This article provides detailed instructions for setting up your workstation for Joomla! development. Note that there are many possible configurations for doing Joomla! development. Any environment that supports Apache, MySql, PHP, and Subversion should work for writing Joomla! code and extensions.
This document provides step-by-step instructions for setting up and working with Apache, PHP, xdebug, Subversion. This instruction uses Eclipse IDE from chapter 4 and onwards. Please refer to the following links for other development tools:
The example used and screenshots are for Windows XP, but the basic steps are the same for Linux.
XAMPP is an easy-to-install package that bundles the Apache web server, PHP, XDEBUG, and the MySql database. This allows you to create the environment you need to run Joomla! on your local machine. The latest version of XAMPP is available at the XAMPP web site. Downloads are available for Linux, Windows, Mac OS X and Solaris. Download the package for your platform.
Important Note Regarding XAMPP and Skype: Apache and Skype both use port 80 as an alternative for incoming connections. If you use Skype, go into the Tools-Options-Advanced-Connection panel and deselect the "Use 80 and 443 as alternatives for incoming connections" option. If Apache starts as a service, it will take 80 before Skype starts and you will not see a problem. But, to be safe, disable the option in Skype.
As of August 5, 2010, XDebug has been updated (to version 2.1) which fixes some important bugs (for example, watching local variables for nesting functions). The latest XAMPP package (1.7.3) now includes this new version of XDebug. If you just want to update XDebug, you can download the latest module from . There is a handy website that tells you which XDebug binary you need, depending on your phpinfo() information here. To use it, you just copy the output of your phpinfo() display and paste it into the form on the site.
Installation for Windows is very simple. You can use the XAMPP installer executable (for example, "xampp-win32-1.7.3-installer.exe"). Detailed installation instructions for Windows are available here.
For Windows, it is recommended to install XAMPP in "c:\xampp" (not in "c:\program files"). If you do this, your Joomla! (and any other local web site folders) will go into the folder "c:\xampp\htdocs". (By convention, all web content goes under the "htdocs" folder.)
If you have multiple http servers (like IIS) you can change the xampp listening port. In <xamppDir>\apache\conf\httpd.conf, modify the line Listen 80 to Listen [portnumber] (ex: "Listen 8080").
Open Terminal and enter:
sudo tar xvfz xampp-linux-1.7.3a.tar.gz -C /opt
(replace xampp-linux-1.7.3a.tar.gz with the version of xammp you downloaded). It has been reported that the MYSQL database of xampp 1.7.4 does not work with Joomla 1.5.22
This installs ... Apache2, mysql and php5 as well as an ftp server.
sudo /opt/lampp/lampp start
sudo /opt/lampp/lampp stop
starts/stops all the services
Open your Browser and point it to
The index.php will redirect to
There you will find instructions on how to change default usernames/passwords. On a PC that does not server files to the Internet or LAN then changing the defaults is personal choice.
Download the latest Joomla instalation zip 
Unzip to your hard drive
Connect to localhost with an FTP client Default
Create a folder for your Joomla on the localhost server
FTP the unpacked Joomla installation files to the newly created Joomla folder.
In your Browser type
In the first Joomla installation screen if error reporting is shown as on then:
In your Terminal type
sudo gedit /opt/lampp/etc/php.ini
In the php.ini file
And change the value to
error_reporting = E_ALL & ~E_NOTICE & ~E_DEPRECATED
display_errors = On
And change the value to
display_errors = Off
Stop then restart xampp for the new settings to take effect
FTP layer is NOT needed
Default Database name
Default Database user
There is no default Password.
Administrator password is your choice.
Installing Sample Data is recommended for the novice user.
After installation delete the installation directory and point your Browser to:
To create a GUI for xammp connected to your Ubuntu menu
Open up the Terminal and type
sudo gedit /usr/share/applications/xampp-control-panel.desktop
Then copy the following into the gedit and save.
