In one of my older posts, on PHP Performance Profiling with APD, there’s a discussion in the comments about which IDE is best to use with PHP. Terence Chang recommends Zend Studio and mentions Eclipse. Dreamweaver’s also discussed and I state that I just use a text editor (with syntax highlighting).
NetBeans IDE 6.5 for PHP
Lloyd’s article discusses the features present in NetBeans IDE 6.5 Beta for PHP developers. To quote Lloyd:
As web developers increasingly tackle large-scale projects that use PHP together with MySQL, they stand to benefit from an IDE that can efficiently manage their growing code base. Fortunately, the newly released NetBeans IDE 6.5 Beta arrives tailor-made to help PHP developers with their particular coding requirements.
He goes on to list the features that are included:
code completion, syntax highlighting, marking of occurrences, refactoring, code templates, pop-up documentation, easy code navigation, editor warnings, a task list, as well as a debugger.
Lloyd looks in detail at the Debugger and the integration with MySQL as well as mentioning that the PHP only distribution is only 20MB (amazing!).
It sounds great to me! I haven’t had time to try it yet and I don’t really need a full blown IDE for the PHP coding I’m doing at present, but I’ve downloaded it and will give it a spin sometime soon.
If you’re interested, I’d urge you to read Lloyd’s article in full.
A Quick Look At The PHP IDE Competition
Although Dreamweaver is great for most web development, it’s really not up to scratch when it comes to PHP development and it costs money.
Zend Studio has an excellent reputation, but it’s expensive. That might be an option if you are a full time PHP developer, but if won’t be appealing to the part timers out there, such as myself.
As I’ve said, I use a text editor (with syntax highlighting) for most of my coding, but I’m only working on short simple projects at present. For more complex projects, a comprehensive IDE would be necessary.
So that leaves Eclipse PHP (PDT) and now NetBeans IDE as the free options. Which is best? I haven’t tried them yet, but NetBeans is a lot smaller to download (if you choose PHP only), has the debugger built in (you have install a separate debugger for Eclipse). It seems to have a lot going for it.
I’d recommend trying them both, but there’s no doubt that NetBeans is one to seriously consider.
What do you use for your PHP coding? Do you have experience with NetBeans, or any of the other IDEs mentioned? If so, let me know in the comments!