Sun, May
7 New Articles

TechTip: More on Studio PHP Scripts

  • Smaller Small Medium Big Bigger
  • Default Helvetica Segoe Georgia Times

Last month, we got into Zend Studio and created a script and ran it in Studio. We’re going to review that a bit this month and start talking about debuggers. Come on, it will be fun.


OK, a month has gone by. You have probably forgotten everything we touched on previously, so let’s get started slowly. We will start by introducing a bug into our PHP script.

A Quick Review

Open Zend Studio by double-clicking on the icon or its entry in the All Programs thingy.

A window asking you to select a workspace may open if you have not set a default value, but you should be able to just click OK. If you want to avoid seeing this in the future, select a default workspace (you probably have only one to choose from). It doesn’t hurt to set a default if you work in one specific workspace most of the time. When you get sophisticated enough to have multiple workspaces, it’s easy to switch by using File > Switch Workspace.

Continuing on, Zend Studio and its many windows will then appear. If when you ended your last session you left the PHP Explorer window open with file1.php on it, then that should still be open.

If not, click on PHP over on the top right side of the screen and the PHP Explorer sub-window will appear. In the PHP Explorer sub-window, find the File1.php script in the TechTip project (or whatever project you put it in) and double-click on it to open it up. Or you could select the TechTip project that we created last month and then click on File > PHP File (it’s quite a way down the list) to open the window to create a new file in this project.

Either way, set up the code in your script so that you have five echo statements as shown below.


Figure 1: This is the PHP script window (good code).

Echo, of course, is the operator that will display something on the browser window. Lines 2, 4, and 6 are pretty self-explanatory; we will show the text there on the bowser page. Lines 3 and 5 are a way of introducing a break line, so rather than the three verbiages being squashed together on one line, each will appear on its own line.

The code looks good, but let’s just make sure by running this script.

Go up to the very top line of the screen, the menu line where it says Zend Studio and File, Edit, Refactor, etc., and slide on over to Run. Position on this to open the drop-down menu and then slip down that to Run again. Click on this Run.

After a moment, you should be able to look at the window in the bottom right. And if you click on the Browser Output tab, it should show you the result of running the script. This is what things look like when everything works correctly.


Figure 2: In the PHP source window, you have good run results.

Introducing a Syntax Error

OK, so far, so good. Now here is what we’re going to do. Go to the script source window, and in the code for the second “echo” (the “My Name is Dave” line), remove the second double quote by the period. Thus, the quotes will be out of balance, and we will have a syntax error. Your code should now look like this.


Figure 3: A code error is introduced in the PHP source window.

The first thing you will notice is that there is a little red x on line 6. Things in red are rarely good news, and that is the case here. Unfortunately, it is not as much help as it could be because 6 is not the line that has the problem; that line is actually 4. And the only reason that the x shows up is because Zend Studio is smart enough to recognize a syntax error (a missing quote). Other types of errors would not be called out in this way. (It could be smarter and show the x on the line that was actually having the problem. Details.)

But it’s all good because now you know that there is a problem with syntax and you can visually inspect the lines above this and look for the issue. What happens if we run this script?

Let’s find out. Go up to the file menu and click Save. Don’t close the file; you need it open in the source window so the system knows what script we want to run, but Save what is there. And actually, you don’t even need to do this step because when you run an unsaved script, Studio will prompt you to save it. Yes, it’s all about you.

Once it is saved but still visible, run the script by going to Run, and then Run again just as we did before.

When you do this, the output in the Browser Output window changes, and now it is not so nice. As you can see, it identifies a line but again, that is not really the line that is having the problem. PHP is funny that way.


Figure 4: The PHP source window shows error output.


Debugging in Studio

Of course, this problem is not a difficult one to fix. Nor is it really the type of error that requires some serious debugging. A quick visual inspection of your code is enough to reveal this problem, but for more serious problems, you need to be able to debug.

And that is one of the nice things about Studio: It has a debugger built right in. Can’t get that with WAMP/MAMP/LAMP and a text editor (although most browsers have some debugging capabilities built into them).

