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The best IDE for PHP development
  • I would like to know which IDE you guys think is the best for PHP developing, what do you use and what commercial version you should use instead if you could pay for it. By the way, I found the links below very interesting:

    Seven great PHP IDEs compared:


    PHP editors reviews:


  • I use Eclipse + PDT + Aptana which works fine for me. Integrated svn, auto_completion (also of user functions) and documentation hinting is all I need. It's in Java so is multiplatform and the memory footprint doesn't concern me :)
  • You can find in the old forum some of the points of view of Kohana users regarding the IDE they are using: http://forumarchive.kohanaphp.com/index.php/topic,406.0.html.

    Personally I use E text editor, a clone of textmate for Windows boxes and it's quite good.
  • I use Eclipse/PHPEclipse+Aptana+Subclipse+MyLyn on 3 of my computers and it works nicely. PHPEclipse is abit old but still nice. Although ive been thinking about changing to PDT just so its abit easier to colour theme as im over a white background and PHPEclipse is abit annoying with it.
  • I have tended not to use an IDE for long a time. Because at one time I had to work on many different computers, so could not rely on a consistent environment. Basically had to use whatever was on the machine. I ended up using Scite mostly.

    From what I've seen and heard, the Eclipse / PDT bundle is very good, and quite a few Kohana's (Kohanians ???) use it.

    At the moment I use OpenKomodo Cross-platform, not heavyweight, and works with PHP and Python, which is what I use. (OpenKomodo is free and open source, it lacks only the integrated debugger, which is in the commercial version, which is too expensive ;)

  • I've been programming in php since long time, and i've tried several IDEs, but always something was missing: code completition, real time debug, support for svn, remote ftp folders, and so on.

    Between them, the most powerfull is (obviously) Zend IDE, with a great debug system, in local and from remote, supporting also session debug, ftp and many other features, but it has a BIG problem: IT'S NOT FREE.

    I also used Eclipse / PDT, but a lot of bugs and instability of the IDE made me move towards Zend. The most important feature i look for in a php ide is the internal debugger and i think, unfortunately, today Zend is still the best.

    I'd really like to substitute Zend ide with a FREE one, as soon as possible.
  • I recently went on the hunt for the best php ide and after trying aptana, Zend and countless others I came accross PhpED by Nusphere and it honestly blows the competition away - by far the best both in terms of powerfull functionality and simplicity of use - It's not cheap but it's so good I just had to buy it ( $199 ) - a few months on and I still feel it was worth every cent!
  • Didn't we have this conversation a while ago?

    I still use Eclipse + PDT, and I distinctly remember recomending WinSCP last time - very handy for automaticly uploading files to linux servers from windows.
  • Sorry,

    i forgot to add that i prefer working on linux...
  • I don't even use IDE. Textmate and lots of browser reloads works the best for me :p
  • I really don't understand why Zend changed Zend Studio 5.5 (73MB) to a new version for Eclipse (265MB, $299). Despite the fact it has a few less features, the old version was much more intuitive and easy to use than this new bloated IDE. The old version was light and could be cheaper, but now you can only buy it embed into the new version.

    Well, I sincerely don't like Java-based programs. Mostly of them are huge, heavy and slower than their non-Java competitors. Aptana Studio (94MB, $99) and the new Zend Studio, for example, are based in Eclipse platform, so they are Java-based. The good thing is that they run in Windows, Linux or Mac.

    For me, these Eclipse-based programs are less intuitive than their competitors. For example, I needed to ask a friend for help to just know that I must import files to start a new project using files from an existent web site. Why not just use the same folder where my web sites are, saving disk space, and where I can test with my own local web server? For me, start a new project importing files is something like to enter a car by its engine...

    This new Zend Studio for Eclipse also only connects to a database via JDBC. I did try it, but it just can't connect to my local MySQL, while the old version did it easily.

    I don't know if I am too used to Dreamweaver (300MB, $399), but I like very much its synchronize and upload features. It is easy to use and always at hand. I did test some IDEs, but they appear to me that they hide the upload function as much as they can. Mostly, they are very hard to just upload a single file to the server...

    There is a debugger extension for Dreamweaver, but it just checks the page for errors. It helps, but is nothing compared to Zend debug/profiler/code completion. Despite this, the error checking of Zend sometimes find errors in where is no error at all. For example, if you write an HTML tag like

    some text

    , it says that the ending tag doesn't have an opening tag...

