Daily Archives: April 15, 2006

PHP and Eclipse

Lukas Smith recently wrote about the development processes surrounding Zend’s planned Eclipse-based IDE.

I never really understood why Zend have duplicated the existing PHPEclipse effort, but Lukas’s post shed a little light on it. It’s certainly a shame that they don’t appear to have fully embraced the community element of open source development, but in the long run, a competing project might be good thing.

Every few months I give PHPEclipse a try. It looks great, but last time around a few minor bugs stopped it becoming my primary IDE. I submitted a bug report and the developers checked in a fix to CVS and I’ve been eagerly awaiting the next release ever since. Version 1.18 was released last week and I can’t wait to see if it’s ready for me to make the switch!

What I particularly liked with PHPEclipse was the live preview pane, where you can have the IDE request the file you are editing from the webserver. Great for front end UI work obviously, but even better when you’re developing a class. With a bit of effort, you can can configure your server to run a unit test for you. Edit, save, see test result….edit, save, see test result, doesn’t that sound great?

Whenever I do a little C++ development I use Microsoft Visual Studio, which is a fantastic IDE. It always leaves me hungry for the same features in my PHP environment. When you write C++, using the debugger is the norm, whereas in PHP, developers reach for a debugger as the very last resort (if at all). Hopefully things are a-changing…