By Bruno Skvorc

Best PHP IDE in 2014 – Survey Results

By Bruno Skvorc

Exactly one month ago, we opened the Best PHP IDE of 2014 survey. 4000 entries later, it’s time to share the results with you.


This article will focus on the IDE results alone. We’ll analyze the PHP community in general in a future piece after the data has been cleaned to a greater extent. Please note that these are preliminary results, and not much detailed filtering has taken place yet. The data will still be processed and additionally verified. The ballpark is in the correct ranges, but cannot be deemed precise (might be off by a couple dozen in every category – not enough to influence the end result), hence only percentage values will be displayed in the charts. For exact figures, see the raw data.

All-around winner – PhpStorm

In both Personal and Business choice, PhpStorm comes in at first place, Sublime Text is second, and Netbeans third.

We’ve covered PhpStorm before, and it’s no surprise it won due to the strength of its community, but an advantage such as this one in a sample of over 4000 valid responses was certainly not expected. PhpStorm is an offspring of IntelliJ IDEA, the Jetbrains Java IDE, and is basically a stripped down version with PHP support embedded. Due to this plugin based nature, PhpStorm can support other languages just as easily, allowing you to develop NodeJS, Dart, Go and other language apps in the same environment – a priceless perk. Among the most popular arguments with the PhpStorm voters was the fact that it’s super fast considering its size, supports many languages and frameworks both out of the box and via plugins, and is true multi-platform, allowing you to share a single configuration file as easily as pointing to a cloud-hosted reference.

Sublime Text is justifiably second – it’s free (in a WinRAR kind of way), multi platform, and blazing fast. It loads in under a second, instantly reacts to commands, supports projects and has a rich plugin culture with a very vibrant community. It supports the most popular languages and adds more via plugins, and it doesn’t need a whole lot of setting up when configuring a machine from scratch.

Netbeans, the free alternative to PhpStorm, is in third place. It has almost the same functionality, but supports fewer languages and is a bit slower and more resource intensive. Still, an excellent IDE worth anyone’s attention.

Further results show Zend Studio, Eclipse with PDT and Notepad++ as popular, though none coming close to the percentages the top three boast.

Some participant comments

I’m not kidding when I say there were hundreds of amazing answers – and yes, I did read most of them. Picking the most notable ones was more random than deterministic, so if you’re interested in looking through the rest, the data is at your disposal.

Jeremy Dove chose Sublime Text: I only build mostly small few page applications. I require something to be cross platform and lightweight.

This makes sense. When you only work in small projects, there’s no need to lug a behemoth such as PhpStorm around, even if it is multi-platform.

Lichai Cohn chose PhpStorm: With an IDE there’s always the problem of speed vs functionality. I wouldn’t call PHPStorm the perfect IDE, just the least bad one. Of all the IDEs I have tried this is the fastest. If speed is so important, why not use a text editor? An IDE comes with so much more extra power that I’m willing to trade some speed for functionality. PHPStorm’s main problem is that bugs are not resolved, while new features are being added. This will eventually make me try other IDEs again, but for now none of the other IDEs are better.

I share his sentiment – PhpStorm is indeed very fast, and really does take its time with bugs. But that’s the state of software these days – look at browsers, the most used type of software by far, second only to Operating Systems. Each competing with the other in adding new features, but leaving bugs unfixed for decades – the desire to beat other vendors is so strong, the errors are simply swept under the rug. The developers are aware that new features are far more noticeable than bug fixes and, sadly, that’s where their focus lies.

Joe Campo chose Netbeans: I use to use DevPHP, but when I needed a full fledged IDE with version control etc. I tried Netbeans. I became comfortable with it. Since I’ve tried other IDEs, some even with better features, but I have difficulty switching. I find myself moving back to Netbeans as I feel comfortable.

Comfort does indeed play a large part – I can relate. I’ve used Zend Studio 6 for years while working on a large Zend project for my first employer. It became second nature, and it seemed entirely sufficient. I tried Netbeans at the behest of some colleagues and was instantly enamored. Not a single crash in days of constant always-on usage, fast response times, rich plugin architecture, superb keyboard shortcuts. From that moment on, I kept looking for something ever better and never stopped. Stepping out of the comfort zone is the hardest step, but also the most important one.

Sherwin chose Dreamweaver: At work we prefer to use Dreamweaver for several reasons. The first reason is we develop on both PC and Mac. The second reason is that we like how the IDE uses different colors to represent functions, classes, etc. There are many ways to configure DW to fit our way of programming. The third reason is the support for multiple developers. It has a simple check-in/check-out system. We would like to get into GIT but in our work environment, we are hardly given any time to research alternatives nor funding. We don’t use DW’s “auto coding”. We build things from scratch using CodeIgniter as the framework. DW’s “auto coding” is too bloated and it doesn’t do everything we need. We mainly use it as a “text editor on steroids”.

We have tried Notepad++ which is great but unfortunately it’s only available in Windows. It also doesn’t have an easy to use check-in/check-out system. We also tried TextMate, but it’s only for Mac. Our close second place IDE of choice is Aptana. Not only is it free but does what DW does, but better specially when managing indentation and auto-completion of codes. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have an easy to use check-in/check-out system.

One of the more intriguing comments – this one felt like reading someone trying to justify WordPress as “good enough” for large projects. I’m honestly surprised at this – Git takes at most a day to learn, at least the basics, and every decent editor out there has good support for it. If you’re not using the WYSIWYG functionality of DW, then what good is it? Every editor has code highlighting, many have multi-platform support and plugins. Notepad++ is generally considered Sublime Text’s baby brother, and Sublime is true multi-platform, built from scratch for every one without running in a VM which is why I find this answer particularly interesting.

