Monthly Archives: August 2008

Zend Studio for Eclipse

codezI caught a pretty nasty cold recently. As a result, I’ve been stuck in the house these past couple of days, and as luck would have it, the weather has been perfect outside all weekend.

On the bright side, I finally got a chance to play around with Zend Studio for Eclipse. For PHP development I’ve gone through a few of different tools over the past several years: xored’s WebStudioPHPEclipse, and a little bit of Zend Studio.

Now, by day, I’m a mild mannered C# developer (it pays the bills ;-)) so I have to admit I’m a bit spoiled by Visual Studio 2005 + NUnit + TestDriven .NET + ReSharper. These tools combine to help me produce code so much more quickly than usual, and it’s much higher quality code at that (go TDD!). However, when I’d come home and start working on my side projects in PHP, the workflow and tools were a little bit lacking. I’d write some code in my editor du jour, then switch to my terminal window to kick off a custom PHPUnit wrapper script to run my unit tests. Overall, my PHP development was pretty slow going and $deity help me if I needed to debug something beyond using print statements.

After playing with Zend Studio for Eclipse this weekend, I’ve come to the conclusion that it is hands down the best PHP IDE I’ve used so far. The features that blew me away were:

  1. Easy unit test integration. Basically just right click to run unit tests.
  2. Easy debugging within the unit tests. Set a break-point and start stepping through.
  3. Integrated code coverage statistics/browsing
  4. Basic refactoring support built-in (renaming)
  5. Implement interface/override methods: easy way to generate skeleton code when implementing an interface or inheriting from a base class.

Of course all of the PHP development I’m doing at the moment is more related to infrastructure libraries (a uniform collections library, an object-relational mapper, etc.) so your mileage may vary.

One of the downsides is the cost of Zend Studio for Eclipse. Of course, it’s not very surprising they’re charging for it considering what a high quality product it is.

At any rate, if you’re doing PHP development, I highly recommend giving Zend Studio for Eclipse a look, you will not be disappointed.