Launch Profiles

Launch profiles define the way Visual Studio Code runs and debugs the project.

launch.json

Visual Studio Code stores launching configurations in a launch.json file located in a .vscode subfolder of a workspace (the project root folder). To select, add, or modify the configurations, go to Run and Debug side panel.

Launch profile selection

Listen for Xdebug (Locally, or Remote Debug)

The following profile initiates debugging of an already running PHP application. The debugger will wait for an Xdebug connection on a specified port. PHP Tools won't start any Web Server. This is the most common debugging scenario requiring the user to correctly setup their php with xdebug extension.

{
    "name": "Listen for Xdebug",
    "type": "php",
    "request": "launch",
    "port": 9003,

    "pathMappings": {
        "\\remotepc\Shared\Test\": "${workspaceRoot}\src",
        "\\test": "C:\Users\usr\Documents\VSCode\src"
    }
}

Press F5 or Run and Debug to start listening for Xdebug connections.

  • port is the incoming Xdebug port number. It can be a single number (e.g. 9003), or an array of numbers (e.g. [9003, 9000]), or it can be removed so the debugger will use the port specified in "php.debug.port" setting.
  • pathMappings is used for remote debugging. This setting maps server paths to local paths, so the debugger will match breakpoints on the local machine with the server paths.
  • hostname allows to specify whether to listen on IPv4 (0.0.0.0) or IPv6 (::). By default, the debugger listens on IPv4 (0.0.0.0) and tries to listen on IPv6 (::) as well. On Linux systems, listening on both networks might not be allowed so the hostname should be specified explicitly.

Listen on IPv6 on Linux

On Windows, debugger listens on both IPv4 and IPv6 at the same time. On Linux, the protocol should be specified explicitly. The following launch profile listens on IPv6, default ports (9003, 9000):

{
    "name": "Listen on Xdebug (IPv6)",
    "type": "php",
    "request": "launch",
    "hostname": "::"
}

If "hostname" is not specified, the debugger listens on IPv4 by default.

DBGp Proxy settings

The multi-user debugging in more detail is described at tutorial for Visual Studio version. In VS Code the configuration is placed right into the launch.json file.

The launch configuration for Listen for Xdebug together with dbgpProxy configuration is listed below:

{
    /* listening for Xdebug connection: */
    "name": "Listen for Xdebug",
    "type": "php",
    "request": "launch",
    "port": 9003,

    /* DBGp Proxy configuration: */
    "dbgpProxy":
    {
        "enable": true,
        "host": "127.0.0.1",
        "port": 9002,
        "ideKey": "MyVSCode"
    }
}
  • enable turns on or off connection to DBGp Proxy server.
  • host and port specify the address of the DBGp Proxy server
  • ideKey is used to register the debug session within the DBGpProxy. If not set, the current user name is used instead.

Upon running the project (F5 or Run and Debug command), the following text gets logged in the Debug Console:

Registering with the DBGp proxy on 127.0.0.1:9002 with key Arnold...
Registration was successful!

DBGp Proxy IDE key

Note, if not specified, the DBGp proxy IDE key is set automatically to the current user user name. It is also logged in the VSCode's Output Window. When accessing the web, this IDE key has to be used in the URL(e.g. http://example.org?XDEBUG_SESSION_START=MyVSCode), or xdebug.idekey php.ini directive, or DBGP_IDEKEY environment variable (see xdebug.org for more details). This way the proxy server knows which machine to connect back to with the debug session.

Ignored Paths

To ignore custom paths (like **/vendor/**) from being stepped into and breaking on exceptions, specify "exclude" : ["**/vendor/**"] launch setting.

Debugger won't step into and won't break on handled exceptions within files matching specified glob patterns.

Example with the "exclude" configuration:

{
    /* listening for Xdebug connection: */
    "name": "Listen for Xdebug",
    "type": "php",
    "request": "launch",
    "port": 9003,

    /* ignore files in 'vendor' folder from being stepped into and exceptions */
    "exclude": [
        "**/vendor/**"
    ]
}

Excluding everything except

To ignore everything except a specified path, use the negation prefix !, e.g.:

    "exclude": [
      "!**/app/**",
      "!**/vendor/mypackage/**",
    ]

Built-In PHP Server

The following profile starts the PHP built-in web server. The server is started only if the runtimeArgs contains the parameter -S that defines the location and port of the server.

Sample configuration:

{
    "name": "Launch Built-in server",
    "type": "php",
    "request": "launch",
    "runtimeArgs": [
        "-S",
        "localhost:8888",
        "-t",
        "\\remotepc\Shared\Test"
    ],
    "port": 9000,
    "serverReadyAction": {
        "action": "openExternally"
    }
}

Additionally, there are the following settings:

  • "port" allows you to specify the Xdebug port number. This value is used set to configure the built-in server and the VSCode debugger together. The default value is specified with configuration php.debug.port which defaults to [9003, 9000]. It overwrites the setting xdebug.remote_port in your php.ini.
  • serverReadyAction can be set to automatically open browser once the debug starts. More at code.visualstudio.com - serverReadyAction.

Console Application

This profile runs the PHP project as a console application, inside the VS Code's Debug Console. By default, it starts a file currently opened in the editor.

{
    "name": "Launch current script in Console",
    "type": "php",
    "request": "launch",
    "program": "${file}",
    "cwd": "${fileDirname}",
    "externalConsole": false
}

Useful parameters that can be changed:

  • program: Specifies a file absolute or relative to workspace's directory. Value ${file} means the file currently opened in the editor.
  • externalConsole: true to run the program in a separate command line window. Default is false to output the program in the VS Code's Debug Console.
  • port: is the Xdebug port number. This value has to match setting in php.ini. Defaults to 9003.

PHP Version

The launch configuration option "phpVersion" allows choosing which PHP will be used to run and debug the project.

It is possible to define more launch configurations, each with a different PHP version. While the workspace assumes one PHP version at a time (see php.version setting), launch configuration can use a specific PHP to be used for built-in web server or a console application.

Example:

{
    "name": "Launch Built-in Server with PHP 8",
    "type": "php",
    "request": "launch",
    "runtimeArgs": [
        "-S",
        "localhost:8888",
        "-t",
        "."
    ],
    "phpVersion": "8.0"
}

Note: In this example, it is assumed that the PHP 8.0 is installed on the local machine.

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