Developer Documentation

Using Xdebug

Bugs are an inevitability of writing code and so Local Server provides an easy way to enable Xdebug when you need it.

Xdebug is installed but not enabled by default because it can slow PHP down considerably. This could make you less productive depending on the work you're doing.

Activating Xdebug

When you need to run your debug client you can append the option --xdebug to the start command:

composer server --xdebug

Note: you do not need to stop the server first to run the above command.

Deactivating Xdebug

You can start the server again without the --xdebug option at any time to deactivate Xdebug:

composer server

Note that the Xdebug extension will still be installed but it will no longer be active.

Setting the Xdebug Mode

The Xdebug mode settings allows you to change what Xdebug does for a given session. This defaults to debug for step-debugging but can be configured on start up by passing a value to the --xdebug flag like so:

composer server --xdebug=trace

The different modes available are:

  • develop
    Enables Development Aids including the overloaded var_dump().
  • coverage
    Enables Code Coverage Analysis to generate code coverage reports, mainly in combination with PHPUnit.
  • debug
    Enables Step Debugging. This can be used to step through your code while it is running, and analyse values of variables.
  • gcstats
    Enables Garbage Collection Statistics to collect statistics about PHP's Garbage Collection Mechanism.
  • profile
    Enables Profiling, with which you can analyse performance bottlenecks with tools like KCacheGrind.
  • trace
    Enables the Function Trace feature, which allows you record every function call, including arguments, variable assignment, and return value that is made during a request to a file.

You can enable multiple modes at the same time by comma separating their identifiers as the value of --xdebug for example --xdebug=develop,trace.

Connecting to Xdebug

Most modern editors will have a built in debug client. Instructions for the following editors are below:

Xdebug is configured to connect to the default port 9003 so there should be a minimum of configuration required in your editor.

VSCode

  1. Open the debug tab (the bug icon on the menu sidebar).
  2. In the dropdown menu at the top of the left hand side bar choose "Add configuration".
  3. In the popup that appears select "PHP" as your environment.
  4. You will be taken a new file called .vscode/launch.json with the default settings:
    {
      "version": "0.2.0",
      "configurations": [
        {
          "name": "Listen for Xdebug",
          "type": "php",
          "request": "launch",
          "port": 9003
        },
        {
          "name": "Launch currently open script",
          "type": "php",
          "request": "launch",
          "program": "${file}",
          "cwd": "${fileDirname}",
          "port": 9003,
        }
      ]
    }
    
  5. Add the following pathMappings property to each configuration:
    {
      "version": "0.2.0",
      "configurations": [
        {
          "name": "Listen for Xdebug",
          "type": "php",
          "request": "launch",
          "port": 9003,
          "pathMappings": {
            "/usr/src/app": "${workspaceRoot}"
          }
        },
        {
          "name": "Launch currently open script",
          "type": "php",
          "request": "launch",
          "program": "${file}",
          "cwd": "${fileDirname}",
          "port": 9003,
          "pathMappings": {
            "/usr/src/app": "${workspaceRoot}"
          }
        }
      ]
    }
    
  6. You are done, click the green play button to start the debug client.

For more information on the available configuration options, including Xdebug settings, view the VSCode Debugging documentation here.

PHPStorm

Local Server takes advantage of PHPStorm's Zero Configuration Debugging. All you need to do is tell it about the server by following these steps:

  1. Go to Preferences > Languages & Frameworks > PHP > Servers (link opens in PHPStorm).
  2. Click the plus icon and create a new Server entry with the following settings:
    • The name should be your project host name: <my-project>.altis.dev
    • The host name should also be: <my-project>.altis.dev
    • Port: 443
    • Check the "Use path mappings" box
    • Next to your project's root directory enter /usr/src/app
    Example PHPStorm Configuration
  3. Set some breakpoints and click the "Listen for Debug Connections" icon PHPStorm Debug Icon