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Best IDE for PHP starters

Posted on 2016-09-10
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Last Modified: 2016-12-05
Hi Experts,

I have 2 questions:

1- What is the best IDE to start with for PHP web development that provides me with:
  • Controls to be drag and drop on the IDE interface instead of creating it from scratch.
  • Debugging breakpoints and show the a detailed error messages.
  • Ready made code snippet for use : like managing a connection with database and error handlers.

2- Can I develop a PHP code inside a Microsoft visual studio, if yes please tell what needed to be installed and detailed steps.


Thanks a lot.
Harreni
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Question by:Harreni
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11 Comments
 
LVL 108

Expert Comment

by:Ray Paseur
ID: 41792528
PHPStorm is the best PHP editor and IDE.  You can get a free trial.

Most PHP developers use Linux (a "LAMP" stack), not Microsoft tools.  If you want to understand why, go to any PHP conference and try to find the Microsoft Visual Studio track.  Our community does not have much patience for complicated and expensive "solutions" that lock us into some kind of proprietary platform.

If you're new to PHP and want to get started, this article can help.
https://www.experts-exchange.com/articles/11769/And-by-the-way-I-am-New-to-PHP.html
1
 
LVL 82

Expert Comment

by:Dave Baldwin
ID: 41792537
While 'controls' like 'input' statements could be done with 'drag and drop', most of the code that I write in PHP is unique to the problem I have to solve.  Except for the most basic functions, there are no code samples or 'drag and drop' that would help me at all.
2
 
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Expert Comment

by:Ray Paseur
ID: 41792549
I agree with Dave Baldwin on this one (I usually do -- he's one of the most experienced members of our community).  But I would add one "outside the box" case you might want to consider.  Learn about Composer.  When you get beyond the basics of just thinking about a single PHP script and start thinking about application development, you will quickly find that other people have already written large parts of your application, and you just need a way to tap into their code sets.  That exists, and we all use it to add components to our software.
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LVL 30

Expert Comment

by:Marco Gasi
ID: 41792558
My two cents about drag%drop: I think RAD development tecniques can't be used efficiently in web development because of the specific form webpages are designed. To build, for instance, a form, you can imagine it be easier to drag and drop single element on the page but each element needs to have attributes that are specific for each project depending on the specific css framework used, the specific layout and custom classes implemented for each input type and so on. The advantage to drag an element would be ridicolous since you have then to manually rearrange the form within layout markup specific to the css used in that project.
That said, I love Netbeans IDE. It has born as a Java IDE but it offers a great support to Php, HTML5, CSS3 and even for Cordova/Phonegap development. It is open source and totally free and... ok, I just love it :)
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LVL 9

Expert Comment

by:Carlos Ijalba
ID: 41792751
Very LIGHT and FAST, windows-based IDES from BluMentals Software:

Rapid PHP Editor       http://www.rapidphpeditor.com/
WeBuilder                   http://www.webuilderapp.com/

Heavier IDEs but professional-grade (knowing them will help you out when looking for a job):

Eclipse Neon               https://eclipse.org/
Netbeans IDE              https://netbeans.org/
Visual Studio Code     https://www.visualstudio.com/products/code-vs
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jet-black earned 500 total points
ID: 41792889
It is really hard to tell the best one. You'll need to try out several IDEs and choose your favorite one. I personally use NuSphere PhpED but there are other powerful IDEs like PhpStorm, Zend Studio, etc. (Here is the list of some of them)
If you want to use Visual Studio for PHP development, this is also possible: VS.Php, PHP Tools for Visual Studio
Since you'll start coding PHP first time, you'll also need to check documentation often. IDE's like NuSphere PhpED offers quick access to php.net manual by pressing F1 key on function names. Also, you'll need solid debugger. Check NuSphere's PHP Tutorial to get started.
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LVL 82

Expert Comment

by:Dave Baldwin
ID: 41792974
I forgot to mention that I have many PHP 'pages' that do not have a visible display.  They process data and database info.  Some are accessed from the web and some from the desktop but without any 'controls' that can be seen.
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LVL 51

Expert Comment

by:Julian Hansen
ID: 41793179
I have tried many IDE's ultimately I always come back to Notepad++ and Sublime. Possibly goes back to the days before GUI IDE's when Brief by Underware and makefiles was how we built apps.
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Author Comment

by:Harreni
ID: 41793447
Thanks a lot every body, all of you give me a good explanation for my questions.
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LVL 12

Expert Comment

by:jet-black
ID: 41793448
Thank you too Harreni!
I wish you huge success on your PHP coding journey :)
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Expert Comment

by:mlemos
ID: 41912707
There are many PHP IDE these days. Some are free but often developers prefer commercial ones.

As for Visual Studio there is an extension called PHP Tools that can make Visual Studio an IDE for PHP. There is a tutorial of PHP Tools for Visual Studio here. There is a free version that can work with the community edition of Visual Studio community edition.

You can also find a comparison of PHP IDEs here, so you can evaluate what suits you better.
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