Thu 15th Oct 2015 at 12:00

The hunt begins

So I'm on the hunt for a decent PHP IDE again. I have been phpDesigner and Brackets for the past year and they are causing me way to much irritation and they both seem like a step backwards in terms of what I have used over the years, I have been flitting from IDE to IDE ever since ZendStudio 6 (5.2 was just simply the best). I am still a great fan of NetBeans, although it lacks the support for live editing and remembering to download the codebase from the server is a pain and can lead to a lot of overwriting of files. It is pretty awesome when working with SVN based projects, especially if they can be run through PHP's built in server such as Laravel and the WebCMS that I built for this website.

So what are my irritants of phpDesigner? Well, little things like it lacks a lot of keyboard short cuts as standard, for example, cut and paste the line your cursor on on. Block commenting... Yes, it supports block commenting, but I would prefer to not have to make sure that my cursor is at the begining of the first line of the block to comment and then highlit to the last character of the last line before I can chose to comment. Finally code collapsing is just simply not supported.

Brackets on the other hand has kept me happy for a while although the irritants it appears I can not live with. I have used it coupled with WinSCP as trying to get some of the plugins that claim to allow remote editing, just simply do not work. Code indenting is horrendous and inconsistent. Code completion is not create either. Where are the prefences??? Ok, so I may not have devoted enough time to this latest contender from Adobe, but I have not got time to spend days trying to work out how to make an editor work the way I need it to work.

Anyway, so far I intend to be looking at the following list, but that might change due to other commitments:

  • phpDesigner
  • NetBeans
  • Brackets
  • phpStorm
  • Komodo IDE
  • Rapid PHP Editor
  • RadPHP (if I can find a download)
  • PHP for Eclipse
  • Zend Studio (PDT)
  • Aptana Studio
  • Sublime
  • Atom
  • Kantharos PHP IDE
  • Microsoft WebMatrix
  • Bluefish
  • Editra



I fully appreciate that IDE's are like shoes and that one size does not fit all, however, I feel my requirements are fairly mediocre and not too much to ask from an IDE:


  • Project Support (Remote/Local)
  • Remote Editing (SSH / FTP /SFTP)
  • Adhoc Single File Editing
  • Code completion
  • Syntax highlight - PHP, HTML, CSS and JavaScript
  • Smart Indenting (preferably tabs but the ability to seamlessly switch)
  • Code Collapse
  • Intelligent keyboard hotkey (duplicate line, block comment, indent)
  • Error checking/highlighting



  • Code Completion of custom functions, classes and variables
  • SVN Support
  • Quick/responsive to launch and use
  • Ability to run multiple instances of the IDE
  • Built in browser / Webserver (even if via php.exe)
  • phpDocumentor compatibility


I'll try and post my findings here. Feel free to comment or contact me with any of your own recomendations.



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