According to this new article on the PHPFreaks.com site the use of "or die()" in scripts...must die!
I see it all the time, and I see people telling other people to do that all the time. It's plain simply bad practice and it's time that people start to understand this. When I confront people with it they usually say something along the lines of "oh, but it's just for debugging purposes". Okay, so I tend to put echo and var_dump() statements in my code for debugging as well. However, this is not the same.
They list several reasons why the "or die trick" is a bad idea including the non-catchable error that's thrown and that there's no control over where the error message from die goes. As a better alternative, they suggest using trigger_error and the exception handling built into PHP5 to correctly catch any potential errors a statement might throw.