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Choosing a PHP Editor

PHP files can be edited using any text editor but you would prefer a bit advanced editor when you engage in your PHP development.

Chances are your operating system already offers a text editor with syntax highlighting (If not, you should be able to find free one easily).

However when you work in a PHP project that involves many files, just syntax highlighting won’t be enough. You will probably need an IDE (Integrated Development Environment).

An IDE is an application that integrates development tools like a debugger, an interpreter, a version control system with the editor. So it lets you execute many development tasks at one place.

When you choose an IDE, look for following features.

  • PHP syntax highlighting.
  • Integrated interpreter so that if you make a syntax mistake it will be immediately visible.
  • Autofilling that suggests PHP built-in code and the code you have already defined (like variables) when you start typing.
  • Allowing easy refactoring like changing a method name across a file or across a set of files.
  • Highlighting unused variables (this will allow you to cleanup your code).
  • Integrated version controlling so that it clearly shows changed lines and allows you to revert back if needed.

EasyEclipse for PHP and NetBeans for PHP are free and feature-rich IDEs. Both are available for Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems.

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