In fact, you have two options available to you in Studio. The first is the standard Zend Debugger, and that is what we will use in this tip. The other is to bring in Xdebug, a separate function that can also be used standalone with a text editor and which is very popular in the PHP world. But you can also use it within Studio.

Debugging in Studio is a big topic and covers a lot of areas. It’s not that it’s hard (we will see that it isn’t), but it is broad. There is an awful lot you can do in terms of debugging when using Studio, and we are going to touch on only a small part of what is available. Perhaps we’ll do some more complex debugging later, that is, if I live that long. Not that there’s anything wrong with me…well, of course, there’s something wrong with me, but it’s not physical. Oh, never mind. My doctor says the less I talk about it, the better off I am.

Debug Anyone?

So we could use the Zend Debugger to find and fix this syntax problem, right?

Uh, no, actually we can’t. The Zend Debugger will not work unless the script is syntactically correct.

That’s not so unusual. Even on the IBM i, you can’t debug a program until you get a clean compile. Of course, with PHP you don’t have a compile and you don’t get an object (more or less), but you still need a clean program.

Once you do have this clean script, you can use Zend Debug to set breakpoints, roll down through the script, and determine logic or value errors just like you can in the i.

But that’s not going to happen this month because we are all out of time. But stay tuned as we get into debug and how to use it.

David Shirey

David Shirey is president of Shirey Consulting Services, providing technical and business consulting services for the IBM i world. Among the services provided are IBM i technical support, including application design and programming services, ERP installation and support, and EDI setup and maintenance. With experience in a wide range of industries (food and beverage to electronics to hard manufacturing to drugs--the legal kind--to medical devices to fulfillment houses) and a wide range of business sizes served (from very large, like Fresh Express, to much smaller, like Labconco), SCS has the knowledge and experience to assist with your technical or business issues. You may contact Dave by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by phone at (616) 304-2466.

MC Press books written by David Shirey available now on the MC Press Bookstore.

21st Century RPG: /Free, ILE, and MVC 21st Century RPG: /Free, ILE, and MVC
Boost your productivity, modernize your applications, and upgrade your skills with these powerful coding methods.
List Price $69.95

Now On Sale



Support MC Press Online

$0.00 Raised:

Book Reviews

Resource Center

  • SB Profound WC 5536 Have you been wondering about Node.js? Our free Node.js Webinar Series takes you from total beginner to creating a fully-functional IBM i Node.js business application. You can find Part 1 here. In Part 2 of our free Node.js Webinar Series, Brian May teaches you the different tooling options available for writing code, debugging, and using Git for version control. Brian will briefly discuss the different tools available, and demonstrate his preferred setup for Node development on IBM i or any platform. Attend this webinar to learn:

  • SB Profound WP 5539More than ever, there is a demand for IT to deliver innovation. Your IBM i has been an essential part of your business operations for years. However, your organization may struggle to maintain the current system and implement new projects. The thousands of customers we've worked with and surveyed state that expectations regarding the digital footprint and vision of the company are not aligned with the current IT environment.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT Generic IBM announced the E1080 servers using the latest Power10 processor in September 2021. The most powerful processor from IBM to date, Power10 is designed to handle the demands of doing business in today’s high-tech atmosphere, including running cloud applications, supporting big data, and managing AI workloads. But what does Power10 mean for your data center? In this recorded webinar, IBMers Dan Sundt and Dylan Boday join IBM Power Champion Tom Huntington for a discussion on why Power10 technology is the right strategic investment if you run IBM i, AIX, or Linux. In this action-packed hour, Tom will share trends from the IBM i and AIX user communities while Dan and Dylan dive into the tech specs for key hardware, including:

