Thoughts about some PHP IDEs

Just like everyone else, I’m in perpetual search of my true love best PHP IDE. The reason is simple: you work with it everyday! Hell, many people spend more time with IDE than their friends, family and girl friends. Not me though, because I’m such a social butterfly.

Anyway, the IDEs I’ve tried are:

  • Aptana
  • Komodo IDE
  • Netbeans 6.7 beta

The best syntax highlighting…
Aptana hands down, of all 4 IDEs, only Aptana gives you the freedom to have multiple groups of keywords, for example, highlight built-in functions (e.g. str_replace) differently to your own functions. It even goes to the length to allow customize font for each single built-in function.

The worst syntax highlight…
Man, Komodo IDE really fall behind in this department, offers only one keyword group.

The fastest IDE…
This is platform dependent, but for my experience Netbeans is the fastest.
It basically goes like this: Netbeans on Linux > Netbeans on Windows > Komodo on Windows > Komodo on Linux (WTF?) > Apatana on Windows

Code inteligence
Honestly, to answer this require more time spent on each IDE, preferrably a few weeks of real web development. I spent about a few days to a few weeks on those IDEs, so they are not very fair.
I like the Komodo IDE the most: the common stuff like autocomplete real time syntax checking are all there. What’s really handy is the control key: by holding this key, you can “jump to” the class, for example, if you hold control and click on $foo = new Foo();, it will open Foo.php class and take you there. This is very handy when you are coding the in middle of a lot existing classes. Holding control key over web colors will show you the color in tooltip, which is a very nice touch, too.

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