Archive for December, 2011

PHP Error Messages Guide

December 4th, 2011, posted in PHP

Head in Hands

PHP is widely available with inexpensive hosting plans, which makes it a popular choice for developers who write software for the Web. From big platforms, such as WordPress, down to small scripts, such as ones to display image galleries or to send forms to email, thousands of script and products are out there written in PHP that can be installed and used even if you don’t know much about PHP yourself.

I have been with PHP coding for 4 years, and my company has developed a content management system, written in PHP, that is intended to be very simple to install and get started with. And, I spend a lot of time working with designers who are installing a PHP script for the first time. If you are installing a script and something goes wrong, PHP can be incredibly infuriating. Until you know what they mean, PHP errors can be baffling. My favorite message is:

Parse error: syntax error, unexpected T_PAAMAYIM_NEKUDOTAYIM

Paamayim Nekudotayim means “double colon” in Hebrew! But double colon is a lot easier to debug than T_PAAMAYIM_NEKUDOTAYIM.

This article is aimed at designers who are not PHP developers but need to install PHP scripts from time to time. Thus, the problems and error messages we will look at here are those you are most likely to encounter when installing scripts, rather than when writing PHP. The tips should help you work through other error messages and should at least help you give clear information to the script’s developer if you need to ask them for assistance.