    Many IDEs also use too much screen space for their windows and reserves only a small fraction for the coding editor, which should be the main area. In this aspect, Nusphere PHPEd (58MB, $299) is better because it does show and hide windows automatically. The old Zend 5.5 is nearly the same, but we need to open and close the windows manually. However, I liked more the Zend 5.5 interface. Also, PHPEd installs a lot of sub-applications in Windows (see Add/Remove Programs in Control Panel). Zend is more clean in this aspect.

    Another IDE I did test was PHPDesigner (16MB, $59). It is very good, nice editor, have a better support for CSS and HTML than any other, but like PHPEd, it also needs XDebug and some other third party applications to work. It is commercial, and only offers a trial version.

  • The code completion, realtime error checking and debug tracking of Zend Studio, PHPDesigner and PHPed are really good. You can step in line by line in your code and watch the variables changing. I miss too much such features in Dreamweaver, because nothing can beat Dreamwever in design. With its CS3 version, draw XHTML pages with CSS is a breeze.

    However, these debug tools have a flaw: they don't take into account that the script where you are working rely on other scripts to run. So, they show errors because they don't know that the execution should start elsewhere to load the needed libraries.

    Another problem with the IDEs is that they have a window where they show the classes, methods and functions of your site, but they show these classes, methods and functions mixed with the framework classes. It is very hard to find what you want there. They should ask us what folders do not include in this list.

    Aptana Studio is very slow to load (well, it is Java), and it doesn't have a debugger for PHP, but have code completion. It is the best for Javascript and AJAX debug in either Firefox and Internet Explorer, also it has a JSON editor. It has a free version and a professional commercial version ($99).

    The database features of Zend Studio, PHPEd and some others are almost useless. For example, you can't even add fields or make changes in your tables. A good IDE should come with at least a good database/query builder, with embed logic to help us to create the best optimized tables and queries.

    In this aspect they are very far away from the perfection. If you want to manage your database, try HeidiSQL (1.6MB, free), it is much better. HeidiSQL is a new open source version of the old MySQL-Front. It would be perfect if it have a query/table builder and optimizer, but it is much better than phpMyAdmin if you have direct access to your database.

    Xdebug (160KB, free) can be installed in your local PHP, and it gives you better informative error messages.

    If you need a good PHP/MySQL/Apache environment running in your machine, use AppServ (15MB, free). It installs the lastest stable versions of the server software, making them ready to use.

    Well, I still need to try Komodo (35MB, $295) and PHPEdit (38MB, $135). As I could see, Komodo have support for PHP and also Javascript/AJAX, but the best of it are the tools to build Regular Expressions. This is also a thing that all good IDEs should have.

    About the free IDEs, unfortunatelly there are not much options for us, and they don't have the features of the commercial releases. If you can afford the price, a good commercial IDE may worth the investment.

  • Eclipse + PDT is perfect. What I love about Eclipse is that I can use it with every single programming language without changing my habits/shortcuts, etc.

    I don't really see what kind of bugs or instabilities you have encountered with Eclipse/PDT, Fabio. There's like none. (Maybe you have tried out an old PDT version or something.)
  • I use PHPED and really satisfied with it
  • I also use PhpEd. It is great to have an integrated debugger to step through code. No more echo here and echo there. I see they have it on special $199
  • I use phpDesigner - really like it.
  • PhpED - the debugging is very powerful. If anyone ever tells you that they can debug their code using 'echo' statements, this is a sure sign that they aren't doing anything complicated. Or they are very slow coders.

  • I also tried Netbeans 6.0 and 6.1 with XDebug, but Netbeans doesn't still recognize the new file system structure introduced in Apache 2.x. I think it is compatible only with the old structure of httpd.conf before 2.x.
  • Just tried php designer and it is excatly what Iam looking for, beats Zend Studio for eclispe IMO.... I buying....
  • For those using Vim and looking for an IDEish look to it. There's the PIDA project. If you're only looking for a good file tree explorer, I suggest the NERDTree script, or if you want a project explorer the nice Project script.
  • I just had this discussion over at: http://ubuntuforums.org/search.php?searchid=42653962

    Ubuntu Linux:

