I'm a PHP developer and now I use Notepad++ for code editing, but lately I've been searching for an IDE to ease my work.

I've looked into Eclipse, Aptana and several others but I'm not really decided, they all look nice enough but a bit complicated. I'm sure it'll all get easy once I get used to it but I don't want to waste my time.

This is what I'm looking for:

  • FTP support
  • Code highlight
  • SVN support would be great
  • Ruby and JavaScript would be great


+3  A: 

To get you started, here is a list of PHP Editors on wikipedia.

+11  A: 

netbeans 6.5

It is in beta, now.....


Does anybody else think it's kind of sad that the best PHP editor is some beta release of a product that never even existed before.
NetBeans 6.8 is now released.
+2  A: 


Personally, I love Notepad++... :D . The above link compares some of the better IDEs and the best ones aren't free.

I'd recommend Komodo 4.4 though (I used the trial version) since it was awesome. Better than Notepad++, but not free... :(

Notepad ++ is a pretty good text editor, but it is not an IDE
Only because it doesn't have built-in debugging and/or compiling features... :(... The rest of its functionality is comparable with most IDEs though... :P
Notepad++ is really robust and light. Perfect for most of my coding. Though now I'm looking for something more elaborated.
Notepad++ is the only way I work with PHP. IDEs are great and all, but for getting things done Notepad++ is a winner.
Abyss Knight
+13  A: 

Eclipse PDT is very nice.

+2  A: 

I would recommend Zend IDE for the integrated debugger.


Have you tried NetBeans6? Zend Studio and NetBeans6 are the best IDEs with PHP support you'll come across and NetBeans is free.


I've tried Eclipse PDT, with some success. Aptana is also pretty good, or if you are doing a lot of AJAX stuff, it's great. Your mileage may vary, however, depending on what additional plugins you want to use with them.

Chris Charabaruk

Aptana supports this and I use it for all of my web development now.


I believe that PHP being what it is, doesn't really require an IDE. I use VI, it is fast, doesn't crash and with grep -r and ctags, it can multiply productivity many times over.

Svn is literally built-in in the console, so you won't run into problems with source control.

Finally, I used springloops.com as the repositories, so I don't have have to manually FTP files to any server. It has a FTP deployment option which also makes sure that only the altered file move to the staging server.

The best part is that you can go to a friends house, find a linux machine, and just start developing because everything that you need is mostly available on most machines.

I have my own collocated server, so I guess I can develop on that, but it's not really the most accessible solution for everybody...

There are a few IDEs out there you can use. I personally like UltraEdit. It does syntax highlighting, FTP/SFTP support, super fast, macros, etc - only $30.

If you're doing anything heavy and would like some enterprise level IDE features (local/remote debugging, framework support, intellisense), try Zend IDE. I believe it's a few hundred dollars but be worth

There's also a plugin for Eclipse you try (PHPEclipse I think). Hope this helps.

Gleb Popov
+1  A: 

What features of an IDE do you want? Integrated build engine? Debugger? Code highlighting? Intellisense? Project management? Configuration management? Testing tools? Except for code highlighting, none of these are in your requirements.

So my suggestion is to use an editor that supports plugins, like Notepad++ (which you are already used to). If there's not already a plugin that does what you want, then write one.

I use Coda on Mac OS X.

Robert S.
+8  A: 

Are you sure you're looking for an IDE? The features you're describing, along with the impression of being too complicated that you got from e.g. Aptana, suggest that perhaps all you really want is a good editor with syntax highlighting and integration with some common workflow tools. For this, there are tons of options.

I've used jEdit on several platforms successfully, and that alone puts it above most of the rest (many of the IDEs are cross-platform too, but Aptana and anything Eclipse-based is going to be pretty heavy-weight, if full-featured). jEdit has ready-made plugins for everything on your list, and syntax highlighting for a wide range of languages. You can also bring up a shell in the bottom of your window, invoke scripts from within the editor, and so forth. It's not perfect (the UI is better than most Java UIs, but not perfect yet I don't think), but I've had good luck with it, and it'll be a hell of a lot simpler than Aptana/Eclipse.

That said, I do like Aptana quite a bit for web development, it does a lot of the grunt work for you once you're over the learning curve.

Matt J
You might be right. I thing I've used the term IDE in a rather extended meaning... Though some IDE specific features interest me (a debugger would be nice, some variable tracking also, etc)


is better than notepad.
Elzo Valugi

Just last night I finally bought the latest version of Zend Studio. I used previous versions and I am always very happy with it. I don't think you can undervalue the integration between their debugger and their Firefox/IE toolbars. I use them constantly and they give me a great sense of how the application will run live.

