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Lesson 5 - PHP Testing - Xdebug and coverage reports

In the previous lesson, PHPUnit DataProvider and BestPractices, we learned how to use the @dataProvider annotation, to test protected methods and best practices. Today, the Xdebug tool is waiting for us, as well as generating Code Coverage reports, which tell us how large is the part of our application the tests cover, and even how well our code is written.


If you started programming in some compiled desktop language (Pascal / C / C++ / Delphi) in the past, you certainly miss a debugger in PHP. In the development environment, we usually had an option to place break points into the program. On these lines, the program stopped and returned focus to the IDE. At this time, we could see the contents of the variables, the memory usage, we could step through the program and watch why it doesn't do what we need. After switching to the web, this tool ceases to work because we call PHP via a request through the web browser and the IDE is then a little out of the process. Or isn't?

Xdebug is a PHP extension that sends messages about the program running using a protocol. Smart IDEs can capture these messages and thus allow debugging the program like it was a desktop application:

PhpStorm debug window

Xdebug offers for example:


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We'll learn to debug PHP applications at runtime using Xdebug and configure it in this tutorial. We'll generate test coverage and code quality reports.

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Article has been written for you by David Capka
The author is a programmer, who likes web technologies and being the lead/chief article writer at He shares his knowledge with the community and is always looking to improve. He believes that anyone can do what they set their mind to.
Unicorn university David learned IT at the Unicorn University - a prestigious college providing education on IT and economics.