    * Firefox (Web Developer, Firebug)
    * gEdit (over SSH and FTP)
    * Nautilus (for SSH and FTP directory browsing)
    * Adobe Photoshop CS2 in Wine for graphics... sometimes GIMP
    * BASH (vim and ssh) when I need it.
    * KohanaPHP (PHP Framework)

    Looking into:

    * Geany
    * gPHPEdit


    * TextMate

    I also run a localhost on my Ubutnu machine, which can be installed like this:

    sudo aptitude install apache2 php5 mysql-server phpmyadmin && sudo rm /var/www && mkdir $HOME/localhost && sudo ln -s /var/www $HOME/localhost && ln -s /usr/share/phpmyadmin $HOME/localhost/admin

    This essentially creates a localhost on your desktop computer, makes the root of your localhost /home//localhost, sets up http://localhost/admin for phpmyadmin and of course install MySQL and PHP5.

    (PS: I really hate Vanilla Forums. I just logged in, did some reading of the forums, went got food, came back, wrote a post here, and it told me I had an invalid session and wouldn't let me back to the textbox with my comments. Very frustrating. At least autofill the textarea with $comments, Jesus)
  • I'm using Geany.

    It's very nice... well, not IDE, but very good editor.

    You can integrate it with Tidy and PHP CLI To do so edit some configurations files, each assigned to particular file type (*.php, *.html), after that you can use 2 buttons (compile and run) to order particular action. And the context of this actions changes dynamically depending at which file you are working. So for HTML pressing compile button will run Tidy and the same button for PHP file will run PHP CLI to check if there are any errors (equivalent to writing php -l file.php in command line). The Run button can for example for HTML file open it in a firefox (or any other) where for PHP will execute the script (this is less useful since it only executes this particular file). There is also something like "context action", it takes the word over which you have placed the cursor and passes it as an argument to preconfigured command/action. It also can be assigned independently for each file type. In example, for PHP file it can open new firefox tab with address "php.net/$argument_word" so you get fast access to PHP manual.

    Of course it isn't a substitute of a good IDE. Particularly this debugging function of every good IDE sounds interesting, very nice to observe how code and all variables are executed in a slow motion. I will have to try it.

  • If somebody is choosing IDE I recommend PHPed, simply it is worth every penny. I work 10h every day with it and it boosts development time a lot especially if you configure shortcuts.

  • IMO using IDE is not the best option in the long run.

    Many great programmers advise using advanced editors like (vim, emacs, textmate, etc).
    I'm using a lot ot CLI, but having good look and feel for the environment can boost productivity a lot
    and make you feel happy. You have this nice project tree, bla bla, auto completion, bla bla.

    But the problem is you are stuck to that particular IDE, you don't know how things work internally, so
    you depend on there implemtation and in the most cases it is not reusable or can be automated.

    I don't argue that there are great IDEs around, that give you great productivity, but I think for serious
    development you must know your tools and how to automate them.

    For me the big plus is in automation, so I'm rooting for IDE like pida (http://pida.co.uk) that integrates
    different tools.
  • @evge
    sorry, I disagree quite strongly with what you say.

    But the problem is you are stuck to that particular IDE,

    not at all. Most IDEs provide many useful helpers that can make you code faster and more accurately. Never have I seen an IDE that obtrusively became part of a project, or vice versa.

    you don't know how things work internally,

    speak for yourself !

    so you depend on there implemtation and in the most cases it is not reusable or can be automated.

    I don't argue that there are great IDEs around, that give you great productivity, but I think for serious
    development you must know your tools and how to automate them.

    A lot of IDEs do precisely this, without the need to learn many small, separate tools.
  • I don't use bloated IDE. Textmate and vim the best for me.

  • I only use GEdit with some plugin like Snippets and, sometimes, Vim or Pida with vim's snippets plugin. Over ssh/ftp i just use a fuse module to mount it on my filesystem

    for those using GEdit with Snippet plugin, I've just converted Shadowhand's textmate snippets for use with GEdit:

  • Here are my tools of preference.

    OS = OS X

    Text Editor = TextMate

    I started with TextEdit/Smultron and then decided that I would give TextMate a try when I was going through my Ruby on Rails phase. About the best thing that came out of that phase was TextMate. I did recently try Coda because of its built in SVN support, but my trail period is over and I am back to using TextMate.

