Sunday, August 22, 2010

Finally a more stable development environment for PHP/Joomla

Working on our Joomla based website has been a pain for the longest time for me.  I have the development setup using XAMPP 1.7.3, and Netbeans 6.8. One of the key tool for a developer is the ability to run in debug more and step-through the code, inspecting the variables during runtime.  Unfortunately, for my default setup, the Apache HTTPD process crashing when ever I tried to inspect a variable.  A quick Google on the web showed there is a lot of people facing similar issue:
When our website got hacked as mentioned in an earlier post, the migration from Joomla 1.0.x to 1.5.x would have been a lot more easier with a properly setup development environment.

The good news xdebug v2.1.0 release on 2010-06-29 has been working a lot more stable for me.  Although still crashes a lot, way more than what I am use to on the Java platform, it manages to hold up for most of the time in order for me to inspect the code and runtime variable to get a good sense of what is going on.  Good thing is the current website is still fairly stateless and I could get back to the page or state I want to debug fairly quickly after a crash.

Perhaps this why there is still a lot of debate on whehter PHP is ready for the enterprise.  I hate to be working on an issue deep inside a complicated workflow on a PHP platform!