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Top 6 PHP Debugging Tools For Smart Developers

Updated on September 3, 2021

6 Min Read
php debug tools

The debugging process has historically been a challenging and time-consuming one for scripting as well as programming language, which is why many developers would resort to using hacks. Funnily enough, many of these hacks would not work as expected, meaning developers would often end up going back and forth the output and PHP code.

PHP debugging techniques are much easier these days, with a number of PHP debugging tools and PHP frameworks available for developers across all skillsets.

Why Use Debugging Tools?

Users must know how to fix any problems expected to occur while coding with debug tools and PHP extensions. Once the bug is fixed, the software will be ready for deployment and use. Debugger tools can identify code errors at different stages, from compile-time to runtime. With these, developers can execute the program step-by-step by evaluating the value of variables, and stop the execution wherever required.

The Top 6 PHP Debugging Tools Available for Your Use:

Kint

Kint is a debugging tool that outputs information about variables and traces. The debugging process is presented in a styled, collapsible format that is easy to understand and handle. The Kint Debugger coordinates with the Debug Bar plugin through a panel that displays your debug results for your convenience. It is easy to use as compared to other debugging tools, as it works on install and run libraries. Kint also offers remote debugging.

Kint

Features

  • Displays the variable name and file + line where Kint was called from.
  • Detects and formats CLI automatically.
  • Easy and fast to dump variables.

Pros

  • The user can disable all output easily so they can easily debug on the live environment.
  • Kint shows you every piece of the physically available information regarding what you are dumping.
  • The Kint Debugger integrates seamlessly with the Debug Bar plugin.

Cons

  • The source code sent does not automatically sync with the one within the editor. With every release, it can prove
  • troublesome to match up.
  • Requires good connection to the remote server every time you have to access the code live project

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Krumo

Krumo offers engineers a simple block that can be configured to show all of the components of a given array or object. It displays organized data of almost any PHP variable. Krumo is an alternative: for print_r() and var_dump(). It presents information using CSS/JS/HTML.

krumo

Features

Displays organized and formatted results through the stack using a block that stores variables
Prints out a stack of factors utilizing CSS and DHTML in a way that’s more human-readable than the other options available

Pros

  • Can add variables to a stack through a simple function call
  • Can be used as an alternative to built-in print_r and var_dump functions

Cons

  • Heavy HTML with a high memory cost
  • Everything in code and projects needs output buffering to do the job
  • Not too flexible as everything needs to be hardcoded

PHP DebugBar

Said to be one of the best PHP debuggers, PHPDebugBar coordinates easily with any project, and can show profiling data from any part of your application. It comes built-in with data collectors for standard PHP highlights. It also shows a debug bar within the browser with the data from a PHP script.
PHP Debugbar works on the architecture of data collectors – the objects collecting a specific set of data. It also allows users to save their requests and re-open them.

PHP DebugBar

Features

  • Easy to integrate with any project
  • Handles AJAX requests quickly and effectively
  • Has excellent documentation

Pros

  • Clean, fast, and easy-to-use interface
  • Effectively lets you make your own collectors and their associated view within the bar.
  • In case of a system crash, it saves and re-opens previous requests.

Cons

  • Users have to ensure their web application’s sensitive information is fully protected.

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Pinba

Pinba can not exactly be called a debugging tool, Pinba is basically a MySQL plugin that works as a real-time monitoring server while PHP is running with MYSQL. It helps developers to monitor the performance of PHP scripts, and locate bottlenecks in real-time.

pinba

Features

  • Provides a read-only interface for the raw data to generate more precise reports and stats
  • Processes data by sending over UDP via multiple PHP processes
  • Displays statistics in a human-readable form

Pros

  • Pinba extension clients can measure specific parts of the code utilizing timers with arbitrary labels
  • Monitors the performance of PHP scripts, locate bottlenecks in real-time

Cons

  • No graphical tools to display Pinba statistics so users must write their own scripts using RRDTool
  • Consumes extra memory as it has a separate data store for every script

Xdebug

Xdebug is an open-source project that is one of the foremost valuable PHP debug tools. It offers good fundamental debugging support, as well as stack traces, profiling and code scope. It is most recommended for the newbies as it is the most reliable debug tool for PHP. Xdebug is the go-to extension when troubleshooting a problem whose cause is utterly unknown to you.

Xdebug

Features:

  • Lets you can add conditional breakpoints to see the state of your application at any point.
  • Uses visualisation tools, to analyse the performance of your PHP application and find bottlenecks.

Pros:

  • Most modern IDE supports Xdebug
  • Proactively debugs during development instead of reacting to existing code issues

Cons:

  • Pause Program not available during debugging.
  • Interrupting the debugging process halts the execution.
  • Visualization lacks depth

Whoops

Whoops is an error-handler PHP debugger tool that is accessible as a Composer bundle. It’s known for making a difference when handling blunders and exceptions, and debugging them over your PHP projects. With an excellent interface that helps you debug your web projects, it’s a simple yet powerful stacked error handling system. Due to its support with JSON and AJAX, Whoops is recommended for the development of large scale websites.

whoops

Features:

  • Flexible, stack-based error handling.
  • Simple API for dealing with exceptions, trace frames & their data.
  • Supports JSON, AJAX, XML & SOAP.
  • Easy to extend and integrate with existing libraries.

Pros:

  • Provides a clean, compact, and tested code-base, with no extra dependencies
  • Line highlight follows code view for all outlines in a stack.

Cons:

  • Necessary to declare all the controllers during error handling.

Conclusion

A PHP debugger tool helps in the development and debugging and when you’re trying to deal with a bug, it can be hard to understand where to begin. A PHP debugging tool provides a single-step debugger that you can use with an IDE. The PHP debugging tools mentioned in this piece offer a more user-friendly way of debugging that should help developers deal with the problem quickly.

Q. Can VSCode debug PHP ?

A: In Visual Studio Code, you’ve got to select “File” and “Open Folder” and select the folder of your PHP code. select the “Debug View”, after that click on the debug button to begin arranging your debugging environment. The first time the Debug button is selected it will create a debugging configuration file.

Q. Is there a PHP debugger ?

A: PHP code can be debugged by utilizing a number of different debugging tools. PhpStorm IDE works with debug utilities like Xdebug and ZendDebugger. Being multilingual (understanding or using several languages), you would like an IDE that can support different types of languages.

Q. What are the PHP debugging tools for Firefox ?

A: You can debug PHP code in Firefox using multiple debugging tools. Firefox provides an extension for popular PHP debugging tools including FirePHP, Xdebug, Firebug, and others.

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Inshal Ali

Inshal is a Content Marketer at Cloudways. With background in computer science, skill of content and a whole lot of creativity, he helps business reach the sky and go beyond through content that speaks the language of their customers. Apart from work, you will see him mostly in some online games or on a football field.

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