    There are a lot of things in TextMate that I am still discovering and it continues to amaze me - with the exception of the SVN support. Its OK, but not great. I just recently found a javascript bundle that allows me the lint my javascript, minimize and compress it all from TextMate. And I could not live without the snippets. Coda clips were OK, but TextMate snippets win hands down.

    CSS editor = CSSEdit
    The best in my opinion. I would use TextMate for CSS too, but CSSEdits autocompletion is great.

    FTP = Trasmit
    It has some Automator actions that I just discovered that give me pretty close to the same FTP sync functions that Coda has.

    SVN GUI = svnX (testing Versions)
    I will probably switch to Versions if the price isn't too high.

    Browser != Internet Explorer
  • Have any of you tried NetBeans IDE for PHP?

  • Aptana rules the world, its amazing i love it!

  • I use Textmate, CSSEdit, Versions, Transmit and sometimes Coda - all under OS X. If someone forces me to do less work in more time and makes me work under Windows I choose Aptana.
  • I also recommend Net Beans. They have recently released 6.5 version with full support for PHP also with SVN sup, MySQL sup. Very promising. And all this in 21MB.
  • @jarek_bolo: I haven't used NetBeans yet, I just heard about the new release you mentioned. Can you compare it somehow to e. g. PHPEclipse or PDT? What especially do you like/dislike about it?

  • I used to be a big Aptana fan, but now I have to admit I'm using TextMate for everything - there is just no better editor IMHO
  • Well,as a java programmer,I prefer the Zend Studio for eclipse than any other.Obviously, it is huge ,slow and buggy.
  • I used to use the Eclipse IDE, which features many tempting plugins and add-ons, but due to its enormously sluggish performance and dependency hell, I have recently switched to a heavily tweaked GEdit (ftw)!

    I highly recommend it.
  • I'm totally in love with phpEd. For mysql i use navicat for the cool structural synchronization and mysql front for creating and updating the database structures.
  • Hey @ghaez

    I missed your post.
    I can't compare NetBeans with other big IDEs because this is my first big IDE :) Before that I was using only medium editors like kED or Geany.
    Saying that my recommendation doesn't feel objectively :P
    At the end everything comes to the point where you have to try things yourself, so just try it.
  • i use
    * Eclipse+PDT+Subclipse
    * Sequel Pro
    * MAMP
    * Firefox+FireBug+FirePHP
  • Subclipse for my old Eclipse setup will be the thing I miss most, for sure. It was such a wonderful plugin, even if it was a bit buggy.

    I am still looking for a good SQL administration application, preferrably under GPL or as FOSS. I remember one called something like POWER* something that was quite amazing, but have long since forgotten it.

    EDIT: Found it! http://www.sqlpower.ca/page/architect ... Now to see if it is as good as I remember.
  • MySQL Workbench 6 will be great: http://dev.mysql.com/workbench/?p=127
  • I currently use

    * e-texteditor;
    * xampp;
    * Firefox + FireBug + Webdeveloper;
  • I'm using e-texteditor too. Nice editor (good syntax highlighting theme for it here), but I wish I had a mac to play with textmate.
  • At home i use E, too. But i have to change to Mac at work, so i try textmate.

    Unfortunately, there is no "Open remote folder" and no "sshfs". To all textmate users: Any other ideas?
  • Posted By: dyron

    At home i use E, too. But i have to change to Mac at work, so i try textmate.

    Unfortunately, there is no "Open remote folder" and no "sshfs". To all textmate users: Any other ideas?

    http://www.magnetk.com/expandrive or google for macfuse.

    lets you mount a remote ssh fs

  • I love Codelobster PHP Edition - http://www.codelobster.com

  • Nobody mentioned Jetbrains PHPStorm (http://www.jetbrains.com/phpstorm/), maybe because thread is 3 years old, but since clod resurrected it... PHPStorm is not free, but it's has some killer features like PHP Doc support, SVN/GIT/Mercurial/CVS support, smart editor, lightweight, works on 3 mayor platforms,... If free tool is required I would go with Netbeans.

  • NetBeans here (sometimes geany too, but mainly for javascript)

  • phpstorm one the race already, it's over

  • textmate is all i need or notepad++ on windoze :)

  • NetBeans - no matter what platform. :)

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