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05Sep 2013

4 PHP IDEs for Serious PHP Developers

Sitting in a performance work chair from Herman miller, a cup of Colombian Folgers’s coffee  with Apple MacBook Air – all these can make a programmer  enjoy an idle work place. But the comfort zone doesn’t just end up with this list. They all love to explore a nice IDE, where they do not have to invent any code syntax. An IDE is Integrated Development Environment, which is a coding/development tool where the programmer has to peek in all day long. It might either help them to do their jobs faster and efficient or make them sick and feel helpless. Over the years IDEs have evolved greatlt and many of them contain:

SublimeText IDE

SublimeText IDE

  1. A Source code text editor
  2. Automation tools, and
  3. In-built testing and debugging mechanism

Some of the popular ones go a step ahead and contain a default compiler and interpreter, thus reducing the need for developers to toggle between various applications to carry out different tasks. While IDEs have initially started out (e.g. Turbo Pascal), as a command based interface, most of the IDEs today are GUI based, thus lending a visually appealing development environment. IDEs for PHP Our developers love playing around with many IDEs and we have come across several IDEs for all types of programming and development needs. Some IDEs are best suited for a particular type of work, while others work best for a given programming language. The popular PHP scripting language too has its fair share of language specific IDEs.  Here, we list down 4 of the top IDEs that work very well for PHP   Best PHP IDEs

 1. SublimeText:- This is a lightweight editor that helps programmers do efficient and fast coding. Though it can be used for both web development and software development, many developers prefer it for its PHP scripting capabilities.   Some of the features offered by SublimeText includes:

  • Many occurrences of a variable or object name can be edited in one go by using the multiple cursorProvision of command palette to facilitate auto completion and accurate coding by accessing the entire PHP library of functions and commands
  • A unique ‘Go To Anything’ feature that helps bring up files quickly and navigate to any portion of tex
  • Ability to do batch edits for rapid development
  • Ability to customize the entire UI based on user preferences, including font face, type, color scheme and tabs preferences.
  • Plugins like SublimeLinter provides highlighted error codes and there are many other plugins empowers the IDE with extended features

2. Eclipse PHP IDE :- Eclipse is one of the very few open source development environment that strives to be a universal development scripting platform. It provides development support to languages such as C, C++, Perl, PHP and Python. For PHP development, we would first need to download the PHP development tools suite (Eclipse PDT) that provides a stack of plug-ins that add PHP functionalities to the framework and provides additional API’s. The biggest advantage of Eclipse is the ability of deep customization that allows one to override default settings with project level or personal preferences. Some of the other benefits include automatic code correction and completion, syntax highlighting, code templates and tabbed view to facilitate opening multiple files. One remarkable feature is the ability of the editor to identify and suggest the correct code completion mechanism for abbreviations. For example, typing IAE in the Eclipse window will return ‘InvalidArgumentException’ for our reference and use. 3. JetBrains PHP Storm : We feel that the JetBrains PHP is one of the more innovative PHP IDEs around. Its main USP is the easy integration of older and newer versions of PHP right up till PHP 5.4 so that both new projects and legacy projects can be handled through the same IDE framework. Some of the key beneficial features of JetBrains PHP Storm are:

  • Enhanced quality analysis by use of code arranger, code completer, PHPDoc support. These features help developers write clean, compact and easy to understand codes within the IDE.
  •  The new version 6.0 has enhanced the coding experience with many new features such as better re-factorings,  in-build REST client, dark color theme for a fresh look and better PHP namespace handling

4. NetBeans for PHP : This IDE framework is maintained by Oracle and supports Linux, Windows and Mac OS X. It also provides us an editing and compiling environment for desktop, mobile and web applications using various languages such as C, C++, PHP and Java. For PHP, NetBeans provides customized support for various PHP enhancements such as binary notation for integers, array de-referencing and short array syntax. Some of the other crucial PHP features that are in-built into the framework are:

  1. The ability to define return parameters as array of objects (@return theClass[])
  2. Parameter tool tips
  3. Efficient project management that can clearly show files and folder structuring in a large project
  4. Syntax highlighting and code completion
  5. Smart method parameter pre-filling
  6. Capable of “Class::{expr}()” invocation.

There are new releases and version updates to existing PHP IDEs coming up every time. Apart from them, there are few other good IDEs too like BlueFish , Komodo etc we should do a careful selection on our individual development needs. For instance if light weight performance is a prerogative of a developer then SublimeText is the right way to go; if deep customization of the IDE as per project requirement is the need then Eclipse would be a better choice of IDE . Hence, make sure that you have a list of relevant needs to be fulfilled from an IDE, this will help you select the most apt IDE and thus help you in the overall PHP development process.