Last week we looked at 22 Neat Editors for Windows. But sometimes, a code editor simply isn't enough, especially when you're working with things like databases and classes. Which IDE will you prefer? Hopefully you'll find it below!
Instead of sticking with Windows applications, I've opened it up to all three major platforms: Windows, Mac, and Linux. There are a few IDEs here that will only run on one OS, but you'll find that most have a version for all three.
Visual Web Developer
Visual Web Developer is basically a stripped down version of Visual Studio, with only the web development tools in place. It has the same great project management and database tools that VS has, only it costs $299 less. This app is aimed at beginners, so you can get starter kits along with it, and there's a great Beginning Developer Learning Center online.
- 75€ (~$105)
www.phpeditors.com gave phpDesigner a 5 star rating, saying it was a "super fast PHP IDE with many features." To back this up, phpDesigner offers support for PHP debugging and profiling; It also supports all standard web languages, and offers TortoiseSVN support, and live error detection for PHP, HTML, and CSS. A code snippets library and built-in PHP manual for beginners only sweeten this pot.
- 179€ (~$248)
PHPEdit is a pretty good PHP IDE; it offers the debugging (even a Firefox debugging plug-in) and database support (easy query building and data visualizing) that you would expect, along with time-saving keyboard templates that allow you to quickly set up your PHP code structure. With PHPEdit, it's pretty easy to connect to a server and use all the features, including auto-suggestion and -completion, with remote files: PHPEdit takes care of all the downloading and uploading for you.
Visual Studio 2008
- $299 (Standard Edition)
Expression Web is a pretty neat application. It offers tons of CSS support, turning creating and applying your styles into a graphical experience. Of course, if you prefer writing code, it has the IntelliSense of Visual Studio for CSS, as well as HTML. As you'd expect, there is ASP.NET support, but there's also PHP support. Another neat feature: Expression Web takes note of which doctype you're using and lets you know if you're not keeping the rules; it's basically built-in, real-time (X)HTML validation.
Bonus: Recently, Microsoft came out with Expression Web SuperPreview, a tool that helps you preveiw your websites in multiple versions of Internet Explorer without having to install them all. You can check out your site in IE6, IE8 or IE8 in compatibility mode, or you can compare a live site to an image. The neatest part is that you can overlay two versions to see inconsistencies.
PhpEd comes with built in PHP, HTML, and CSS validators. It has code completion for those languages as well; and of course, there's PHP debugging and profiling. PhpEd has one innovative feature that I haven't seen before: dynamic syntax highlighting. Imagine a scenario where you have multiple languages in the same file (not really plausible coding, but understandable with HTML and PHP at least): if dynamic syntax highlighting is on, only the language your cursor is on with be highlighted; all the other code will appear as normal text.
- 59.95€ (~$180)
An IDE for CSS? That's right, and an amazingly slick one at that. With built in validation, "Milestones" (Code versioning), and a really neat selector builder, writing CSS is a snap with CSSEdit. And then there are tools that let you inspect other websites to see how it's done. This tool is great for both CSS newbies and veterans.
Bluefish aims to be a light and clean IDE for linux users. It offers project support, as well as the ability to access remote files on almost any server. It has very robust search and replace, code completion for HTML and XML, and a function reference browser for PHP, CSS, Python, and HTML.
Integrate external programs such as make, lint, weblint, xmllint, tidy, javac, or your own program or script to handle advanced text processing or error detection. Integrate external filters of your liking, pipe your document (or just the current selected text) through sort, sed, awk or any custom script.
Windows and Mac IDEs
Windows, Mac, & Linux IDEs
Eclipse is a very powerful IDE, that can do almost all things programming through its plugins. I downloaded Eclipse with the PHP Development Tools, which may be a good idea if you don't already have Eclipse. This offers PHP debugging, as well as syntax highlighing and some code completion. Eclispe can also support JavaServer Pages, and using a CVS repository.
Aptana Studio could be described as Eclipse for web development only. It's available as either a standalone app or as a plug-in for Eclipse, and it claims to be
Nvu (pronouced N-view for "a new view") markets itself as a free alternative to programs like Dreamweaver and Expression Web. It's aimed at beginners and offers a strong WYSIWYG editor, but you can definitely hand-code. For advanced users, Nvu can be extended with
- $29.90 (free for non-commercial use)
- $249 (Personal Edition)
Note: I overlooked Komodo IDE's free little sister, Komodo Edit in last week's roundup. This was unintentional, as I hadn't really seen it before. From the comments and what I've seen, it looks like a pretty good code editor, so I'm going to have to check it out!
While researching for this article, I found an interesting article: "Seven great PHP IDEs compared"; although the main part of the article looks at a few PHP IDEs, I found the section "What is an IDE?" rather interesting.
Like last week, I might have left out your favourite IDEs. If I did, let me know! If not, which IDE do you use?
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