Debugging PHP Applications at Web Summer Camp 2021

  • David Buchmann

In my workshop at the Web Summer Camp 2021, I trained the participants on how to locate bugs and showed them ways to prevent new bugs through better code quality. Does your team need a boost in debugging? I am happy to give a workshop at your place.

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With Covid-19, physical conferences stopped happening. I gave a talk at the virtual Symfony World conference in 2020. The virtual conference was an interesting experience and a well organised event. But I missed travelling to a foreign place and meeting people between talks and in the evening. Hence, I was absolutely thrilled to be invited to do a workshop at the Web Summer Camp in Croatia.

Web Summer Camp Croatia is a unique event. There are no regular presentations, only hands-on workshops. You see fewer different topics than at a typical conference, but get to deep dive in those instead. The participants who had time to stay an additional day were invited on a boat trip on the beautiful Mediterranean sea.

Debugging PHP Applications

In my debuggin strategies workshop, I used PHP for the examples, but most of the content is applicable to any programming language. Using lots of small exercises, I let the participants try various debugging strategies to locate the bugs I had hidden in the application. Among other things, we did exercises to

  • Understand exception messages and stack traces to locate a problem
  • Use logs to identify where the problem is
  • Use unit tests and a test coverage report to identify an issue
  • Use git bisect to find the commit that introduced a regression
  • Demonstration of step-by-step debugging with the PhpStorm IDE

I also showed the clean code principles as a way to avoid errors from being made. I presented defensive programming and other methods to improve error reporting when something does go wrong.

For the showcase examples, I used a simplistic Symfony application that imports CSV files into a database and shows a query result from that database on the home page. The application is super simple, so that the participants understand what is going on and can focus on the debugging technique of the exercise. Each exercise is a branch in that repository with some change to introduce the bug.

Hire Me ;-)

If you are interested in providing a hands-on workshop for your team, please get in touch with me. Meeting on-site will bring the best value, as the workshop is highly interactive.


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