens sporadically and when I know it happened it is too late to set a break point. So usual debugging methods don't work. Instead I want to use xdebug's execution tracing: let it log all function calls and then pick through the log when the bug occurs.

[...] To ease my debugging I looked for tools that could read the computer readable format. I found a few promising candidates, but in the end they either didn't work or they did not provide what I needed. So instead of hunting the bug, I built a tool

His tool takes in the XDebug output and turns it into something much more readable and properly nested.

tagged: tool library nested output trace stack debugging xdebug

Link: http://www.splitbrain.org/blog/2016-02/27-visualizing_xdebug_traces

PHP Roundtable:
034: Debugging is more than var_dump()
Nov 17, 2015 @ 11:09:48

The PHP Roundtable podcast, with host and PHP community member Sammy Kaye Powers, has posted their latest episode with a look at why "Debugging is more than var_dump()". In this episode Sammy is joined by Derick Rethans (of Xdebug fame), Colin O'Dell and Gary Hockin.

Believe it or not, there's a lot more to debugging your PHP code than var_dump()'ing all the things. We discuss how to use debugging tools to help us comprehensively debug our codebase.

You can watch the playback of the live recording of the episode either using the in-page video player or directly on YouTube. If you enjoy the episode be sure to subscribe to their feed and follow them on Twitter to get information about new episodes as they're released and when future live recordings are happening.

tagged: phproundtable ep34 debugging vardump tools podcast

Link: https://www.phproundtable.com/episode/debugging-is-more-than-var-dump