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Xdebug Update: February 2020

Another month, another monthly update where I explain what happened with Xdebug development in this past month. It will be published on the first Tuesday after the 5th of each month. Patreon supporters will get it earlier, on the first of each month. You can become a patron here to support my work on Xdebug. If you are leading a team or company, then it is also possible to support Xdebug through a subscription.

In February, I worked on Xdebug for just over 75 hours, on the following things:

PHP 8 Compatibility

Although PHP 8 is no where near being released, I am keeping Xdebug's master branch in line with PHP's master branch. A few features have been added to PHP 8 that ended up breaking some code and tests, and some additions to the PHP DOM extension required work on upgrading test cases. When PHP 8 comes out, I am intending to have Xdebug ready to go with it. Hopefully, that will be Xdebug 3.0.

dbgpClient and dbgpProxy

I have now finished work on early-release versions of a DBGp Client (dbgpClient) and DBGp Proxy (dbgpProxy). These tools are written in Go, and binaries can be downloaded from the download page. Source code is not yet available, but I am intending to open that at some point in the near future.

For Xdebug Cloud I can no longer have the debugging protocol going over the network unencrypted. I am therefore working at including SSL support in Xdebug, as well as in the dbgpClient and dbgpProxy tools. The tools already have support as it was easy to add that in Go, but Xdebug does not yet. I've done research and selected BearSSL to provide this.

Asynchronous Debugging Support

Robert Lu has been working on asynchronous support in Xdebug's debugging protocol for a while, the #1016: Support for pause-execution issue. After extensive testing, review, and reworking of the patch by Robert and I, this patch finally landed in Xdebug. The asynchronous support allows you to pause scripts while they are running without a breakpoint to have been hit. This feature needs support in a debugging client, which actively needs to opt into this behaviour. The new dbgpClient from the previous section supports this.

I will be working with purveyors of IDE to also include "pause-exection" in their feature set.

Business Supporter Scheme and Funding

In February, a few new supporters signed up. They are:

Supermetrics, Private Packagist, and CHECK24.


If you, or your company, would also like to support Xdebug, head over to the support page!

Besides business support, I also maintain a Patreon page and a profile on GitHub sponsors.


The PHP Internals News continues its second season. In this weekly podcast, I discuss in 15-30 minutes, proposed new features to the PHP language with fellow PHP internals developers. It is available on Spotify and iTunes, and through an RSS Feed. In the first episode I spoke with Nikita Popov about Preloading and WeakMaps.


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