An Integrated Development Environment (IDE) is an entire workspace for
developing applications. It includes a programming editor as well as other
features. Some features included by most IDEs are the following:
Debugging: Has built-in debugging features.
- Previewing: Displays the Web page output by the script.
- Testing: Has built-in testing features for your scripts.
- FTP: Has built-in ability to connect and upload/download via FTP. Keeps track of which files belong in which Web site and keeps the Web site upto-date.
- Project management: Organizes scripts into projects; manages the files in the project; includes file checkout and check-in features.
- Backups: Makes automatic backups of your Web site at periodic intervals.
IDEs are more difficult to learn than programming editors. Some are fairly expensive, but their wealth of features can be worth it. IDEs are particularly useful when several people will be writing scripts for the same application. An IDE can make project coordination much simpler and make the code more compatible.
The following are popular IDEs:
- Dreamweaver MX 2004:
This IDE is available for the Windows and Mac platforms. It provides visual layout tools so you can create a Web page by dragging elements around and clicking buttons to insert elements. Dreamweaver can write the HTML code for you. It includes the HomeSite editor so you can write your own code. It also supports PHP. Dreamweaver will set you back $399.00.
Komodo is offered for the Linux and Windows platforms. It’s an IDE for open source languages, including Perl and Python, as well as PHP. It’s offered for $29.95 for personal or educational use, and $295.00 for commercial use.
Maguma is available for Windows only. It’s an IDE for Apache, PHP, and MySQL on Windows and comes in two versions at different costs: Maguma Studio Desktop and Maguma Studio Enterprise, which offers features for huge sites with multiple servers. Maguma Studio for PHP is a free version with support for PHP only.
This free IDE is available only for Windows.
- Zend Studio:
Zend Studio is offered for the Linux and Windows platforms. This IDE
was developed by the people who developed the Zend engine, which is the engine under the hood of PHP. These people know PHP extremely well. Zend Studio will run you $195.00.
A Web page describing editors and IDEs useful with PHP is available at phpeditors.linuxbackup.co.uk. Currently 111 editors are listed.