Silverstripe knows three different environment-types (or "debug-levels"). Each of the levels gives you different tools and functionality. "dev", "test" and "live". You can either configure the environment of the site in your config.yml file or in your environment configuration file.
The definition of setting an environment in your
config.yml looks like
Director: environment_type: 'dev'
When developing your websites, adding page types or installing modules you should run your site in devmode. In this mode you will be able to view full error backtraces and view the development tools without logging in as admin.
To set your site to dev mode set this in your
Director: environment_type: 'dev'
Please note devmode should not be enabled long term on live sites for security reasons. In devmode by outputting backtraces of function calls a hacker can gain information about your environment (including passwords) so you should use devmode on a public server very very carefully
Test mode is designed for staging environments or other private collaboration sites before deploying a site live. You do not need to use test mode if you do not have a staging environment or a place for testing which is on a public server)
In this mode error messages are hidden from the user and it includes BasicAuth integration if you want to password protect the site.
To set your site to test mode set this in your
Director: environment_type: 'test'
A common situation is to enable password protected site viewing on your test site only.
You can enable that but adding this to your
--- Only: environment: 'test' --- BasicAuth: entire_site_protected: true
Live sites should always run in live mode. Error messages are suppressed from the user but can be optionally configured to email the developers. This enables near real time reporting of any fatal errors or warnings on the site and can help find any bugs users run into.
To set your site to live mode set this in your
Director: environment_type: 'live'
Checking Environment Types
You can check for the current environment type in config files through the "environment" variant. This is useful for example when you have various API keys on your site and separate ones for dev / live or for configuring environment settings based on type .
--- Only: environment: 'test' --- MyClass: myvar: myval
In addition, you can use the following methods in PHP code:
Director::isDev(); Director::isTest(); Director::isLive();
Debug: send_errors_to: 'email@example.com'
You can customize "friendly error messages" in test/live-mode by creating assets/error-500.html.
URL Variable Tools
You can get lots of information on the current rendering context without writing any code or launching a debugger: Just attach some Debug Parameters to your current URL to see the compiled template, or all performed SQL-queries.
The Debug class contains a number of static methods
- Debug::show($myVariable): performs a kind of print_r($myVariable), but shows it in a more useful format.
- Debug::message("Wow, that's great"): prints a short debugging message.
- SS_Backtrace::backtrace(): prints a calls-stack
On development sites, we deal harshly with any warnings or errors: a full call-stack is shown and execution stops. This is basically so that we deal with them promptly, since most warnings are indication that something is broken.
On live sites, all errors are emailed to the address specified in the
Debug.send_errors_to config setting.
Since we don't have a decent interactive debugger going, we use the following debugging techniques:
Putting Debug::show() and Debug::message() at key places in the code can help you know what's going on. Sometimes, it helps to put this debugging information into the core modules, although, if possible, try and get what you need by using url querystring variables.
Calling user_error("breakpoint", E_USER_ERROR) will kill execution at that point and give you a call stack to see where you came from. Alternatively, SS_Backtrace::backtrace() gives you similar information without killing execution.
There are some special url querystring variables that can be helpful in seeing what's going on with core modules, such as the templates.
You can also use $Debug with ViewableData in templates.
A good way to avoid writing the same test stubs and var_dump() commands over and over again is to codify them as unit tests. This way you integrate the debugging process right into your quality control, and eventually in the development effort itself as "test-driven development".
Profiling is the best way to identify bottle necks and other slow moving parts of your application prime for optimization. SilverStripe does not include any profiling tools out of the box, but we recommend the use of existing tools such as XHProf and XDebug.