protecting content profiles in drupal 6

Content profiles in Drupal 6, by default are plain old nodes, so if they are published everyone will have access to them.

This sets up a realm and restricts it to the profile owner.

Pulled from – but this is the gist of it.

Then rebuild node access.

xdebug makes PHP hang

I’ve found it’s a common misconception that you can’t have XDebug running all the time without impacting PHP performance.

There’s a few reasons you could be experiencing hangs or delays:

  • You have xdebug.remote_autostart set to 1.

    This will make XDebug try to contact your debug client on every PHP process. Web, console, whatever. Generally a bad idea! You could easily run into multiple requests trying to connect and stalling.

    It’s best to set this to 0, then use a browser extension to toggle your debugging session on or off, like:

    The only time setting this to 1 is a good idea is when there is no other way to send the XDebug session start command (for example, when debugging an application that receives HTTP calls from a 3rd party machine).

    If you are doing console PHP, you can set an environment variable to toggle.
    On – export XDEBUG_CONFIG="idekey=netbeans-xdebug"

    Note it is important to set xdebug.remote_connect_back to 0, and remote_host to a valid host, because in console, XDebug won’t automatically know the location of your debugger from xdebug.remote_connect_back.

    While this is set, PHP run in CLI mode (like drush) will trigger debugging.

  • You had a debugging session open, and opened another one to the same debug client.

    For example, debugging index.php in your browser, opening a new tab, and debugging it again. The 2nd request will stall because your local debugger is busy.

    Suggestions: use the XDebug toggler to enable/disable debugging. You can start debugging in one browser tab, but turn it off for another.

  • Your application makes a URL call to itself, and you had xdebug.remote_autostart set to 1.

    (A combination of the above)

    The best example of this is using Drupal simpletests – you start a PHP process that connects to your debugger, but then the remote HTTP call inside of PHP also tries to connect. Your simpletests will stall indefinitely. Setting xdebug.remote_autostart to 0 ensures that the internal HTTP calls do not trigger XDebug.

    Caveat: Unfortunately, to actually debug a call inside of another call is somewhat complicated. You will have to turn off debugging in your browser/console, then manually inject


    into your internal HTTP calls, disable xdebug.remote_connect_back, and set an xdebug.remote_host.

XDebug becomes incredibly flexible with xdebug.remote_connect_back and xdebug.remote_autostart – especially for debugging live servers where you do not want XDebug to take up any overhead. I’ll make another post on that soon – including bits about debug security and the debug proxy for handling multi-user debugging.

If you’re not set up with xdebug yet check out my quick start Linux + PHP + XDebug howto

building PHP 5.3 on fedora 18/19/20

Fedora 18 is out, and while awesome comes packaged with PHP 5.4 only. I have some older webapps (Drupal 6) which are somewhat incompatible. So we have to build from scratch.

Another alternative is ZendServer CE, which provides architecture independent RPMs, but that isn’t yet built for the version of Apache that comes with Fedora 18 (Apache 2.4)

Make sure to install the libraries that PHP needs to build

yum install pcre-devel ncurses-devel httpd-devel mysql-devel zlib-devel libcurl-devel readline-devel mysql-connector-c++-devel openssl-devel libjpeg-turbo-devel libxml2-devel libpng-devel freetype-devel libmcrypt-devel

Grab the source from and extract it. This configure command should get you the PHP you are used to.