[Desktop Entry] Encoding=UTF-8 Name=XAMPP Control Panel Comment=Start and Stop XAMPP Exec=gksudo "python /opt/lampp/share/xampp-control-panel/xampp-control-panel.py" Icon=/usr/share/icons/Tango/scalable/devices/network-wired.svg Terminal=false Type=Application Categories=GNOME;Application;Network; StartupNotify=true
The XAMPP package for Linux does not includes the XDebug PHP debugger. To install XDebug on Debian or Ubuntu:
- Install the build-essential package:
sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install build-essential sudo apt-get install autoconf
- Download the development package for your version of XAMPP and extract it over your existing installation:
sudo tar xvfz xampp-linux-devel-1.7.2.tar.gz -C /opt
- Build XDebug:
wget http://xdebug.org/files/xdebug-2.0.5.tgz tar xzf xdebug-2.0.5.tgz cd xdebug-2.0.5/ /opt/lampp/bin/phpize
After this you will have following output on your console…
Configuring for: PHP Api Version: 20090626 Zend Module Api No: 20090626 Zend Extension Api No: 220090626
./configure --with-php-config=/opt/lampp/bin/php-config make sudo make install
Then the output will be this.. please monitor the directory specified.
Installing shared extensions: /opt/lampp/lib/php/extensions/no-debug-non-zts-20090626/
Create a folder in your temp folder that will holds the data file generated by XDebug:
sudo mkdir /opt/lampp/tmp/xdebug sudo chmod a+rwx -R /opt/lampp/tmp/xdebug
As of May 14, 2010 the php5-xdebug package installs version 2.0.5 of XDebug. If you need to install a more current version, you can uninstall the php5-xdebug package with:
sudo apt-get remove php5-xdebug
then use the following command to install the PECL installer:
sudo apt-get install php5-dev
and then run
sudo pecl install xdebug
to install the latest version of XDebug (2.0.5 as of this writing)
Mac OS X actually includes an Apache server out-of-the-box, but most developers will prefer to use the integrated tools and configurability provided by XAMPP.
As with most programs on Mac, installation is a breeze. Visit Apache Friends - Mac OS X for the universal binary download.
Once the file has finished downloading, just open the disk image, and drag the XAMPP folder to the "Applications" folder alias.
To start the server, open "XAMPP Control.app" and press the start button next to Apache.
Many Mac users have a little difficulty at this stage when trying to set up another instance of Apache on their machine. If you can not start XAMPP's Apache, you have two options:
You can change the listening port of XAMPP. In \Applications\XAMPP\xamppfiles\etc\httpd.conf, modify the line that says, "Listen 80" to Listen [portNumber]. E.g.:
You can change the listening port of the pre-installed Apache server. In finder, go to "/etc" (CMD+SHIFT+G); from here you will be able to navigate through the normally hidden Apache files. Find the folder labeled Apache2, and edit the "http.conf" file. Modify the line that says, "Listen 80" to Listen [portNumber]. E.g.:
Note: If you choose to change the port of the pre-installed Apache server, you may need to restart your computer for changes to take effect. You will also have to authenticate as an administrator to change these files.
Once XAMPP is installed and you have started the Apache service with the XAMPP Control Panel tool, you can test it by opening your browser and navigating to "http://localhost". You should see the XAMPP welcome screen similar to the one below.
Select the link called "phpinfo()" in the left-hand menu. This will display a long screen of information about the PHP configuration, as shown below.
At this point, XAMPP is installed successfully. Notice the "Loaded Configuration File" which is highlighted in the screenshot above. We will be editing this file in the next section to configure XDebug.
Starting with version 1.7, XAMPP includes the XDebug PHP debugger, but it needs to be configured for use. To do that, we will edit the "php.ini" file to configure XDebug. The "Loaded Configuration File" in the screenshot above tells you what "php.ini" file is being used. For Windows, this is normally "c:\xampp\apache\bin\php.ini".
Important note for Windows 7 & Vista users: As of April 2009 (XAMPP version 1.7.0), the file "php_xdebug.dll" that is included with XAMPP does not work with Windows 7 & Vista. The symptom of this problem is that the Apache server will stop if this version of XDebug is loaded. To correct this problem, download XDebug version "Xdebug 2.0.0 / 5.2 VC6" from the XDebug website. This will download a file called
php_xdebug-2.0.0-5.2.2.dll. Save this file in the extensions folder (for example,
c:\xampp\php\ext) and change the php.ini file to point to this file, as shown below. With this file, XDebug works correctly with Windows 7 & Vista, including 64-bit.