The latest version is built on Eclipse, so you get many of its features as a base which lets Zend focus on providing more advanced functionality. I like the way they have made Studio very PHP aware in the sense that once you start it up everything is geared toward developing PHP applications. It's knowledgeable about Zend Framework, PHPDoc, and PHP's newer OOP features. (It has grown up along with PHP.) You can get most of the same functionality from Eclipse or Eclipse PDT, but I always felt they provided me with so many options I couldn't actually do anything. Studio let me start building applications pretty quickly since that's about all it does.

I think it meets most of your requests except for the Ruby part. I'm sure you can add Ruby extensiosn to it since it is Eclipse, but I haven't tried that yet. Also, I think they recently improved the JavaScript coding as well, but I haven't tested it much so far.

Barrett Conrad
+1  A: 

My personal preference is Eclipse (with various plug-ins) as I am developing in several languages (PHP, Java, Ruby) and this way I am always used to interface and keyboard shortcuts. This is not a minor thing as you become very productive this way. I haven't used Aptana, but will (hopefully) soon - it does look interesting, though. For others IDEs I have used: jEdit (for little Java), Notepad++ (still for some scripting and short test code runs). And for the features You asked: Eclipse support many source code version servers (subclipse); your project can be on samba share; ZendDebugger/xdebug for debugging.


+3  A: 

Link to a very similar question: Any Good PHP IDE?


Hands down the best IDE for PHP is NuSphere PHPEd. It's a no contest. It is so good that I use WINE to run it on my Mac. PHPEd has an awesome debugger built into it that can be used with their local webserver (totally automatic) or you can just install the dbg module for XAMPP or any other Apache you want to run.

+3  A: 

There's no "best" IDE, only better and worse ones.

Right now I'm trying to settle in with Aptana. It has a lot of cruft that I don't want, like "Jaxer" doodads all over the place. It's reasonably fast, but chokes on large files when syntax highliting is on. I have not been able to figure out how to set up PHP debugging. Three good things about Aptana: easy plugin installations, very fast and intuitive Subversion plugins, ligning fast file search.

I tried Eclipse PDT and Zend for Eclipse, but they have nightmare levels of interface cruft. Installing plugins is a living horror of version mismatches and cryptic error messages.

I also use Komodo (they bought us licenses at work). Komodo has a very intuitive interface, but is ridiculously slow, chokes on medium sized files with syntax highlighting. File search is intuitive, but rather slow. Subversion integration is not that great - slow and buggy. If not for slowness, I would have probably stuck with Komodo, especially for the debugger.

+3  A: 

For PHP in particular, PHPEdit is the best, and I tried and worked in some of them including, Dreamweaver, Elipse, Emacs, Notepad++, NetBeans, UltraEdit ...

Pop Catalin
+8  A: 

Too bad no one mentioned PHPDesigner. It's really the best IDE i've came across (and i believe i've tried them all).

PHPDesigner Website.

The main pro of this one is that it's NOT Java based. This keeps the whole thing quick.


  • Intelligent Syntax Highlighter - automatic switch between PHP, HTML, CSS, and JavaScript depending on your position!
  • PHP (both version 4 and 5 are supported)
  • SQL (MySQL, MSSQL 2000, MSSQL 7, Ingres, Interbase 6, Oracle, Sybase)
  • CSS (both version 1 and 2.1 are supported)
  • JavaScript
  • VBScript
  • Java
  • C#
  • Perl
  • Python
  • Ruby
  • Smarty


  • Support for both PHP 4 and PHP 5
  • Code Explorer for PHP (includes, classes, extended classes, interfaces, properties, functions, constants and variables)
  • Code Completion (intellisense) for PHP - code assist as you type
  • Code Tip (code hint) for PHP - code assist as you type
  • Work with any PHP frameworks (access classes, functions, variables etc. on the fly)
  • PHP object oriented programming (OOP) including nested objects
  • Support for PHP heredoc
  • Enclose strings with single- or double quotes, linefeed, carriage return or tabs
  • PHP server variables
  • PHP statement templates (if, else, then, while…)
  • Powerful PHP Code Beautifier with many configurations and profile support
  • phpDocumentor wizard
  • Add phpDocumentor documentation to functions and classes with one click!
  • phpDocumentor tags
  • Comment or uncomment with one click!
  • Jump to any declaration with filtering by classes, interfaces, functions, variables or constants

Debug (PHP):

  • Debug with Xdebug
  • Breakpoints
  • Step by step debugging
  • Step into
  • Step over
  • Run to cursor
  • Run until return
  • Call stack
  • Watches
  • Context variables
  • Evaluate
  • Profiling
  • Multiple sessions
  • Evaluation Tip
  • Catch errors
But.... No remote debugging! Some of the most needed features if you must debug some bigger projectd or a CMS system running on a server.
PHPDesigner is awesome, I actually paid for it. I used it until I switched to linux.
PHPDesigner is by far the best I've used.
+2  A: 

Eclipse with PDT.

