Which editor and IDE to choose for writing PHP code?

Most of your time choosing a right tool for the job is important. So is picking the editor or IDE (integrated development environment) in which you will write, edit, debug and test your code and spend a lot of your time.

IDE vs editor

There are many open-source and proprietary text editors and IDEs available on the market today. Difference between editor and IDE is in functionalites and extensions that IDE holds over a plain text editor. Many editors have capabilities to be extended to a full IDE as well but experience in dedicated IDEs are better for complex and bigger projects. IDE has more features than editor but also takes more resources on your computer.

How to choose IDE/editor?

Following and looking up to other good developers and/or teammates in your organization what they use for writing code is a good approach for you to choose an IDE/editor.

Listing tools always leads to flamewars between users using them convincing each other to “buy” theirs. We’re not trying to start a flamewar here but to only show some of the good tools you should check out for your development and pick the right one for you.

Many times you will need both - editor and IDE. IDE for bigger project itself and editor for quick edits here and there. If you will be working in command line some text-based editors such as Vim or Emacs will be a must to use.

IDEs

Alphabetical list of good IDEs for PHP:

Editors

Alphabetical list of good text editors for PHP:

Client side development

Most IDEs listed above also take care of client side development part i.e. HTML, CSS, JavaScript and web publishing but sometimes some dedicated tools for that are irreplaceable:

  • Dreamweaver - proprietary tool
  • KompoZer - free web authoring system that combines web file management and easy-to-use WYSIWYG web page editing.
  • WebStorm - JavaScript IDE also useful for complex complex client-side development and also backend Node.js development.
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