We need to edit this file to configure XDebug as follows:
implicit_flush = On
[XDebug] ;; Only Zend OR (!) XDebug zend_extension_ts="C:\xampp\php\ext\php_xdebug.dll" xdebug.remote_enable=true xdebug.remote_host=localhost xdebug.remote_port=10000 xdebug.remote_handler=dbgp xdebug.profiler_enable=1 xdebug.profiler_output_dir="C:\xampp\tmp"
For Windows 7 & Vista, you will use the file downloaded from the XDebug site. So the first line will be
For PHP version 5.3 or later, the "_ts" has been dropped, so the first line will read
In XAMPP 1.7.3 on Windows 7 (currently not verified/tested with prior Windows versions), XDebug may not work correctly if the path to the DLL file is in quotes. In this case, the line should be
zend_extension = C:\xampp\php\ext\php_xdebug-2.1.0-5.3-vc6.dll
We will edit the "php.ini" file to configure XDebug. The "Loaded Configuration File" in the screenshot above tells you what "php.ini" file is being used. For Linux, it will be something like "/opt/lampp/etc/php.ini".
We need to edit this file to configure XDebug as follows:
implicit_flush = On
;xDebug Configuration starts zend_extension = /opt/lampp/lib/php/extensions/no-debug-non-zts-20090626/xdebug.so xdebug.profiler_output_dir = "/tmp/xdebug/" xdebug.profiler_enable = On xdebug.remote_enable=On xdebug.remote_host="localhost" xdebug.remote_port=10000 xdebug.remote_handler="dbgp" ;xDebug Configuration ends
If using php5-xdebug on Ubuntu The xDebug Configuration detailed above can be appended to:
It should already contain the "zend_extension" variable and only needs the following variables added:
xdebug.profiler_enable = On xdebug.remote_enable=On xdebug.remote_host="localhost" xdebug.remote_port=10000 xdebug.remote_handler="dbgp"
Tip for users with LAN or remote servers:
Should be set to the IP address of your Eclipse workstation [LAN users] or your public IP. For example:
XAMPP for Mac OS X includes the XDebug PHP debugger, but it needs to be added to the "php.ini" file so that XDebug runs when Apache is started. To do this, open up the php.ini file, located at "/Applications/XAMPP/xamppfiles/etc/php.ini".
We need to edit this file to configure XDebug as follows:
implicit_flush = On
;xDebug Configuration starts zend_extension="/Applications/XAMPP/xamppfiles/lib/php/php-5.3.1/extensions/no-debug-non-zts-20090626/xdebug.so" xdebug.profiler_output_dir = "/tmp/xdebug/" xdebug.profiler_enable = On xdebug.remote_enable=On xdebug.remote_host="localhost" xdebug.remote_port=10000 xdebug.remote_handler="dbgp" ;xDebug Configuration ends
Be sure to navigate to the directory where you targeted the extension and check to see that the file path is correct. The folders in your XAMPP installation may be named differently.
The current (as of Sept 2010) version of the XAMPP binary for OS X contains the 2.0.4 version of Xdebug which will not let you see the variable data from included files when running xdebug. You can download a newer version from http://code.activestate.com/komodo/remotedebugging/. Unzip and copy one of the xdebug.so files to /Applications/XAMPP/xamppfiles/lib/php/php-5.3.1/extensions/no-debug-non-zts-20090626. As of Oct 2, 2010 this binary is still out of date (2.1beta3 rather than the stable 2.1) but it will show the variable data appropriately.
Now, we need to check that XDebug is installed correctly. To do this, we need to re-start XAMPP. In Windows, we can just browse to the "c:\xampp" folder in Windows Explorer and double-click the program "xampp-control.exe" to open the application shown below.
Press the "Stop" button for "Apache". The button with then read "Start". Press "Start" for Apache and wait a few seconds and the green "Running" message will again display. Then press "Exit" to close the application.
In Windows, if you get "ERROR: MySQL service not started [-1]", you may be able to correct this by going to c:\xampp\mysql and running mysql_uninstallservice.bat followed by mysql_installservice.bat.
In Linux, to restart XAMPP execute the command
sudo /opt/lampp/lampp restart
In Mac, open the "XAMPP Control" application, stop, and then start the Apache service again.
