Recently I decided to start using Xdebug. Normally, I would sprinkle var_dump() and print statement through my php code. However, This lead to a nightmare while debugging. It's more than likely eventually you'll forget an output statement somewhere. XDebug is a php extension that helps to solve this problem. It is written and maintained by Derrick Rethans.  For the latest updates and to download the source see http://xdebug.org/