Can’t Find Proper IDE for PHP Development? We’ll Help You Out!
There are so many IDEs today, and they all differ by functions and specifics – they may be web based or platform specific, commercial text editors or open-sourced ones. Open-source is a superb choice for developers who wants to find a suitable environment with comprehensive features and tools. There are a bunch of cool features integrated, like checking and fixing the errors, code completion, refactoring and code generation and much more.
But choosing THE ONE might be a pain in the neck because there is a lot to be considered, your friends recommend you this, the internet recommends you that, and then you realize you need something else entirely. And choosing THE ONE is really important because spending a lot of time coding the application becomes a part of your life. Make sure that the features the certain IDE offers you are the ones you really need. And even if you already came up with the idea, the one that you’re going to use, and there are certain features missing, remember – there are always specialized tools for that. And for those, who haven’t found their own specific tool – just go ahead and try free ones first and the ones that have trial versions. For now, we’ll try to draw a picture on what is relevant today in the choices you have.
So let’s roll.
Ok, Eclipse PDT (PHP Development Tools) is a special package of several plugins for PHP development, as Eclipse itself is a Java development tool. But don’t scroll down! It might take a little longer to set up and get used, but it’s absolutely free, reliable, very powerful and has got true IDE capabilities. Eclipse PDT has all necessary components for developing Web Applications. It is an open-source project and everyone is welcome to contribute his or her source code.
The Eclipse PDT user interface might be a little complicated at first as it was not tailored only for PHP, but as soon as you learn all the tweaks, you’ll be a pro in the versatility of the really powerful functions. To adjust almost everything in the most stable development environment available is the best advantage to have.
NetBeans is fresh and bright. It got all the important IDE features to work with and its development is very rapid and open to the public. This is one of those very modern and really convenient environments that has all the features of the classic IDEs and the sharp touch that modern developers require. It’s also free – which is the most important aspect to mention.
NetBeans options are well organized, and its source editor is full of all important features for intensive coding. Navigation is very convenient, as it is implemented through projects window where source files are. Also, there is an important feature, that Eclipse lacks – Code Formatting. Code Formatting is very handy and you may end up changing almost everything with it.
NetBeans is the Letzgro Development Team choice, we love it. It is suitable for all the projects on PHP, and what’s most important is it makes our development process really easier and far agiler.
The next really amazing environment for PHP development is PHPStorm – it’s fast and simple. It’s got so many intriguing features, that each of them may be described separately since each of them have an interesting take, despite the fact that they are actually standard features comparing to the other IDEs. The shortcuts it contains makes the development process not only easy but fun. It literally kills your everyday regular routine. The incredible interactive navigation, lovely search options, and many other prompts, make writing a piece of code quite fascinating. What we also want to mention about is the testing prerogative. PHPStorm is integrated with PHPUnit Framework as it links directly to it. It is very useful in order to collect all the needed information for presentation.
PHPStorm is not free, though. But we highly recommend to download their free 30 days trial version and try it. We promise you, you’ll love it!
Lots of developers say it is the best PHP IDE out there. With all the features mentioned in other applications, Zend Studio has the ability to write code in Zend framework. It is divided into two different versions – Standard and Professional, with different prices on each of them. Besides the complete source code editor and interactive debugger for local PHP scripts that the Standard version has the Professional one has got tons of additional stuff, like code analysis, version control, optimization, source management, etc.
Yes, it sounds repelling by all these version divisions, but Zend Studio has got the most intuitive and professional interface among all others. And by all the built-in tools it promises the most fulfilled environment for development process for individuals and for team building. You avoid all the unneeded steps in setup and navigating and what you end up doing is coding on the most impressive level known yet.
Sublime Text has a little bit of a different style compared to all the other PHP IDEs, as it is an editor. But it’s the editor that’s literally the Number 1 Choice among all other simple and fast editors for coding. It got a very rich plugin culture, but at the same time, it doesn’t need all the time spent for setting it all up. It is fast, it is cross-platform, and lightweight – ideal for working with the small projects! It is easy to navigate and learn features – everything you need to dive into the game. You may download a free trial version and see it yourself. If you plan on doing small, not big corporate projects, or shuffling code around, why pile yourself with learning harder applications? This is for the developers that appreciate the truly fast working process.
There are a lot of other IDEs we didn’t mention here, we just mentioned the main ones. You may go check the others and there is a possibility that it will suit all your requirements. What we wanted to do was point out the most popular ones for those who are ready for complex, big time coding or for those who mostly edit, or develop, little projects. All the IDEs are good and picking one over another will probably be a matter of personal taste, rather than any specific criteria.