Adjusting the First PhpStorm Breakpoint

Often, there are little idiosyncrasies that come with learning anything new. Thus, an IDE is no different.

And when it comes to learning a new IDE and how to use a debugger with it, there can often be small things that need to be adjusted or configured so that they help streamline your development.

For me, it comes with some of the default behavior of Xdebug. That is, if you’ve ever installed a new IDE and set it up to use Xdebug, you’ve likely experienced the behavior of having it start on the very first line of your web server or your application.

And this can be an annoying albeit preventable setting. If you’re using PhpStorm, here’s an easy way to fix it.

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WordPress JSON Encoding For Ajax

If you’ve worked with Ajax in any capacity, then you’ve likely tried to send response data using various formats. Obviously, the original format of the response data is XML but JSON is a second, [and arguably] more popular format.

When working with WordPress’ Ajax API, arguably, the most important things to remember are:

  1. Make sure the function is using the proper hook (should it be available for the public, for users who are logged into their account, or both?),
  2. Terminate the function using wp_die unless you want an incorrect or malformed response sent to the client.

In addition to that, if you’re sending your response data to the client in the form of JSON then you have several options on how to return the data:

  1. Structure the JSON data yourself (which I think would be an overly complicated feat 🙂),
  2. Use PHP’s json_encode function,
  3. Or use WordPress’ wp_json_encode function.

You can see there this is going, right? So I’ll make it quick.

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Quick Tip: Selecting a Line Number in Coda

One thing about the output the PHP CodeSniffer is it tells you the line number where your problem exists. This feature has obvious benefits – it lets you know exactly where you need to jump to fix the problem.

Our projects, though, are usually a wide set of files with a lot of functions and thus a lot of lines of code. If you’re proficient with your IDE, then it’s a trivial task to hop to the file and the line number.

But what if you’ve migrated to a new IDE or you’re not sure of the shortcuts that exist in your current IDE? That is, maybe you know how to click to find the feature, but using shortcuts is so much faster, isn’t it?

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Using Terminal in Coda 2

Most developers in the WordPress space have their favorite IDE of choice. Ask around and you’re likely to hear people share their favorite editors being:

And these are all great options. For what it’s worth, I dig the fact that we have choices when it comes to the tools with which we work.

But I’ve been a fan of Coda ever since I moved to Mac. This doesn’t mean it’s not without its shortcomings. For example, I use a third-party application to do debugging but it’s not that big of a deal.

Terminal in Coda 2

Anyway, one of the things that I’ve noticed with people who opt to use Coda don’t use it to its fullest extent. That is, there are a lot of features I see other developers opt not to use (like the database front-end).

I don’t know if it’s because they don’t know it exists or because old habits die hard. Either way, another example that I rarely see is the terminal in Coda 2.

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Quick Tip: An Alternative To file_get_contents

One of the more common PHP functions developers use in order to make remote requests is file_get_contents. The function makes it easy to send requests to another URL and then handle the response.

It’s especially handy if you need to make an Ajax request to another site but aren’t allowed to do so from the client-side because of cross-site-scripting.

That said, cURL is often a better option than file_get_contents because it gives you far more control over the options that are set when setting up the request to be made. file_get_contents simply doesn’t do that. Instead, it provides enough options for making simple GET requests.

No, not that kind of curl.

No, not that kind of curl.

For these reasons, it’s often a good idea to use cURL when you need to provide a more fine-tuned request. Even more so, it’s helpful to have all of the functionality wrapped up in a utility function you can drop in your project whenever you need it.

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