Debugging

A few words on bugs and software quality

From time to time I see bugs in the code and I start thinking "really? is it possible that no one noticed that bug before? am i the first person to see this code?". I thought it might be worth writing a little post on what helps me to deal with bugs and software quality in general and what are the common pitfalls in developer's thought process. Although it is not a very extensive post i hope it may inspire some developers to try new approaches :-)

In general it is extremely rare for me to commit bugs that would make it into production (maybe less than one a year? hard to say as it is really rare). To be honest I can't remember a serious issue with my code for last 5 years.

Zend Studio debugger toolbar for firefox 3.6

The latest version of Firefox 3.6 does not work with Zend Studio Toolbar which is necessary to use debugging and profiling in Zend Studio for Eclipse. There is a working solution though :)

Some nice people prepared modified xpi file which can be downloaded and installed with firefox 3.6. It works like a charm.

More efficient ways of debugging SOAP based Web Services from PHP

I have worked with SOAP services from time to time but now i have actually even nicer way to debug them. I still use SOAPUI as its an amazing tool but now i can easily see what is PHP doing :- )

Before, i would simply log everything in raw xml with headers etc. before i sent it out and whenever i got a response back i would log hat too. This is a great way to keep history of what was actually sent and what did we actually get back in case of any investigations etc. It does not impact the performance that much if your volumes of calls are low so you can even enable it temporarily on production servers to see what is there.

Cross browser debugging of javascript code with ExtJS debug console

I have came across a nice new javascript debugging console from ExtJS.

It is a simplified version of firebug but the good thing is that it works in any browser so you can use debigging and inspecting of your code and pages in any browser in the same way.

Looking for infinite loops and recursions in PHP code

From time to time you get some very nasty errors like infinite recursion or infinite loop. Being able to locate the error is crucial to quickly solving the problem.

Here are two tips that can help you find such nasty bugs in PHP code.

First version of memcache stats script based on memcache.php

My work requires me to work more on performance optimizations so i need to do some home work from time to time :-) lately i started getting deeper into memcache to learn its internal structure and algorithms used. I know i wont make survive without a simple and quick way of checking status and statistics of my memcache. As a result of last weekend i am happy to share a nice stats tool.

Enjoy.

Xdebug is sometimes better than Zend Debugger

I worked lately a lot with both zend debugger and xdebug and to be honest the profiler included in Zend Debugger is worse than xdebug. Some more details below.

Firebug in IE7 will save a lot of your time

Internet Explorer is often causing issues as there is no effective way of debugging the websites css and javascript. Firebug is one of the best tools i have ever seen as php developer. Now using a simple link you can run it in IE as well!

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About the author

Artur Ejsmont

Hi, my name is Artur Ejsmont,
welcome to my blog. I am a passionate software engineer living in Sydney and working for Yahoo!

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