Posted By: Anonymous
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?
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:
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 on php_value error_reporting 2039
You 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/