Getting started with Laravel Debugbar [Tutorial]


Steve Alila

Laravel

Laravel Debugbar is a robust debugging and profiling toolbar for Laravel applications. It provides comprehensive insights into your application's performance, queries, exceptions, and other critical debugging information.

This article dives into the world of Laravel Debugbar and explore how it can enhance your debugging workflow. We will discuss its key features, installation process, and the best practices for leveraging Debugbar effectively.

Let's get started.

 

Understand Laravel Debugbar

What is Laravel Debugbar?
Laravel Debugbar is a crucial debugging and profiling toolbar for Laravel applications. It is a third-party package that provides comprehensive insights into your application's performance, queries, exceptions, and other debugging information.

Laravel Debugbar is designed to simplify the debugging process and enhance your productivity. It allows you to identify and resolve issues within your Laravel projects quickly.

Key features and benefits
Some of the key features of Laravel Debugbar include:

  1. Query and Eloquent ORM Inspection: You can quickly examine and analyze the executed database queries and their results and monitor your Eloquent models' performance.
  2. Request Profiling: Debugbar tracks and displays detailed information about each HTTP request, including execution time, memory usage, and a timeline of events, helping you identify potential bottlenecks.
  3. Logging and Exceptions: It provides a dedicated panel to view and analyze log messages and exceptions thrown during your application's execution, making debugging and troubleshooting errors easier.
  4. Timing and Benchmarking: The debugbar enables you to measure the execution time of specific code segments, helping you identify areas of your application that might need optimization.
  5. Customization and Extension: It offers flexibility for customization and extension, allowing you to add your custom debugging panels and integrate additional functionality tailored to your specific debugging needs.

 

Install and set up Laravel Debugbar

Step 1: Install Laravel Debugbar Package

Open terminal and navigate to the project's root directory. Install the package by running the following command:

composer require barryvdh/laravel-debugbar --dev

Step 2: Register the Debugbar Service Provider

Open the config/app.php file in your project. Locate the providers array. Add the service provider class in the array.

'providers' => ServiceProvider::defaultProviders()->merge([
  	...
    Barryvdh\Debugbar\ServiceProvider::class,
])->toArray(),

Getting started with Laravel Debugbar [Tutorial]

 

Step 3: Publish the Configuration (optional)

You can generate a debugbar.php configuration file in the config directory by running this command:

php artisan vendor:publish --provider="Barryvdh\Debugbar\ServiceProvider"

You can also enable Debugbar (optional). Open the config/debugbar.php file and set the enabled option to true for desired environments.

 

Step 4: Verify the Installation

Start the development server by running the serve command.

php artisan serve

Open the application in a web browser at http://127.0.0.1:8000. Then, verify that Laravel Debugbar appears at the bottom of the page, displaying debugging information.

Getting started with Laravel Debugbar [Tutorial]

Here is what each tab does:

 

Explore the debugging capabilities

Message

The Message tab only loads the facade from within the code. Use it to log messages after registering the service provider, as we did in step~2 of this tutorial. For example, you can use any of the four message types in the routes/web.php file.

<?php

use Illuminate\Support\Facades\Route;
use Barryvdh\Debugbar\Facades\Debugbar;

Route::get('/', function () {
    // 4 message types
    Debugbar::info('INFO');
    Debugbar::error('ERROR');
    Debugbar::warning('WARNING');
    Debugbar::addMessage('NEW MESSAGE');

    return view('welcome');
});

Getting started with Laravel Debugbar [Tutorial]

Timeline

The timeline tab tracks the time duration per request.

Getting started with Laravel Debugbar [Tutorial]

Exceptions

Use the Exceptions tab to log exceptions to debug your application. For instance, let us throw an exception and log it with Laravel Debugbar.

<?php

use Illuminate\Support\Facades\Route;
use Barryvdh\Debugbar\Facades\Debugbar;

Route::get('/', function () {
  
   try {
    throw new Exception('Sorry, something went wrong.');
   } catch (Exception $e) {
    Debugbar::addException($e);
   }

    return view('welcome');
});

Getting started with Laravel Debugbar [Tutorial]

View

The View tab shows all the rendered templates. The tab also includes parameters passed to the view. You can see the parameter by clicking on the target view's path. For example, we can pass name to the welcome view.

