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Life Line

Xdebug Update: September 2019

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. More supporters, means that I can dedicate more of my time to improving Xdebug.

In September, I worked on Xdebug for about 30 hours, on the following things:

Bug fixes

I alluded in last month's report that there were still a few bugs to fix before I can release Xdebug 2.8.0 RC1. I have now fixed the main outstanding one that had to do with garbage collection. Additionally, I addressed two issues related to external extensions that do things in a "boutique" way (phalcon and ionCube). I am expecting that the RC1 release will come in the middle of October.

Xdebug 3 development

I started with the development of Xdebug 3, and more specifically, refactoring its different features into their own separate modules. Xdebug's main features (code coverage, debugger, profiler, function tracing) all now live in their own separate directory. At the moment I am refactoring the initialisations of each of the functions so that each "module" is responsible for its own initialisation, instead of everything being done in one big function for PHP's 5 life cycle events (process start/stop, request start/stop/post stop). This work is still ongoing, and not going to be ready for quite some time.

Some of the tedious work—moving the test files into their respective module's directory—has been finished, but there remains plenty to do. My first milestone is reorganising all the code so that it is easy to see where things can be improved. I suspect that will take at least until December.


When I set-up my Patreon tiers I included "this tier will also give you access to podcasts and videos showing upcoming Xdebug features or coding/problem solving sessions" with the Cricket tier and higher. I have now started creating screen casts of my Xdebug 3 work, and made them available to the Cricket and higher tiers. The first one is also available on Vimeo. I plan to release these screen casts through Patreon continuously, and also make some of them available for non patrons on Vimeo in the future. In the near future, I would also like to experiment by doing live session through Twitch.

I have embedded the first one here too:

Ep 001 — Breaking up the globals

Once Xdebug 3 gets to a usable state and I've redone settings and functionality, I will also be producing tutorials and training sessions.

A Business Supporter Scheme

Although I have been going on about Patreon for half a year now, it isn't really quite a solution for companies that want to help out. Patreon doesn't really do invoices correctly, which might be required for a company to be able to help to fund my work on Xdebug. Patreon is also mostly focussed on individual developers, and being able to get "perks", which also doesn't really match with the needs of companies.

With that in mind, I have launched a Business Supporter Scheme.

To differentiate this from the "Open Source side", I've decided that I will only do community support through Stack Overflow. And henceforth I will close down my support mailing list—it gets hardly any traffic anyway. Pro and Business subscribers will be able to get support through email. If a company signs up for a Business package, I will also include them in the list of supporters on a new "transparency" page. In the future, other perks will also only be made available to Pro and/or Business supporters.

I believe that when funding is involved, it is also important to show where the funding comes from, and how it is being used. On this page you can see exactly that information. I will update this at least monthly and when there is a new supporter.

Let me know if you have any questions or comments about this scheme, or if you want to sign up for it! You can find the contact details on the Supporting Xdebug page.

This month's new supporters are Intracto, TYPO3 GmbH, and Tideways. Thanks!


I have been continuing with the PHP Internals News podcast. 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. Let me know if you are a listener!


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