Why do you recommend this one?
Phantom Watson
+2  A: 

I'm using Zend Studio. It has decent syntax highlighting, code completion and such. But the best part is that you can debug PHP code, either with a standalone PHP interpreter, or even on a live web server as you "browse" along your pages. You get the usual Visual Studio keys, breakpoints, watches and call stack, which is almost indispensable for bug hunting. No more "alert()"-cluttered debugged source code :)

+3  A: 

I'm always amazed that more people don't use ActiveState Komodo.

It has the best debugging facilities of any PHP IDE I have tried, is a very mature product and has more useful features than you can shake a stick at. Of note, it has a fantastic HTTP inspector, Javascript debugger and Regular Expression Toolkit. You can get it so that it steps through your PHP, then you see your Javascript running, and then see your HTTP traffic going out over the wire!

It also comes in free (Komodo Edit) and open (OpenKomodo versions).

Oh, and if you don't always hack just on PHP, it's designed as a multi-language editor and rocks for Ruby and Python too.

I've been a happy customer for around 5 years.


The best IDE for PHP in my opinion is Zend Studio (which itself is based on Eclipse PDT). Note that in this case "best" does not necessarily mean "good." It is slow and a bit buggy, but even so, it's still the best option for PHP programmers. I've tried a ton of PHP editors over the years and I haven't yet found one that works great.

Komodo IDE would be my second choice. My only problem with Komodo is that the autocomplete is not as good. With properly structured apps where you use phpDoc to document return types etc., it should be alright. But I work on a project that doesn't really do that and Komodo can't read across files to know that $user is a User object for example.

Christopher Nadeau

Have you looked at Delphi for PHP (<http://www.codegear.com/products/delphi/php>) ?

Joe Stagner of Microsoft really likes Delphi for PHP.
He says it here: "[Delphi for PHP] 2.0 is the REAL DEAL and I LOVE IT !"


PHPEclipse is as close to Eclipse java power as it could get. Eclipse PDT is much weaker (last time I checked).


Personally everything that is based uppon Eclipse or NetBeans is an overkill, the GUI is crap and the performance is soooo slow compared to other alternatives.

If you're willing to pay I would suggest Zend IDE (version 5.5, not 6 because it's based on Eclipse) and EditPlus for a more lightweight yet powerfull code editor.

If you're looking for free alternatives, or if you code in other languages other than PHP, OpenKomodo is a really nice IDE with almost all the features (no SVN neither CVS) that you require, the only con I see about OpenKomodo is that sometimes it messes my code indentation, but then again I don't use it on a very regular basis.

As for a free lightweight alternative: Notepad++. =)

Alix Axel
+1  A: 

I use and like Rapid PHP.

Nathan Long

why dreamweaver - 2 ? For current work i prefer dreamweaver rather then other editor.Have tried a lot of editor but in the end stick with dreamweaver.


I'm using PHPDesigner but I will go for Eclipse PDT. I was always against Eclipse until few months ago when I have one Java project to finish... Great IDE

Now I can't imagine one day without Eclipse. :)

+1  A: 

Geany is a great lightweight editor -- like notepad++ for Linux only better. I find this, combined with a few shell scripts and symlinks for linking modules into a web source tree make developing on Linux easy and fun.

+1 for Geany. There is actually a Windows version of Geany, and it works great.

there is a new guy in twon phpstorm, it think from jet brains. you use it and i bet you will forget all the other editors. its bit pricey though unfortunately

M Y Awan
+1  A: 

radphp (previously known as delphi for php is the best )

+1  A: 

Hey all are good but only delphi for php(rad php 3.0) has a designer ,drag and drop controls ,gui editeor ,huge set of components including zend , facebook ,database etc componets. it is the best in the town

RADPHP is the best of all; It has all the feature the others have its designer is the best of all You can design your page just like dreamweaver(more than dreame weaver)

if you use radphp you will feel like using asp.net with visual studio (but the language is php)

its bad to here only a few know about this(too bad)



Adobe Dreamweaver CS5 is very easy to use it is having the feature of code highlighting, show the files which u have included in the parent file in separate tabs,having the option of php.net offline that means if u want to know about the new built in functions just ctrl+space it will shows the drop down it is having the syntax and also the offline preview of the syntax from php.net.

Regards, Arun


My Opinion is the Best for PHP is RadPHP xe