ZF4 Blog

A Proper IDE for PHP

Those of you that have been around PHP long enough will remember Zend Studio before it took a nose dive into Eclipse. Ah I hear, yes: Studio 6.

Great bit of software, client based, fast, efficient, let me code, let me debug (using the venerable xdebug.) All in all, great.

Then Zend decided to hook their train to Eclipse and it all went sadly wrong:

  • buggy
  • very very slow

Since then, most PHP devs kept their Studio 6 running as best they could and hunted for an alternative. And Netbeans came along, and some good people spent a lot of time hooking in tools for PHP. I used it for years as the only viable alternative to my beloved Studio 6, which had to die through natural causes (Windoze upgrades primarily - ugh!, although I did get Zend to support me onto Linux for a while, mainly by beating their brains 'til they gave up)

But I'd left Windoze too, tried Eclipse under Linux (my only OS now.) Bit like the slow boat to China, and then found the relative safe haven of Netbeans. At last I thought, we have something. Oh no - it started to slow down too and by version 8 (which I still have installed btw,) had become a daily nightmare.

One of my colleagues suggested I try PHPStorm.

Well, blow me down sideways, it's Studio 6 on steroids. Seriously!

Fast, efficient, very intelligent (it understands your code and the way you work.) An absolute joy to work with. It goes a lot further than Studio as well, giving you alternative ways of working, like completely keyboard driven, so it is like a console editor (if you like that sort of thing,) through to full click and point.

The way that you work is totally engaged by Storm. Version 9 is just out now. 8 was good, 9 is better.

Caveat: there is a small learning curve to taking up Storm, it does some things in a different way to say Eclipse or Netbeans, but it is consistent, so once you learn its paradigms, the same methods work throughout.

And the best bit?

You can get it for free, for lots of reasons. The people behind the product like people who contribute to open source, they like people in education. They like people who are prepared to beta test their next release. Go check out their license options.

But actually, even though I did get a free license through the open source contributor route, do you know what? If/when I have to pay the £78+VAT for an individual license, I am going to do it. I paid that for Studio 6. Go do the compound interest uplift on that. I have worked as a qualified Carpenter. It cost me close on £10k to get tooled up for that job. £90 is nothing to ask for - they need to make a living too.

Do yourself a favour: download Storm now, and give it a 30 day trial. Look at the free route options to see if you apply. Don't begrudge what they are asking for a license fee if you have to pay.

You can find PHPStorm at PHPStorm