Once XAMPP has been restarted, open a browser and navigate to "http://localhost" to display the XAMPP welcome message (if you set XAMPP to listen to another port, you must append the port to the url; e.g.:"http://localhost:8080/"). Press the "phpinfo()" link again to display the PHP information screen. Scroll down to the lower part of the screen. You should see a section for "XDebug" as shown below.
Look at the settings you entered in the "php.ini" file above. You should see these same settings in the xdebug display, as shown below.
At this point, XDebug is set up correctly.
Eclipse is written in Java, so before you can install Eclipse, you need to make sure you have a recent version of Java running. Note that many Linux distributions include third-party Java runtimes (or JVM's for "Java Virtual Machine"), some of which don't work with Eclipse. The safest thing is to make sure you are running the Sun JRE (Jave Runtime Environment). You can download the latest Java version at www.java.com. If you already have a recent version of the Sun JRE (for example, 1.5 or 1.6), you can skip this step.
Another option for Mac OS X Snow Leopard users is to download the OS X packages from http://www.open.collab.net/downloads/community/ for Subversion after you've installed Subclipse. This will install the appropriate JavaHL library to make the installed JVM work properly.
The next step is to download Eclipse. The easiest thing is to install the Eclipse PDT (PHP Development Tools) "all-in-one" bundle. This is available here. Download PDT 2.2.0 All In Ones / Eclipse PHP Package. There are downloads for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X. When you download, you will be asked to pick a download mirror. At the time of this writing, the name of the Windows download is "eclipse-php-helios-win32.zip" and is 143mb.
Installing Eclipse is very easy -- you just unzip the file to a target directory. In Windows, it is best to use a third-party "zip" program to do the unzipping. In some cases, Windows Explorer will not correctly unzip this archive and Eclipse won't run correctly. One good option is 7 Zip, available here.
I created a directory called "c:\eclipse_php" for the target. When the file is extracted, you will see a folder called "eclipse" and under that folder 5 folders and six files.
Eclipse will use the default Java JVM for your system. In Windows, this is normally the right one (from Sun). In some Linux distributions, the default JVM may be a third-party program that doesn't work correctly with Eclipse. In this case, you can specify the JVM to use by editing the eclipse.ini file in the eclipse folder as as follows, substituting the correct path to your installed Sun version of the Java JVM:
-showsplash org.eclipse.platform --launcher.XXMaxPermSize 512M -vm /usr/lib/jvm/java-1.5.0-sun/jre/bin/java -vmargs -Xms512m -Xmx512m
Note that the path to the JVM goes on the line below the "-vm". Also note that the file ends with a blank line.
At this point, you should be able to start up Eclipse. Just find the "eclipse.exe" file inside the eclipse folder and double-click to execute it. In Linux: /path/to/your/eclipse/folder/eclipse
An alternative way to install Eclipse with the phpEclipse environment is to use EasyEclipse for PHP. This includes everything you need (including Subclipse) in one simple install for most platforms. The following instructions are not applicable for EasyEclipse for PHP.
The first time you launch Eclipse, the screen below displays.
Before we can start using Eclipse, we need to create a workspace. This is the folder where all of the Eclipse files and project information will be stored. Since we will be working on web-based projects, we want our project PHP and HTML files to be visible to XAMPP. So we will create our workspace in the "c:\xampp\htdocs" folder (in linux: "/opt/lampp/htdocs").
To do this, press the Browse button, navigate to the "c:\xampp\htdocs" or "/opt/lampp/htdocs" folder, and press the New Folder button. Create a directory called something like "joomla_development" and make sure it says the same thing in the Folder field. (You can click on a different folder and then click on the new folder to get the name in the Folder field.) The screen should look like the one below.
Press OK. Then we go back to the Workspace Launcher, as shown below.
Before pressing OK, you can check the box so that you won't need to go through this screen each time you start Eclipse.
Now you should see a splash screen and then a "Welcome to Eclipse" screen, as shown below.
Close this window and the normal Eclipse workbench will display, as shown below.
At this point, Eclipse is installed.
Let's do one final configuration setting, which only applies if you are running Windows or Mac. As you may know, Windows and Linux use different characters to terminate lines in text files. Since the Joomla! source code repository is on a Linux machine, we need to tell Eclipse to create Linux-style patch files. Although Mac is Unix based, for the sake of standardization, Mac users should use these settings too. To do this, we'll navigate to Window / Preferences, expand the General tree, and select "Workspace". This is shown in the screenshot below.
