I have been using Zend Studio since July of 2005, starting with version 4.0. I regularly upgraded, finally getting to 5.5.
Here is the keyword for 5.5: "it just works!"
I evaluated 6.1, and spent quite a bit of time trying to get 7.0, then 7.1, then 7.2 to work. In each case, the keyword was "it just does not work!" Now I am having the same experience with 8.0.
Generally in these earlier versions, I could not get debugging to work. To summarize a lot of grief, the instructions were not applicable because the results I was getting differed from the documentation. I would follow them precisely, but did not get the expected result.
Another show stopper was when trying to setup debugging, you have to select the "server", but no servers are available. But when you try to set up the server, it does seem to be set up. All in all, extremely frustrating.
Here is my development environment, which is apparently easy to set up in 5.5, but totally obscure in any of the Eclipse-based versions:
1. Zend Server CE is installed on my development machine. (For 5.5, this used to be on a Windows XP box, but a bit over two years ago migrated it to a VMWare VM running XP on a Mac).
2. There are several websites configured to run under apache built-in to Zend Server CE using port-based vhosts.
3. Each of these websites is also an SVN working copy. Because the SVN built into Zend is problematic, I long ago switched to the TSVN client (in Windows VM). As the site is developed, it can be run under Zend Server CE. Then as desired, code can be committed to the SVN repo, for update into other quality domains.
4. The working copies running under the local Zend Server CE can be debugged by Zend Studio.
I don't know if this is anything special. To me it seem moderately plain vanilla. And under 5.5, it is. That is, "it just works".
However, under all the Eclipse-based versions, it is an exercise in futility to get any of this to work. So far, the only part of the above configuration that I have working is the websites running under Zend Server CE. When I try to create a project, nothing seems to work that gives a runnable web site. I have been able to debug as a PHP script, but of course that does not get very far as for example $_SERVER variables do not exist. When trying to debug as a Web page, I just get a lot of confusion. Either a message that the file does not exist, or it immediately terminates.
In addition, there are a number of "simple things" that are mysterious under 8.0. Other areas where I have had trouble as follows:
1. Setting up a local mysql client: The only thing I see in the database perspective seems to be referring to some Java connectors. Have not seen anything similar to the built-in mysql client of 5.5.
2. Delete a project: I think the project that I have set up is not correctly configured. One thing I would like to try to do start over, but I don't see how a project is completely deleted (not the source files, just the project files). In 5.5, while there was no way to delete a project from within the GUI, it was nevertheless an easy matter to delete the zpj file to achieve the result.
3. There seems to be excess complexity inherited from Eclipse. Perhaps some of these features will be nice to have, but for the most part they are inscrutable at the moment. On the other hand, there are some nice features that the modern version offers, that 5.5 just won't.
Now here is something I just discovered that "takes the cake." I found that 5.5 has a Mac version available. So I downloaded and installed it. Naturally, "it just works" with the latest version of Zend Server CE.
I am suspecting that when Zend provides old versions, it does update those versions so that the embedded PHP engine and SVN are recent versions. That is, the old Zend Studio 5.5 does not have the versions of PHP and SVN that would have been available when that version was current, but seem to have the newest versions. This is a very nice if undocumented feature.
I am nearly at the point of abandoning 8.0, but decided that I should at least post a question. I have posted essentially the same question in the Zend Forum, but have very low expectations.