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ellaricviz When OpenBiblio does something wrong, we want the problem found and fixed quickly. You can help us do this by reporting the problem in a clear and detailed way.

Documenting the problem

When you see a problem with OpenBiblio, the first thing you should do is copy down exactly what page you see the problem on. The easiest way is to copy and paste the address of the page (from the address bar) and all the content of the page (or HTML source) into a text file (like Notepad). Do this before you do anything else, because some problems appear and disappear mysteriously -- you may not be able to get this information again. Next, try to remember the exact actions you took leading up to the problem. Write this down along with a description of what you expected to happen, and what actually happened.

Now, if you did not get an error message before, you should try to find one. In a few places, OpenBiblio still hides error messages in HTML comments. We're trying to remove all of these, but it's still a very good idea to scan through the HTML source looking for error messages. The next place to check is your web server's error log. Nearly all web servers have them, but they're not all in the same place -- you're on your own here. If you still can't find an error message, edit your php.ini. Look for the option named 'display_errors' and make sure its set to 'On'. When the problem happens again, this option should make PHP show you the relevant error message, if any. NOTE: It is not recommended that you leave display_errors on all the time -- under certain circumstances it could give attackers information about your systems that you don't want them to have. But while you're bug hunting, it can be very convenient.

Hopefully, you now have seen an error message. Write this down.

The last thing to do before sending in a report (or trying to fix the bug yourself) is to try to reproduce the problem. Repeat whatever steps led up to the problem (you did write those down, didn't you?). Try to find the simplest set of repeatable steps that cause the problem to appear. If you can only make it happen sometimes, write down how often it happens. If you can't make it happen again at all, still file a bug report, but note that it only happened once.

Reporting the problem

You can post a bug report in our Help Forum or in our Bug Tracker. If you already know how to fix the problem and are posting a patch, post in the bug tracker. Otherwise, more people read the help forum, so you are likely to get help more quickly there.

In any event, it's a good idea to search both the help forum and the bug tracker to see if someone has already reported the problem you're having. You can search both at once here.

Information to include

First, tell us everything you can about the problem. If possible, give us step-by-step instructions that consistently demonstrate the problem when you follow them. Any error messages you saw should be sent verbatim, along with a description of where you saw them. If an error message appears on a web page (or in the source of a web page), tell us what appears in the address bar when you see the error. You can remove the domain name or IP address of your web server, if you like, and post something like http://mydomain/openbiblio/shared/biblio_search.php.

Second, tell us about your system:

  • What operating system version are you running? e.g. Windows Server 2003, Ubuntu 6.06, MacOS X 10.4
  • What web server version are you running? e.g. lighttpd/1.4.3, Apache 1.3.20, IIS 5.0
  • What version of PHP are you running? e.g. PHP 4.3.5, PHP 5.2.0RC2
  • What version of MySQL are you running? e.g. MySQL 4.1.0, MySQL 5.0.21-Debian_3ubuntu1-log
  • How did you install your web server/PHP/MySQL (especially PHP)? e.g. Self installed, XAMPP, Debian Package, WAMP

Information about your PHP configuration may also be very important. You probably shouldn't post your entire php.ini in the bug report (it can be very long), but be sure to tell us about any settings you think may be relevant. The most common problem settings are:

  • magic_quotes_gpc
  • max_execution_time
  • memory_limit
  • register_globals
  • session.save_path
  • short_open_tag

But be prepared to answer questions about other php.ini settings, or even to send your php.ini to someone for examination.

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Page last modified on July 16, 2008, at 01:32 PM