Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Joomla Debugging.

I've gotten by without needing a real debugger for Joomla extension development, up until now, when I'm upgrading some extensions from V2,x to V3 conventions.  I've got a background in serious debugging (assembly, real time and networking, C++) but just never really needed more than I could get by with using JDump and other means of logging and debugging.

So, two days ago, I took what seemed to be the natural jump, installing Eclipse and LAMP with XDebug on a spare UBuntu machine.  After a day and a half , I managed to get a limping project to semi-reliably breakpoint in index.php, but then couldn't figure out what to do next.  And oh, why does Eclipse have to be quite so heavy in getting a working configuration without hiring an expert to set it up?

Dismayed about facing another day or so to get to the problem I'm currently trying to debug, I decided to give Netbeans a quick look.  I made one small false start, using UBuntu apt-get install netbeans, which installs V7 of the IDE which only supports up to V5.3 PHP (as of November 2014).  But that was just a 20 minute mistake, easily resolved by uninstalling and then using the Netbeans direct package download of the PHP-HTML version of the Netbeans package 8.x.  Ten minutes later, PHP plugin installed and a package created out of the joomla install directory.  Another 5 minutes to get into the debugger in index.php (had to figure out how to configure the port, added 3 minutes).  And lo, I could step out into other files, without figuring out anything else like setting up an ant build to create the information required for cross file debugging.  Another 5 minutes to learn how to get into my component's back end.

I don't know if in the long run I could do more with Eclipse, but given that I'm pretty attached to Dreamweaver and usually don't need serious debugging,  I give Netbeans / PHP / XDebug a gold star for the day, and assume tomorrow, I'll be able to figure out the problem that I couldn't resolve without a debugger, with little or no further futzing around to figure out how to get to HELLO, WORLD, WTF?  Good night!


Friday, February 7, 2014

Subtle Patterns

While revamping our several year old website, I needed to find textures for backgrounds, and came across Subtle Patterns.  They provide royalty free textures, though the license requires a credit for commercial use. Here's ours!  Thanks,Atle!