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Using Xdebug in MAMP

Note: This article was originally published at Planet PHP on 18 September 2012.
Planet PHP

My current web development environment basically consists of a Macbook Pro running Mountain Lion, PHPStorm 5.0 and Virtual Box running one ore more virtual Ubuntu Servers with everything needed. Correctly setting up a linux guest OS in Virtual Box with shared folders shouldn't be but is sometimes a bit of a headache. (Even though it does have many advantages.) Others choose not to use virtual servers and instead go for AMAMP when using OS X.

MAMP is a full local server environment including Apache, PHP and MySQL in one package. Anyone feeling at home in *nix systems should feel at home using both OS X and MAMP. It is easy to install and use even if you don't care much for the terminal or configuring Apache, PHP or MySQL. As I have helped a few collegues setup Xdebug in MAMP I have discovered that a lot of developers don't do this as they don't know how simple it is. Even seasoned PHP developers use the old echo/die debugging techniques.

So I thought I'd write a small guide on how to setup debugging using xdebug in MAMP from PHPStorm. The process is similar if you use Zend Studio or another IDE of your choice. Only the IDE configuration should be different. If you already have MAMP installed just skip directly to the PHPStorm part.


Installing MAMP is as easy as downloading it from Double click to unpack the zip file. Then double click the the pkg file and follow the instructions.AMAMP is installed in /Applications/MAMP and Xdebug is already included, though not enabled. By default MAMP (in version 2.1.1) use PHP 5.4.4 and has Apache listening on port 8888.

To enable Xdebug in MAMP locate and open the file /Applications/MAMP/bin/php/php5.4.4/conf/php.ini using a text editor of your choice. Locate the [xdebug] section, right now in the bottom.

[xdebug] ;zend_extension="/Applications/MAMP/bin/php/php5.4.4/lib/php/extensions/no-debug-non-zts-20100525/"

The semicolon means the line is commented out. Remove the semicolon to make PHP load the xdebug extension. You will also need to add a few configuration directives to setup xdebug locally and to trigger automatically. The complete xdebug configuration should look like below.

[xdebug] zend_extension="/Applications/MAMP/bin/php/php5.4.4/lib/php/extensions/no-debug-non-zts-20100525/" xdebug.remote_host= xdebug.remote_enable = 1

That's it. Next time you start (or restart) MAMP, xdebug is enabled and ready for your next debugging adventure.

Create something to debug

I assume you already have PHPStorm installed or know how to install software on OS X. In PHPStorm, open the directory /Applications/MAMP/htdocs. This is the default web root in MAMP. Create an index.php with the following content.

Setup debugging in PHPStorm

Select the menu Run Edit Configurationsa to open the Run/Debug Configurations Dialog.
Click on + and choose PHP Web Application.
Give it a name like aoMy first debuga.
Add a server. Click the button aoaa where you specify server. The Servers dialog opens.

Click on + and fill in the values below.
Name: aoMAMP Servera
Port: 8888
Debugger: Xdebug
(In this setup you do not need path mappings. You would need path mappings if doing this with virtual servers and shared directories though.)
Click OK to save and return to the Run/Debug Configurations dialog.

Choose your browser or use default.
It should now look like the screenshot below. Click OK to save and return to PHPStorm. You are now ready to start debugging.


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