Quite often I will try and run a PHP script and just get a blank screen back. No error message; just an empty screen. The cause might have been a simple syntax error (wrong bracket, missing semicolon), or a failed function call, or something else entirely.

It is very difficult to figure out what went wrong. I end up commenting out code, entering “echo” statements everywhere, etc. trying to narrow down the problem. But there surely must be a better way, right?

Is there a way to get PHP to produce a useful error message, like Java does?

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php debugging error-handling
edited Nov 19, 2019 at 18:58


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For syntax errors, you need to enable error display in the php.ini. By default these are turned off because you don”t want a “customer” seeing the error messages. Check this page in the PHP documentation for information on the 2 directives: error_reporting and display_errors. display_errors is probably the one you want to change. If you can”t modify the php.ini, you can also add the following lines to an .htaccess file:

php_flag display_errors onphp_value error_reporting 2039You may want to consider using the value of E_ALL (as mentioned by Gumbo) for your version of PHP for error_reporting to get all of the errors. more info

3 other items: (1) You can check the error log file as it will have all of the errors (unless logging has been disabled). (2) Adding the following 2 lines will help you debug errors that are not syntax errors:

error_reporting(-1);ini_set(“display_errors”, “On”);(3) Another option is to use an editor that checks for errors when you type, such as PhpEd. PhpEd also comes with a debugger which can provide more detailed information. (The PhpEd debugger is very similar to xdebug and integrates directly into the editor so you use 1 program to do everything.)

Cartman”s link is also very good: http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/library/os-debug/

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