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Discussion on: No method too small

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Ben Sinclair

Did you ever found yourself in a situation where you wished your stack trace was just a little bit more in-depth? Tell me in the comments ^_^

Yeah. Especially with PHP, where exceptions and error handling were apparently designed by some kind of moustache-twirling Disney villain.

I started off by adding this to my Vim config:

  autocmd FileType php nnoremap <buffer> <leader>dump Oheader('X-XSS-Protection:0');ob_get_clean(); echo '<pre>'; var_dump(); echo '</pre>'; die(__FILE__ . ':' . __LINE__);<esc>2F(a
  autocmd FileType php nnoremap <buffer> <leader>back Oheader('X-XSS-Protection:0');ob_get_clean(); echo '<pre>'; foreach (debug_backtrace() as $d) { echo $d['file'] . ':' . $d['line'] . ' ' . $d['function'] . "()\n"; } echo '</pre>'; die(__FILE__ . ':' . __LINE__);<esc>^

which meant I could use <space>dump to dump a variable regardless of the current state of the output buffering, and <space>back to give me a simplified backtrace. Why couldn't I just print out debug_backtrace(), I hear you ask? Because PHP usually dies when you do that, because recursive calls cause the process to run out of memory while trying to print your debugging message. Yes.

When that wasn't enough, and I couldn't step through with a debugger (happens more than you'd expect) I wrote my own entire backtrace/debug module which shows you context, lets you click through to bitbucket or github or wherever the code is, lets you open each line in your local editor, gives info about VCS branches, PHP versions, that sort of thing. I had to use a lot of hacks to get it to work because PHP is so unfriendly towards debugging. But it does clever things like detecting if the exception was from PDO and printing the faulting SQL. I was quite pleased with that.