  • Magic MarkTRY the one package that solves all your document design and printing challenges on all your platforms. Produce bar code labels, electronic forms, ad hoc reports, and RFID tags – without programming! MarkMagic is the only document design and print solution that combines report writing, WYSIWYG label and forms design, and conditional printing in one integrated product. Make sure your data survives when catastrophe hits. Request your trial now!  Request Now.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericForms of ransomware has been around for over 30 years, and with more and more organizations suffering attacks each year, it continues to endure. What has made ransomware such a durable threat and what is the best way to combat it? In order to prevent ransomware, organizations must first understand how it works.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericIT security is a top priority for businesses around the world, but most IBM i pros don’t know where to begin—and most cybersecurity experts don’t know IBM i. In this session, Robin Tatam explores the business impact of lax IBM i security, the top vulnerabilities putting IBM i at risk, and the steps you can take to protect your organization. If you’re looking to avoid unexpected downtime or corrupted data, you don’t want to miss this session.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericCan you trust all of your users all of the time? A typical end user receives 16 malicious emails each month, but only 17 percent of these phishing campaigns are reported to IT. Once an attack is underway, most organizations won’t discover the breach until six months later. A staggering amount of damage can occur in that time. Despite these risks, 93 percent of organizations are leaving their IBM i systems vulnerable to cybercrime. In this on-demand webinar, IBM i security experts Robin Tatam and Sandi Moore will reveal:

  • FORTRA Disaster protection is vital to every business. Yet, it often consists of patched together procedures that are prone to error. From automatic backups to data encryption to media management, Robot automates the routine (yet often complex) tasks of iSeries backup and recovery, saving you time and money and making the process safer and more reliable. Automate your backups with the Robot Backup and Recovery Solution. Key features include:

  • FORTRAManaging messages on your IBM i can be more than a full-time job if you have to do it manually. Messages need a response and resources must be monitored—often over multiple systems and across platforms. How can you be sure you won’t miss important system events? Automate your message center with the Robot Message Management Solution. Key features include:

  • FORTRAThe thought of printing, distributing, and storing iSeries reports manually may reduce you to tears. Paper and labor costs associated with report generation can spiral out of control. Mountains of paper threaten to swamp your files. Robot automates report bursting, distribution, bundling, and archiving, and offers secure, selective online report viewing. Manage your reports with the Robot Report Management Solution. Key features include:

  • FORTRAFor over 30 years, Robot has been a leader in systems management for IBM i. With batch job creation and scheduling at its core, the Robot Job Scheduling Solution reduces the opportunity for human error and helps you maintain service levels, automating even the biggest, most complex runbooks. Manage your job schedule with the Robot Job Scheduling Solution. Key features include:

  • LANSA Business users want new applications now. Market and regulatory pressures require faster application updates and delivery into production. Your IBM i developers may be approaching retirement, and you see no sure way to fill their positions with experienced developers. In addition, you may be caught between maintaining your existing applications and the uncertainty of moving to something new.

  • LANSAWhen it comes to creating your business applications, there are hundreds of coding platforms and programming languages to choose from. These options range from very complex traditional programming languages to Low-Code platforms where sometimes no traditional coding experience is needed. Download our whitepaper, The Power of Writing Code in a Low-Code Solution, and:

  • LANSASupply Chain is becoming increasingly complex and unpredictable. From raw materials for manufacturing to food supply chains, the journey from source to production to delivery to consumers is marred with inefficiencies, manual processes, shortages, recalls, counterfeits, and scandals. In this webinar, we discuss how:

  • The MC Resource Centers bring you the widest selection of white papers, trial software, and on-demand webcasts for you to choose from. >> Review the list of White Papers, Trial Software or On-Demand Webcast at the MC Press Resource Center. >> Add the items to yru Cart and complet he checkout process and submit

  • Profound Logic Have you been wondering about Node.js? Our free Node.js Webinar Series takes you from total beginner to creating a fully-functional IBM i Node.js business application.

  • SB Profound WC 5536Join us for this hour-long webcast that will explore:

  • Fortra IT managers hoping to find new IBM i talent are discovering that the pool of experienced RPG programmers and operators or administrators with intimate knowledge of the operating system and the applications that run on it is small. This begs the question: How will you manage the platform that supports such a big part of your business? This guide offers strategies and software suggestions to help you plan IT staffing and resources and smooth the transition after your AS/400 talent retires. Read on to learn: