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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

PHP: Error logging

Work with other languages has exposed me to new ways of logging errors and/or debugging code on web pages. I'm not sure how most php developers log errors or debug code so I can only guess it was similar to the way I would do it. By that I mean using echo in the middle of some HTML. It gets the job done, but it's kinda ugly.

I've since started using a cleaner method of logging errors. It's not as robust as a class, but it's better than throwing code out on a page. I've started using the error_log function wrapped in another function to control when it should output the error to a log.

function debug($allow_debug, $msg)
error_log($msg."\n", 3, '/path/to/phperror.log');

When the function is used I pass a boolean that states wither I want the error passed out to the log. Typically I would set a variable at the top of the script and pass it into each instance of debug.

error_log takes three parameters. The first is the message that I want to pass out to the log. The important part on this input is the line return. That way each error starts on a new line. The second is the type of message I'm logging. The third is the location of the log file. Make sure it has the correct permissions so PHP can write to it.

You can view more information on error_log here.

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