Make two changes. Select Other / UTF-8 for the Text file encoding and Other / Unix for the New text file line delimiter, as shown above. Press OK.
At this point, Eclipse is set up and we can start working with PHP files.
Note: Getting XDebug to work on some workstations can be difficult. XDebug is NOT required to be able to use Eclipse for PHP development. If you are new to Eclipse for PHP, you can skip this section and use Eclipse without XDebug if desired. You can install XDebug later if you need it.
The first thing we need to do is to tell Eclipse to use the XDebug we installed earlier. Navigate to Window / Preferences, as shown below. (Mac users: Eclipse / Preferences...)
This will open the Preferences dialog. Expand the PHP node on the left and select "Debug" to display the screen below.
Notice that the "Break at first line" box is checked. This means that the debugger will always break or suspend execution at the first line of code. We'll see this later on when we run the debugger.
Select XDebug for the PHP Debugger. You might get the message below.
If so, just ignore it and press OK. (We're going to change the ports now anyway.)
In order to ensure compatability with php.ini, press the "Configure" link for the PHP Debugger to display the screen below.
Highlight the XDebug line and press Configure to display the screen below.
Change the port number to "10000" as shown, to match what we put in the "php.ini" file earlier. (I also changed the port number for the Zend debugger to "10001" just to get rid of the port 9000 warning message.)
A Runtime Error has occurred. Do you wish to Debug? Line: 1 Error: Syntax error
If so, you can eliminate these messages by changing the "Output Capture Settings / Capture stdout" from "copy" to "off".
Next, we need to set some options. Select the menu Window / Preferences to open the Preferences dialog. Expand PHP and Debug and select "Workbench Options", as shown below.
Change the settings as shown above. You can experiment with these settings to make Eclipse best for you.
Next, select the "PHP Servers" item on the tree to display the screen shown below.
Select the "Default PHP Web Server" (the only one in the list) and press the Edit button to display the Edit Server dialog shown below.
Recall that we created our workspace, called "joomla_development", under the "c:\xampp\htdocs" directory. So the URLs to the HTML and PHP files in our project will need to include the "joomla_development" directory name (for example, "http://localhost/joomla_development/Test Project/test.php"). If we change this here, Eclipse will create the URLs for us automatically. So complete the screen as shown above and press OK.
Now we finally get to have some fun. We're going to write a simple PHP script and run and debug it to test that Eclipse is set up correctly. If you are already familiar with Eclipse, you can just skip over this section. If not, we'll go through some basics.
First, some quick Eclipse terminology. In Eclipse, we talk about the workbench, perspectives, and views. The workbench is just the whole screen. It has an edit area, where we will edit our PHP files, and a series of views around the outside. A view is an area that displays information about a file or some other resource. A perspective is just a pre-packaged layout of views designed for a specific purpose. When we're writing PHP programs, two perspectives are of interest: the PHP perspective and the PHP Debug perspective.
Let's open the PHP perspective. We can select Window / Open Perspective / PHP, as shown below.
Now the workbench displays a different set of views, including the PHP Explorer, in the upper left, and three views in the lower left. Note that Eclipse has pretty good Help, which you can access by pressing F1 or selecting Help / Help Contents from the menu. The screen below shows some of the contents available, including Getting Started, Basic Tutorials, and other useful information.
Remember that we created a workspace when we launched Eclipse. Before we can write any code, we need to create a project. A project stores a group of related program files. For example, the entire Joomla! application will be one project. We're going to create a test project that we can use to test our setup. We'll select the menu File / New / PHP Project, as shown below.
This will open the first screen in the new project wizard, shown below. Enter the project name, in this case "Test Debug", and press Finish.
Our new project will now show in the PHP Explorer view.
Next, we need to create a PHP file. Select the "Test Debug" project, right click, select New / PHP File, as shown below.
Press the Browse button and select the "Test Project" for the source folder. The New PHP File wizard will display, as shown below. Enter "test.php" for the file name, and press Finish.
An empty PHP file will now display in the editor. Enter the code shown below, and press the Save button in the upper left toolbar to save the "test.php" file.
Now, we're going to execute the script. We'll select the file "test.php" and right-click and select Run As / PHP Web Page, as shown below.