'./configure' '--prefix=/usr' '--disable-debug' '--enable-inline-optimization' '--enable-libxml' '--enable-session' '--enable-xml' '--enable-hash' '--with-pear' '--with-apxs2' '--with-layout=GNU' '--enable-filter' '--with-pcre-regex' '--with-zlib' '--enable-simplexml' '--enable-dom' '--with-openssl' '--enable-pdo' '--with-pdo-sqlite' '--with-readline' '--with-iconv' '--with-sqlite3' '--enable-xmlwriter' '--enable-xmlreader' '--with-config-file-scan-dir=/etc/php.d' '--with-mysql=/usr' '--with-libdir=lib64' '--with-pdo-mysql' '--with-gd' '--with-curl' '--enable-zip' '--enable-mbstring' '--enable-soap' '--with-mcrypt' '--enable-gd-native-ttf' '--with-freetype-dir=/usr/lib64' '--with-mysqli' '--with-jpeg-dir=/usr/lib64' '--with-config-file-path=/etc'

make, and make install

jenkins, paraunit, junit, and saucelabs

Jenkins has great support for taking JUnit-style test reports and tracking successes and failures.

Saucelabs has an extension for running parallel tests, but only reports a total pass/fail with aggregated PHPUnit output. This doesn’t help Jenkins since it needs the XML to properly report.

I noticed Jenkins will also take multiple XML results and combine them into a test report. So, I figured that if we made each parallel process generate an XML, we could just get Jenkins to combine them until this functionality gets built into PHPUnit.

And it worked! Let’s modify vendor/bin/paraunit


$cmd = "$PHPUNIT --filter=$testName $testFile";


$cmd = "$PHPUNIT --log-junit result-$testName.xml --filter=$testName $testFile";

Then, in Jenkins, add a new “Publish JUnit report” and add all your XML files as a result (e.g., “result-*.xml”)

Make sure to delete the XML results before each test run!

This brings back the reporting functionality that you get running plain PHPUnit with –log-junit 🙂

converting phpunit-selenium assertTextPresent to spinAssert

Just started using SauceOnDemand and was working on adding some new functionality that they offered. One of them is the spinAssert, which is the equivalent of pausing or issuing a waitFor* before asserting something. That’s bad practice because it slows down tests, so spinAssert keeps trying the assertion a set number of times until it fails. This should get rid of our intermittently failing tests!

So I had

But there isn’t really an assertTextPresent in the driver. So here’s the spinAssert alternative:

Ta da!

ssh as a proxy

Sometimes ports are blocked to your local machine and you can only get to them if you are on the client’s machine.

Let’s say you want to connect to port 21 on, but that port is only open to

ssh -N -L

This opens port 1337 on your local machine, and fowards it to port 21 on, using as a proxy.

quick start Linux + PHP + XDebug howto

Ever really debugged before? It’s a life changer. Forget dpm, dd, print_r, var_dump…

1) Install a debugger of your choice (NetBeans, protoeditor, Komodo, Eclipse…)

2) Install/Configure XDebug extension

pecl install xdebug

If you get errors regarding pecl, phpize or missing libraries, try installing the php-pecl and php-devel packages.

Go to /etc/php.d, or wherever your PHP configuration files live. If you see “xdebug.ini” move it to “00xdebug.ini”. THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PART. We have to rename it because XDebug has to run before all other extensions. If you have other extensions like datacache, other debuggers (Zend), or optimizers, you should disable them. Otherwise, XDebug will show as loaded but it won’t work.

Edit 00xdebug.ini and put the following code in:
xdebug.idekey=netbeans-xdebug ;change to same ide key in your debugger

3) Check configuration
Check the output of “php -i” and paste it into It will yell at you if you did anything wrong.

4) Install the XDebug helper for Firefox or Chrome
This allows you to toggle debugging on and off for local sites.

Figure out how to enable debugging in the debugger of your choice and set a break point at a function call. Open up the page in your browser and make sure you use the XDebug helper to set debugging on. Your debugger should halt at the line. Now you can see all your local variables and dive into function calls.

XDebug also profiles. Making a web request with ?XDEBUG_PROFILE=1 in the URL will enable the profile and dump to xdebug.profiler_output_dir. You can take these dumps and use a program like cachegrind to analyze the request.

I use Fedora on a daily basis to debug using Zend Server as my stack, but this will also work on any other configuration (Debian, Mac) – just change the paths to what they are on your system.