Commenting Out Sections of Code Helps PHP Troubleshooting

Yesterday, at the end of a long day in front of this machine I could not for the life of me find the cause of this error:

"Parse error: syntax error, unexpected $end in"
my file on the last line. Now, I recognize that probably means I left out or hastily copied over a quote mark or left the semi-colon off the end of a php statement.

While 512 lines is no huge file, scanning those umpteen lines for a missing character was futile even though I looked at every line at least three times. Then it occurred to me to do what all good thinkers do…let my mind wander! It’s a trick that more people should know about, where you leave the problem at hand and free your mind of it for the time being. Miraculously, a solution will present itself. Michael, where ever you are, thanks for the tip!

Coming back to the issue this morning, I figured that I could “comment out” large portions of the code to isolate the problem. At first I started to comment out entire areas of the php by using <!–– ––> around the html portions that contained the php statements, but that didn’t work. Then, I realized that I should be commenting out portions of the php, so I used /* */ around smaller and smaller sections of the php code and finally found my error, a missing endif.

Comments come in handy for troubleshooting php!

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