Multi-language DBGP debugger client for Vim (PHP, Python, Perl, Ruby, etc.)
Python VimL Shell
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Vdebug is a new, fast, powerful debugger client for Vim. It's multi-language, and has been tested with PHP, Python, Ruby, Perl, Tcl and NodeJS. It interfaces with any debugger that faithfully uses the DBGP protocol, such as Xdebug for PHP.
There are step-by-step instructions for setting up debugging with all of the aforementioned languages in the Vim help file that comes with Vdebug.

It builds on the experience gained through the legacy of the Xdebug Vim script originally created by Seung Woo Shin and extended by so many others, but it's a total rebuild to allow for a nicer interface and support of new features.

It's written in Python, and has an object-oriented interface that is easy to extend and can even be used from the command-line. It even has unit tests covering some of the more critical parts of the code.

Recent version (version 1.4.0)

  • Allow setting of debugger features with the g:vdebug_features dictionary
  • Stop error when trying to debug with an unsaved file
  • Fixed stuck breakpoints
  • And more... check out the HISTORY file

How to use

First of all, scoot down to the quick guide below.

There is extensive help provided in the form of a Vim help file. This goes through absolutely everything, from installation to configuration, setting up debuggers for various languages, explanation of the interface, options, remote server debugging and more.

To get this help, type:

:help Vdebug

after installing the plugin.



  • Vim compiled with Python 2.6+ support, tabs and signs
  • A programming language that has a DBGP debugger, e.g. PHP, Python, Ruby, Perl, NodeJS, Tcl...


Clone or download a tarball of the plugin and move its content in your ~/.vim/ directory.

Your ~/.vim/plugins/ directory should now contain vdebug.vim and a directory called "python".

Using git and Pathogen

Clone this repository in your ~/.vim/bundle directory

Using vundle

Add this to your ~/.vimrc file:

Bundle 'joonty/vdebug.git'

Then, from the command line, run:

vim +BundleInstall +qall

Quick guide

Set up any DBGP protocol debugger, e.g. Xdebug. (See :help VdebugSetUp). Start Vdebug with <F5>, which will make it wait for an incoming connection. Run the script you want to debug, with the debugging engine enabled. A new tab will open with the debugging interface.

Once in debugging mode, the following default mappings are available:

  • <F5>: start/run (to next breakpoint/end of script)
  • <F2>: step over
  • <F3>: step into
  • <F4>: step out
  • <F6>: stop debugging
  • <F7>: detach script from debugger
  • <F9>: run to cursor
  • <F10>: set line breakpoint
  • <F11>: show context variables (e.g. after "eval")
  • <F12>: evaluate variable under cursor
  • :Breakpoint <type> <args>: set a breakpoint of any type (see :help VdebugBreakpoints)
  • :VdebugEval <code>: evaluate some code and display the result
  • <Leader>e: evaluate the expression under visual highlight and display the result

To stop debugging, press <F6>. Press it again to close the debugger interface.

If you can't get a connection, then chances are you need to spend a bit of time setting up your environment. Type :help Vdebug for more information.


If you have a problem, and would like to see what's going on under the hood or raise an issue, it's best to create a log file. You can do this by setting these options before you start debugging:

:VdebugOpt debug_file ~/vdebug.log
:VdebugOpt debug_file_level 2

Then start debugging, and you can follow what's added to the log file as you go. It shows the communication between the debugging engine and Vdebug.

If you're creating an issue then it's probably best to upload a log as a Gist, as it can be pretty large.


I gladly accept contributions to the code. Just fork the repository, make your changes and open a pull request with detail about your changes. There are a couple of conditions:

  • The tests must pass (run python in the top directory of the plugin)
  • Your commit messages should follow the rules outlined here


This plugin is released under the MIT License.