Eclipse is a great IDE and Xdebug adds a lot of usefull features for PHP debugging. With PDT plugin for Eclipse, you can use Eclipse as a debug client for Xdebug and debug live PHP code !
I won't describe here how to setup each of these tools. You may find many better written articles about that (with lots of screenshots and all other fancy stuff). I will simply expose how to solve a few very annoying bugs in this configuration which can drive you crazy.
No output when debugging in browser
When you choose to debug a PHP script in an external browser, the output of your script isn't sent to the browser until the debug session is terminated ! I verified it with Wireshark, the browser gets absolutely nothing (not even the HTTP headers) and keeps waiting. None of the *ob_* or *flush* functions seem to help it. I kept trying different PHP options and even editing Xdebug source code until I found the implicit_flush setting which makes it work !!! Just add
implicit_flush = On
to your php.ini and you'll be able to see your output in live !
I really think it's a bug because when you normally run a PHP script without output buffering, the headers and the content are sent to the client before the end of execution. Maybe Xdebug messes up some internal PHP configuration when it sets up a debugging session.
Very annoying and useless DEBUG SESSION ENDED new page
As you terminate a browser debug session, a new browser window pops up saying DEBUG SESSION ENDED. WTF ?! Why do we need to make a HTTP query to stop the debug session ?! The DBGP protocol used by PDT has a stop command. One more time with Wireshark I saw that this command is issued by PDT and Xdebug answers ok to it !
The only solution I found was to make a wrapper for Firefox to ignore these queries. It works very well. Even better, I found a way to close the Firefox window with your application when you terminate the debug session !
Eclipse opens web browsers with additionnal parameters you cannot disable !
Here comes another Eclipse bug, when you set up an external browser some implicit parameters are passed to it and there is no way to disable it. For example, it doesn't execute
firefox -remote openURL(%URL%)
WFT ?! I don't want it to grab my existing Firefox instance and mess around with it ! So here's the wrapper to solve the two problems above. Create a new Firefox profile named eclipse by running
firefox -profile-manager -no-remote
Now set up Eclipse to use the following script as web browser. Debug sessions will be opened in a new window and when you terminate it, this window will automatically close !
URL=$(grep -o 'http://[^)]*' <<< "$@")
echo "$URL" >> /tmp/url
if !(grep -q 'XDEBUG_SESSION_STOP_NO_EXEC' <<< "$URL") ; then
firefox -no-remote -P eclipse "$URL" &
echo "$!" > /tmp/eclipse-firefox.pid
kill $(cat /tmp/eclipse-firefox.pid)
rm -f /tmp/eclipse-firefox.pid
I made my tests on PHP 5.3, Xdebug 2.1, Xdebug 2.2-dev, Eclipse Ganymede, Eclipse Galileo, Eclipse Helios and PDT 2.1 and PDT 2.2 on Debian SID (amd64).
Let me know if these workarounds did it for you or if you found more elegant solutions to those problems.
Edit : here's a port of this wrapper on Windows.