What is the best IDE for PHP?


I'm a PHP developer and now I use Notepad++ for code editing, but lately I've been searching for an IDE to ease my work.

I've looked into Eclipse, Aptana Studio and several others, but I'm not really decided, they all look nice enough but a bit complicated. I'm sure it'll all get easy once I get used to it, but I don't want to waste my time.

This is what I'm looking for:

  • FTP support
  • Code highlight
  • SVN support would be great
  • Ruby and JavaScript would be great
6/3/2011 11:53:37 AM

Accepted Answer

Are you sure you're looking for an IDE? The features you're describing, along with the impression of being too complicated that you got from e.g. Aptana, suggest that perhaps all you really want is a good editor with syntax highlighting and integration with some common workflow tools. For this, there are tons of options.

I've used jEdit on several platforms successfully, and that alone puts it above most of the rest (many of the IDEs are cross-platform too, but Aptana and anything Eclipse-based is going to be pretty heavy-weight, if full-featured). jEdit has ready-made plugins for everything on your list, and syntax highlighting for a wide range of languages. You can also bring up a shell in the bottom of your window, invoke scripts from within the editor, and so forth. It's not perfect (the UI is better than most Java UIs, but not perfect yet I don't think), but I've had good luck with it, and it'll be a hell of a lot simpler than Aptana/Eclipse.

That said, I do like Aptana quite a bit for web development, it does a lot of the grunt work for you once you're over the learning curve.

9/22/2008 5:46:39 PM

NetBeans. Check out 7.0.1.

It supports FTP/SFTP synchronization, integrates well with Subversion, CVS, Mercurial and even with Git (with plugin). Also, it supports HTML, CSS, JavaScript, popular frameworks and more.

And its free.


Too bad no one mentioned phpDesigner. It's really the best IDE I've came across (and I believe I've tried them all).

The main pro of this one is that it's NOT Java based. This keeps the whole thing quick.


  • Intelligent Syntax Highlighter - automatic switch between PHP, HTML, CSS, and JavaScript depending on your position!
  • PHP (both version 4 and 5 are supported)
  • SQL (MySQL, MSSQL 2000, MSSQL 7, Ingres, Interbase 6, Oracle, Sybase)
  • CSS (both version 1 and 2.1 are supported)
  • JavaScript
  • VBScript
  • Java
  • C#
  • Perl
  • Python
  • Ruby
  • Smarty


  • Support for both PHP 4 and PHP 5
  • Code Explorer for PHP (includes, classes, extended classes, interfaces, properties, functions, constants and variables)
  • Code Completion (IntelliSense) for PHP - code assist as you type
  • Code Tip (code hint) for PHP - code assist as you type
  • Work with any PHP frameworks (access classes, functions, variables, etc. on the fly)
  • PHP object oriented programming (OOP) including nested objects
  • Support for PHP heredoc
  • Enclose strings with single- or double quotes, linefeed, carriage return or tabs
  • PHP server variables
  • PHP statement templates (if, else, then, while…)
  • Powerful PHP Code Beautifier with many configurations and profile support
  • phpDocumentor wizard
  • Add phpDocumentor documentation to functions and classes with one click!
  • phpDocumentor tags
  • Comment or uncomment with one click!
  • Jump to any declaration with filtering by classes, interfaces, functions, variables or constants

Debug (PHP):

  • Debug with Xdebug
  • Breakpoints
  • Step by step debugging
  • Step into
  • Step over
  • Run to cursor
  • Run until return
  • Call stack
  • Watches
  • Context variables
  • Evaluate
  • Profiling
  • Multiple sessions
  • Evaluation tip
  • Catch errors

Eclipse PDT is very nice.


I'm always amazed that more people don't use ActiveState Komodo.

It has the best debugging facilities of any PHP IDE I have tried, is a very mature product and has more useful features than you can shake a stick at. Of note, it has a fantastic HTTP inspector, Javascript debugger and Regular Expression Toolkit. You can get it so that it steps through your PHP, then you see your Javascript running, and then see your HTTP traffic going out over the wire!

It also comes in free (Komodo Edit) and open (OpenKomodo versions).

Oh, and if you don't always hack just on PHP, it's designed as a multi-language editor and rocks for Ruby and Python too.

I've been a happy customer for around 5 years.


To get you started, here is a list of PHP Editors (Wikipedia).