IDE, integrated development environment, is a software application that offers a one-stop service for coding. Normally, an IDE includes a source code editor, build automation tools and a debugger. Nowadays, many modern IDEs also contain intelligent code completion features.
In below, we will introduce several best PHP IDEs to help more people get to know IDEs, including Eclipse, NetBeans, Zend Studio, PhpStorm and PhpED.
Best PHP IDE – Eclipse
Mostly written in Java, Eclipse is open and free integrated development environment that contains a base workshop and an extensible plugin system for customizing the environment. Eclipse can also be used to develop applications in other programming languages, such as Perl, PHP, and Python.
Eclipse provides a plugin-based framework to help users easily create, integrate and utilize software tools, so that they can save much time and money to the largest. By the way, people should install a simple plugin, PHPEcplise before using it.
NetBeans PHP IDE
Like other IDEs described before in this article, NetBeans IDE 8.0 can also work as cross platform. Under its C/C++ capabilities it includes breadcrumb features, GDB console, remote performance and GDB mode. The php functionalities include support for php5.5, Nette Tester, CS Fixer, Twig, Latte, Neon and Project Wizard. For HTML% it has Cordova3.3+ which is Android 4.4’s WebKit debugging supported and includes Karma test runner, Grunt building support and a wide range of plugin options with the plug in Manager.
Best Commerical PHP IDE – Zend Studio
Zend Studio is a commercial and proprietary IDE for PHP developers by Zend technologies that can run on Linux, Windows and Mac OS.
It is tightly integrated with Zend Server, Zend’s pre-integrated and tested PHP application stack, ensuring developers rapidly set up a 100% PHP environment and accelerate root cause analysis of problems founded in testing or the production environment. In addition, it is also integrated with Zend Framework.
The code quality analyzer in phpStorm7 will inspect each code as you type them in. The feature utilizes code sniffer, quick fixes, doc support, rearranger and mess detection to make sure that your code is right, correct and workable. Under the development environment feature, phpStorm7 lets you organize your routine activities like local history, remote deployment, SQL and other databases integration, command line tools, Vagrant, UML, REST client, SSH console and Composer. Among its core benefits the cross platform experience comes on top. It lets users try their app and run their app in integrated environment. This extends support for Linux, Mac OSX and Windows.
The phpStorm7 IDE also offers file watcher, integrated issue tracker, Twig, Smarty, phing, frameworks and upgraded functionalities of the WebStorm IDE.
The SublimeText is the next in the line of popularity chart of php IDEs. The text editor has command palette, go to anything, split editing, distraction free mode, multiple selections, instant project switch, cross platform integration, plug in API and of course customization.
SublimeText comes with Python plugin API to enhance your app testing, works across different platforms like Windows, Linux and the Mac OSX and let you switch between different projects since it usually takes the full content automatically saved. Other features include the customization abilities that coders can avail with SublimeText. SublimeText’s customization lets you decide over the key bindings, the menus, the snippets and macros and automatic completions. It takes the help of JSON file to give you the flexibility and the customization itself works with a modifiable settings system that you can moderate based on your projects.
Up next, SublimeText’s split editing that lets your edit files or projects side by side at the same time. You can edit multiple rows and columns at the same time, work in multiple windows, use multiple splits and control the view layout. The multiple selections save you time and make your work fast. You can even rename variables – to enable multiple selections all you need to do is press Ctrl+Shift+L for the selection and Ctrl+D for the replication.
The Go To Anything is another handy feature of SublimeText that lets you open any file with your keystroke and make you reach any part of your codes. Lastly we must refer about the Command Palette of SublimeText which actually makes the difference of it as an IDE with other development environments. This limits your navigational needs by presenting the most frequently used functionalities.
Which One Is For You?
If you are a beginner then start with phpStorm; if you pose good coding skills with self correcting mentality and only dealing with php then the SublimeText would be your right decision. NetBeans would be recommended for users with advanced skills that make different coding languages to work together. Enjoy!
What If You Use Linux
If you are planning to write PHP scripts in Linux, then a powerful and feature-rich IDE would make you more productive. After reviewing PHP IDEs (including both open source and commercial) in the industry, I list out top 5 best PHP IDEs in Linux as below
- Komodo IDE
- Aptana Studio 3
- Eclipse PDT and
Komodo IDE features advanced editor, graphical debugging, code intelligence, workflow management, file management, add ons support, customization and integrating and version controlling tools and some more.
Under its advanced editing system Komodo IDE lets you select multiple location, fold codes and code blocks, get different views and multiple window support, uniform menu, smart language detection, key binding, automated abbreviation settings for snippets, macros and variable highlighting. Under graphical debugging you can configure break point, get RX toolkit, http inspector, multiple thread debugging, DBGp protocol, local and remote debugging with variable highlights in consolidated view. The Komodo IDE also gives you breadcrumb navigation, quick file sorting, minimap navigation, notification panel, projects, syncing, bookmarks, side pane and so on.
Komodo IDE’s features also include publishing, code profiling, toolbox, perl developer kit, TCL kit, interactive shells, abyss dark theme, extensions support, floating side pane, visual styling and auto completion. The IDE has code collaboration, standardization, toolbox sharing, extended functionality and ActiveState’s Stackato. You can edit PHP, python, perl, ruby, and all other codes pretty easily.
jEdit offers extensibility, customization, file management, source code editing, and syntax highlight along with its other core competencies. It works across all platforms including Unix and VMS and probably supports the widest range of languages. Use jEdit to get intelligent bracket match, auto indenting, command prompt, soft tab options, folding support, and literal and regular expression replacement and to look up for files. It has HyperSearch, reverse search option with support for 160 characters encoding for UTF8 and the UTF16. It can automatically detect the encodings, compress and decompress them per need in .gz system. It can work with plugins using XML and comes with 200 plugins as built in. The syntax highlighting capabilities of jEdit helps you to define your XML files, fully customize your control options, enable and disable the macros, supports BeanShell language for scripting needs, FTP plugin, archive options and powerful keyboard navigation.
We have previously discussed about the NetBeans and all its features in above. So kindly click here if you want to learn about it further.
Aptana Studio 3
The Eclipse PDT is another IDE for php that offers syntax highlighting, content assistance, code formatter, quick outline, php debugging, code navigation, syntax validation and templates. It is built on Eclipse platform and facilitates extensions. If you are making web applications then it will be helpful for you.
Besides these IDEs there are some Linux based editors which can help you in your PHP works. These are GNU Emacs, Vim, Bluefish Editor, Geany and gEdit. If you can integrate the open source IDEs with these editors, it can help you to deliver professional results. Alternatively, you can use them simultaneously while using the IDEs specified in above. I hope you find this article helpful for your need.