<?php

use Illuminate\Support\Facades\Route;
use Barryvdh\Debugbar\Facades\Debugbar;

Route::get('/', function () {
   $student = 'Jane Doe';

    return view('welcome', [
        'student_name' => $student
    ]);
});

and view the parameter by clicking the welcome (\resources\views\welcome.blade.php) template.

Getting started with Laravel Debugbar [Tutorial]

Route: The Route tab displays information about the called route.

Queries: The Queries tab displays the queries running on your route and time duration a query takes to load.

Models: The Models tab shows you all the models currently associated with your application.

Gate: As the name suggests, the Gate tab shows the Gate checks called in the files.

Session: The Session tab displays the session data like CSRF tokens, previous route, and the flash messages.

Request

Finally, the request tab displays all info about your request, such as endpoint and status code.

Inspect requests with Laravel Debugbar

 

Best Practices for debugging with Laravel Debugbar

By following best practices, you can effectively leverage Laravel Debugbar to streamline your debugging process, identify and resolve issues more efficiently, and optimize the performance of your Laravel applications.

Here are some of the best practices:

  1. Enable Debugbar in Development Environment Only: To ensure optimal performance, enable Laravel Debugbar only in your development environment. This prevents unnecessary overhead in production and protects sensitive information from being exposed.
  2. Use Debugbar Sparingly: While Laravel Debugbar provides a wealth of information, be mindful of its usage. Displaying excessive debug information can clutter the toolbar and make it harder to focus on critical insights. Selectively enable only the panels you need for a specific debugging session.
  3. Leverage Logging: Laravel Debugbar includes a panel for viewing log messages. Instead of relying solely on the toolbar, utilize Laravel's logging capabilities. Logging critical information and errors allows you to review them anytime, even if Debugbar is not enabled.
  4. Profile Performance: Take advantage of Debugbar's request profiling feature to measure the performance of specific requests or code segments. Identify areas that require optimization by analyzing execution time, memory usage, and timeline of events.
  5. Inspect Queries and Eloquent Models: Debugbar provides a panel to inspect executed database queries and Eloquent models. This feature ensures efficient database operations, identifies problematic queries, and optimises your database interactions.
  6. Customize and Extend Debugbar: Laravel Debugbar offers customization options, allowing you to add custom debugging panels or modify the existing ones. Tailor the toolbar to your specific debugging needs by including additional information or integrating external tools.
  7. Disable Debugbar in AJAX Requests (optional): In some cases, Debugbar can interfere with AJAX requests or API responses. Consider disabling Debugbar for these specific requests to avoid unexpected behavior or conflicts.
  8. Stay Updated: Keep your Laravel Debugbar package and Laravel framework updated to benefit from the latest bug fixes, performance improvements, and new features. Regularly check for updates and incorporate them into your project.
  9. Secure Sensitive Information: Debugbar may display sensitive information in the toolbar, such as database credentials. Ensure that you properly secure your application and configure Debugbar to prevent the exposure of any sensitive data.

 

Conclusion

Laravel Debugbar is an indispensable tool for you as a Laravel developer, offering a range of powerful debugging and profiling capabilities. By providing insights into queries, performance metrics, log messages, and exceptions, Debugbar empowers you to identify and resolve issues within your Laravel applications quickly. With its easy installation and setup process, Debugbar seamlessly integrates into your development workflow, allowing for efficient debugging and optimization.

By following best practices, such as enabling Debugbar in the development environment only, leveraging logging, and customizing the toolbar to suit your specific needs, you can maximize the benefits of this tool. Debugbar's request profiling feature enables you to analyze performance bottlenecks and optimize critical code segments, resulting in faster and more efficient applications. Collaborating with teammates and staying updated with the latest package and framework versions further enhance your debugging process.

However, it is crucial to exercise caution when using Debugbar in production environments. Ensure that sensitive information is secured and disable Debugbar for AJAX requests. With proper usage and adherence to best practices, Laravel Debugbar becomes an invaluable companion, simplifying the debugging process, boosting your productivity, and ultimately helping you deliver high-quality Laravel applications.

 

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Steve Alila

He specializes in web design, WordPress development, and data analysis, with proficiency in Python, JavaScript, and data extraction tools. Additionally, he excels in web API development, AI integration, and data presentation using Matplotlib and Plotly. You can connect with him on LinkedIn or check his projects on GitHub page.

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