Microsoft makes debugging PHP less painful with new Azure tool

Microsoft has tapped Zend's Z-Ray for advanced PHP analysis

Microsoft is equipping its Azure cloud service with a tool to debug PHP-based Web applications that are running on the platform.

The service "offers in-depth insight into how an application is performing," said Andi Gutmans, who is the CEO of Zend Technologies and one of the original developers of PHP. Zend is supplying the debugging tool, called Z-Ray. The software "exposes a huge amount of information to the developer through the Web browser," he said.

PHP is one of the most widely used languages for building Web applications and dynamic Web sites. Microsoft has long supported PHP on its Azure platform, offering a PHP runtime environment and a selection of PHP aids such as a software development kit and a lightweight integrated development environment called WebMatrix.

The new additional debugging capabilities indicates Microsoft's interest in staying competitive with other cloud providers in supporting Web applications, one of the primary uses of cloud computing services today.

As a Web programming language, PHP code can be particularly thorny to debug. When something goes wrong, error messages may not make it to the browser screen, leaving developers scratching their heads.

Zend designed Z-Ray to give developers more insight into how their PHP code is operating under the hood of the browser. It details each PHP call the browser makes to the server, and reveals the code making those calls.

The software, for instance, can show what specific database queries PHP has issued, and how long they are taking to complete. It can show how the session data changes between user requests.

In addition to revealing the inner workings of PHP, Z-Ray can also be used to troubleshoot many popular Web platforms written on PHP, such as the WordPress and Drupal blogging software and the Magento e-commerce platform. "It can show the architectural issues that are otherwise almost impossible to figure out," Gutmans said.

The Z-Ray service will be available as an optional add-on for PHP Azure users in two editions, a basic version available without charge and a more comprehensive version available for a "modest," still undetermined, fee, Gutmans said.

The service will be available as a preview after Microsoft's Build developer conference at the end of this month.

Zend, which bills itself as "the PHP company," also offers Z-Ray as stand-alone software, and as a service on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) marketplace.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags application developmentWeb services developmentMicrosoftAndi Gutmansdevelopment platformssoftwareZend Technologiescloud computinginternetDevelopment tools

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Joab Jackson

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?