The script will be run in your default browser, and should display as shown below.
If your php files are set by default to open in a text editor, you may get an error. If so, go to Window/Preferences/General/Web Browser and explicitly select your preferred option.
Note that the "phpinfo()" command displays information about your PHP configuration. This is the same screen we saw earlier, when we clicked on the "phpinfo()" link in the XAMPP home page.
Now, let's try debugging this script. Again, select the "test.php" file and right-click, but this time select "Debug As / PHP Web Page", as shown below.
This time, the browser opens and suspends. (Note: If Eclipse does not suspend at the first line, try closing Eclipse and re-starting it.)
Go back to Eclipse and open the PHP Debug perspective by selecting Window / Open Perspective / PHP Debug, as shown below.
This opens the Debug Perspective, with the "test.php" file suspended, as shown below.
Recall from earlier that the "Break at first line" option was selected. This is why the debugger has suspended here, on the first line in our program.
There is a lot going on in this screen. The Debug view in the upper left shows the "frame" information. In this case, we are suspended on line 2. The editor window is now in the middle of the screen. A small blue arrow shows where the program is suspended.
In the upper right is the Variables view. This shows the variables that are in scope at this point in the program.
The toolbar in the Debug perspective is important. The tools are labeled below.
If you are familiar with debuggers from other IDEs, these commands will probably be familiar. If not, you can read more about it in the Eclipse help documentation and experiment on your own.
To finish, let's press the Step Over button. The Debug view and editor now show that we are on line 3. Note that this means that we are about to execute line 3. Also, note the change in the Variables view. Now the variable $mytest has a value of "this is a test" because line 2 has now executed.
Press Step Over again. Now we're on line 4. Look at the browser window. It should now say "this is a test", since now line 3 has executed. Press Step Over again and look at the browser window. Now it shows the output of "phpinfo()".
Finally, press Resume. Notice that the program is no longer suspended and the browser no longer shows that it is waiting to complete the page. The script has completed, but our debugger session is still running.
To close the debugger, select the "Remote Launch" in the Debug view and press the Terminate button. Two things happen. In the browser, a new window launches showing a terminate message. In Eclipse, the PHP perspective automatically displays. This is because we set this in the Debug preferences.
Now we had to manually open the Debug perspective, which is an extra step. We can tell Eclipse to do this automatically for us. We just go to Window / Preferences / Run/Debug / Perspectives, select "PHP Web Page", and check "Always" for "Open the associated perspective when launching", as shown below.
At this point, the XDebug is working correctly in Eclipse.
This can happen if another application is using the port you chose for XDebug. If you experience this problem, try changing the port from 10000 to 10002 or some other value. You have to change the port number in your
php.ini file as well as in the Eclipse preferences. You also have to re-start your Apache server to make the change effective.
Before we can start coding in Joomla!, we need to be able to work with the Subversion (SVN) source code repository. Subversion is a third-party plugin for Eclipse, so we need to use the Eclipse Update Manager to install it. To do this, navigate to Help / Software Updates, as shown below.
The Software Updates and Add-ons dialog will display. Select the "Available Software" tab. The list of available update sites will display. Press the "Add Site" button to display the Add Site dialog. Enter "http://subclipse.tigris.org/update_1.6.x" as the URL, as shown below.
Press OK and the "Available Software" tab should again display, this time with additional options from the Subclipse site. Select all Subclipse options as shown below. Then press the "Install" button.
Eclipse will work for a minute and then display the Install window, shown below. Press the "Next" button. A "Review Licenses" window appears. Click "I accept the terms of the license agreements". Now click finish.
After the files have been downloaded and installed, Eclipse will show the message below recommending that you restart Eclipse. Press "Yes" and Eclipse will restart.
Once Eclipse has restarted, we can test that the Subversion plugin is working. Select File / Import as shown below.
Then expand the SVN element in the tree. You should see an option called "Checkout Projects from SVN", as shown below.
At this point, the plugin has been installed successfully. Press "Cancel" to cancel the import. (We'll import the Joomla! project in the next section.)
This article is continued here: Setting up your workstation for Joomla! development -- Part 2. This includes checking out the Joomla! source code, debugging Joomla! from Eclipse, creating patch files, and Eclipse tips and tricks.