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A client side Glimpse to your PHP application

· Web Dev Zone

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A few months ago, the .NET world was surprised with a magnificent tool called “Glimpse”. Today I’m pleased to release a first draft of a PHP version for Glimpse! Now what is this Glimpse thing… Well: "what Firebug is for the client, Glimpse does for the server... in other words, a client side Glimpse into whats going on in your server."

For a quick demonstration of what this means, check the video at http://getglimpse.com/. Yes, it’s a .NET based video but the idea behind Glimpse for PHP is the same. And if you do need a PHP-based one, check http://screenr.com/27ds (warning: unedited :-))

Fundamentally Glimpse is made up of 3 different parts, all of which are extensible and customizable for any platform:

  • Glimpse Server Module
  • Glimpse Client Side Viewer
  • Glimpse Protocol

This means an server technology that provides support for the Glimpse protocol can provide the Glimpse Client Side Viewer with information. And that’s what I’ve done.

What can I do with Glimpse?

A lot of things. The most basic usage of Glimpse would be enabling it and inspecting your requests by hand. Here’s a small view on the information provided:

Glimpse phpinfo()

By default, Glimpse offers you a glimpse into the current Ajax requests being made, your PHP Configuration, environment info, request variables, server variables, session variables and a trace viewer. And then there’s the remote tab, Glimpse’s killer feature.

When configuring Glimpse through www.yoursite.com/?glimpseFile=Config, you can specify a Glimpse session name. If you do that on a separate device, for example a customer’s browser or a mobile device you are working with, you can distinguish remote sessions in the remote tab. This allows debugging requests that are being made live on other devices! A full description is over at http://getglimpse.com/Help/Plugin/Remote.

PHP debug mobile browser

Adding Glimpse to your PHP project

Installing Glimpse in a PHP application is very straightforward. Glimpse is supported starting with PHP 5.2 or higher.

  • For PHP 5.2, copy the source folder of the repository to your server and add <?php include '/path/to/glimpse/index.php'; ?> as early as possible in your PHP script.
  • For PHP 5.3, copy the glimpse.phar file from the build folder of the repository to your server and add <?php include 'phar://path/to/glimpse.phar'; ?> as early as possible in your PHP script.

Here’s an example of the Hello World page shown above:

<?php
require_once 'phar://../build/Glimpse.phar';
?>
<html>
<head>
<title>Hello world!</title>
</head>

<?php Glimpse_Trace::info('Rendering body...'); ?>
<body>
<h1>Hello world!</h1>
<p>This is just a test.</p>
</body>
<?php Glimpse_Trace::info('Rendered body.'); ?>
</html>

 

Enabling Glimpse

From the moment Glimpse is installed into your web application, navigate to your web application and append the ?glimpseFile=Config query string to enable/disable Glimpse. Optionally, a client name can also be specified to distinguish remote requests.

Configuring Glimpse for PHP

After enabling Glimpse, a small “eye” icon will appear in the bottom-right corner of your browser. Click it and behold the magic!

Now of course: anyone can potentially enable Glimpse. If you don’t want that, ensure you have some conditional mechanism around the <?php require_once 'phar://../build/Glimpse.phar'; ?> statement.

Creating a first Glimpse plugin

Not enough information on your screen? Working with Zend Framework and want to have a look at route values? Want to work with Wordpress and view some hidden details about a post through Glimpse? The sky is the limit.
All there’s to it is creating a Glimpse plugin and registering it. Implementing Glimpse_Plugin_Interface is enough:

 <?php
class MyGlimpsePlugin
implements Glimpse_Plugin_Interface
{
public function getData(Glimpse $glimpse) {
$data = array(
array('Included file path')
);

foreach (get_included_files() as $includedFile) {
$data[] = array($includedFile);
}

return array(
"MyGlimpsePlugin" => count($data) > 0 ? $data : null
);
}

public function getHelpUrl() {
return null; // or the URL to a help page
}
}
?>


To register the plugin, add a call to $glimpse->registerPlugin():

<?php
$glimpse->registerPlugin(new MyGlimpsePlugin());
?>

 

And Bob’s your uncle:

Creating a Glimpse plugin in PHP

Now what?

Well, it’s up to you. First of all: all feedback would be welcomed. Second of all: this is on Github (https://github.com/Glimpse/Glimpse.PHP). Feel free to fork and extend! Feel free to contribute plugins, core features, whatever you like! Have a lot of CakePHP projects? Why not contribute a plugin that provides a Glimpse at CakePHP diagnostics?

‘Till next time!

Create data driven applications in Qlik’s free and easy to use coding environment, brought to you in partnership with Qlik.

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Published at DZone with permission of Maarten Balliauw, DZone MVB. See the original article here.

Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.

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