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HTTP response code

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Hi Freaks, 
I am using XMLHttpRequest in my JavaScript code to execute PHP scripts on the server. Works great but one thing puzzles me.

Whenever my PHP code triggers a runtime exception (such as a mandatory parameter being empty), the request returns with HTTP status 200 OK.
Same happens even when there is a syntax error in my PHP code. Why does it not return a 500 Internal Server error in these cases ?
Is there a way to get that behavior without having to check each and every command and explicitly setting a 500 status ?

Thanks for any ideas !

Edited by cbreemer
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to get php to cause a http 500 status for fatal syntax/runtime errors, php's display_errors setting needs to be set to OFF. you would then want the log_errors setting to be set to ON, so that you have a record of what errors are occurring. also, php's error_reporting needs to always be set to E_ALL or a -1.

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Thanks for that @mac_gyver ! I now remember seeing these tips posted before so I should probably have known.
I can't get that to work just now but I'm sure I am doing it wrong and it looks like I first need to study the various error/logging functions in some depth.

Meanwhile I'm quite satisfied with my hack, which relies on the observation (fact ?) that PHP error output always starts with <br />
It's a kludge, I know, but for a private hobby project it looks good enough until proven different.

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