Matthew J. Kellett

Website Architect and Developer

PHPEdit 4 IDE Review

What is PHPEdit

PHPEdit is an integrated development environment specialized for PHP, the most popular web scripting language in the world. PHPEdit integrates all the tools you will need to carry out your web application projects.

Whether you are a student learning the technology, or a veteran professional with a skilled team, PHPEdit will bring the best out of you by increasing your efficiency and by making your life easier.

PHPEdit Homepage

What better way to let you know what PHPEdit is than for them to tell you but now you have read what PHPEdit is, let's get down to the nitty gritty ... the features smile

As it states above, PHPEdit is an "integrated development environment (IDE)" meaning that it comes with a wide range of built-in tools to make your life easier. As you'd expect from any IDE these days it does come with the standard syntax highlighting, syntax checking, search and replace (either in the file you are in / have open, or across the whole project).

As well as the basics it also comes with some more advanced features which makes it stand out from the rest, these are as follows:

  • PHPUnit - A well known testing framework for PHP
  • SVN / CVS - Used for version controlling your source code
  • Integrated FTP and Project Management - Very handy for working with remote servers
  • PHPDocumentor - For automatically generating documentation based on your code comments (assuming you write them that is)
  • XDebug - Toolset for debugging and profiling your code
  • Framework integration - At the moment has built in support for Symfony, Prado and eZ Publish

So, you may or may not have heard of any of these but rest-assured they do come in pretty handy, especially if your'e working within a development team.

Another superb feature is the built in keyborad templates which allows you produce a code block (beit comments, class definitions for function declarations) by simply typing an identifier. This comes in very handy if you are writing a lot of classes all of which require there own documentation. You can also cusomise these keyboard templates to suit your own coding style or the coding style for your team.

What's New Doc

So, all of these features were available in PHPEdit 3, so what's new I hear you ask. Well apart from a shiney new "ribbon" that can be minified to provide more screen realestate for coding, the team at Waterproof have but in some serious work into the general tools availble while you are coding.

For example, if you highlight a variable, you can quickly see where else in that same document by looking at the scroll bar (shows lines where the matches appear). This is not he only real-time search functionality that has been added though ... as you are writing code, if you have mulitple class files open and try calling a non-existing method in another class then it gives you the option to create it.

One of the other cool features I have found is that if you come across a method that has yet to be commented, you can generate a full docblock with @param and @return tags picked up from within that method. When working with legacy code I have found this feature to be very useful indeed grin

One of the most significant changes to the whole realse is a built in scripting interface that allows you to create custom toolbars, add extra funcionality and general customise the whole program to suit your own needs. I have yet to fully explore this sub-system yet but I will be building a coding-standards plugin for PHPEdit that makes use of PHP CodeSniffer for checking the coding standards (will be released on here once it's done).

The Pricing

This is where PHPEdit unfortunately falls down (but in a unique way).

With a starting price of 89€ it doesn't seem to bad, however this is just for the very basic version of the IDE, in order to get the main feature set (FTP / SVN / CVS / PHPunit) then you are looking at 159€ with tax being applied on top.

This being said, due to the pricing structure you will only have to pay for what you are actually going to be using so if you don't use the frameworks then you don't buy the modules. There is some good news though, if you are a UK citizen then you can offset this amount against your tax amount as required software.

This being said though, there other ones out there which supply a far smaller feature set for a far higher price.

You can however, apply for either a personal or educational license but neither of these allow you to make a profit from the code you develop.

In Summary

So to summarise, PHPEdit is an awesome IDE (far superior to Dreamweaver or Komodo) but does come at a price. Since I purchased it a couple of weeks back my personal productivity has noticably increased so I am very happy with my rather expensive purchase cool

Thanks for taking the time to read this article and I hope you found it useful and if you have any comments, queries or want further information about anything mentioned here then please feel free to contact me using the form below or drop me an email.

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