Chuck Burgess chose Eclipse with PDT: Eclipse was my original FOSS choice from my pre-PHP days doing Java. Other IDEs I tentatively experimented with over time were different enough workflow-wise that my comfort level with Eclipse & PDT trumped them. I can’t recall any aspect of Eclipse that discouraged me from working efficiently.

Another comfort related response. Interestingly, this type of response seems common among older developers – in the 40+ group. Are we losing our versatility and adaptiveness to new technologies as we grow older? Do we become “old farts”, willing to reject anything new for the sake of retaining the comfort of what we’re used to? Do we become so content with what we’ve got, we lose the desire to try anything new even if there’s a chance it might be better in the long run? Maybe we feel like we’re past the “long run”?

Bryan chose Vim: Textmate, Eclipse, Xcode. Continue moving back to Vim because it available everywhere (on servers etc).

Many “Vim” answers use the same argument – “available everywhere”. Indeed, this widespread availability is a wonderful perk – mastering a single editor fully and then having it available by default almost anywhere must be a huge production boost. I have personally never gotten familiar enough with Vim to be comfortable in it, but I can imagine the development flow is very smooth for Vim pros, especially when switching machines.

Mohammad Alhobayyeb chose Eclipse with PDT: I like perspectives because I use it for Android too. So I just want to learn ONE IDE for ALL.

Perspectives are a neat feature, but it seems like most people look for IDEs and Editors and then stop dead in their tracks as soon as they find one that’s “good enough”, instead of continuing the search for “perfect”. If “one to rule them all” is really the only parameter – there are many alternatives to this, the most powerful one being IntelliJ IDEA.

What do you think? Why are we so hung up on our editors and IDEs, refusing to give a chance to others even when we know deep down that there’s a chance the new kid on the block did it better? Let us know in the comments below, let’s discuss.


The choice of IDEs is great, but we hope we’ve made it easier now. There’s no progress without competition and, hopefully, these results will encourage other vendors to up their game in both features and community engagement. Thank you all very much for participating – all the winners have been notified, and due to the high volume of responses we selected nine instead of three winners.

If you’d like to download the data for your own use, you can get it from this Fusion table. Please let me know if you run into problems, and I’ll do my best to make other methods available. The charts above were generated in the same Google Fusion Table – an excellent data visualization and processing tool, sort of a supplement to Google Sheets. If you’d like to learn how to use them, there’s a pretty great course you can go through in a day over at Google.

If you process the data and make interesting visualizations, let us know and we’ll make sure we feature them on this channel.

  • Taking to a whole new level I see, interesting.

    Thanks for putting it together, I’ve shared it on Reddit.

  • Jamie Devine

    4-5% of devs still using Dreamweaver? I’m a bit surprised by that. Even more so in the ‘Business choice’ stats. It’s a relatively small percentage, but bigger than I would have guessed. It’s not really an IDE I would expect a professional developer to be using in 2014.

    Skimming through the data it looks to me that it’s mainly used because people are ‘used to it’. Again I find that surprising from people working an industry that moves as fast as web development.

    • KevMTL

      I have an idea about this. At my previous job, we hired a lot of youngs coders (most of them were from France) and they all learned with Dreamweaver at school. Maybe adobe give their products to school for free. They only used the text editor of dreamweaver (which is like notepad++ with less options).

      • Guicara

        I am a French IT student and, as far as I know, our french universities/schools doesn’t have partnership with Adobe. The most famous IDE for students is Netbeans (because it is powerful, free and open-source). But there are many schools, many teacher (with their “you MUST use this IDE in my course”)…

    • Armand Niculescu

      I’m more surprised by ST’s popularity. Sublime Text is a text editor, not an IDE. Where’s the project management, refactoring, autocompletion with PHPDoc support, integrated upload/download and remote debugging? Even with plugins, it’s still just a glorified text editor.

      As for Dreamweaver, it’s not that bad. The code editor is decent, autocompletion is quite good, you can upload by sftp checkin/out or use svn. It’s an overall good editor, just not a great PHP IDE.

      My personal favorite so far is PHP Storm, like another commenter put it, it’s “the least bad”.

      • Cody

        Multiple cursors are extremely useful.

  • sarfraznawaz2005

    agreed and nice to know others are using phpstorm that much as well. PHPStorm simply doesn’t allow me to think of other IDEs :)

  • I <3 PhpStorm.

  • marcc1213

    I use Phpstorm for 90% of my projects. It is an excellent tool.

    But Dreamweaver still has its place. Some clients want static sites and I still need to format body copy. That is simply much, much easier in a WYSIWYG editor (though I still build the structure in Phpstorm). Dreamweaver Find/replace is also excellent.

    • sidscorner

      The only place Dreamweaver has is designing table-based layouts for emails.

      • mp

        you guys are funny. Dreamweaver is just an editor like anything else. It has one stupid feature… that automatic coding crap. Who uses that NO ONE. Otherwise, DW is pretty good.

  • Yeeeesh, over 4000 responses but only 95 women?

    • iDerailThings

      And whose fault is that?

      • Umm… don’t understand your response, can you clarify? I’m surprised because those proportions don’t reflect my experience of the web development industry, not by a long shot.

        • iDerailThings

          I have yet to meet a female web developer.

          I mean, since we’re using anecdotal evidence to judge a non-scientific poll, I figured I should put my two cents in there as well.

          • Nice to meet you.

          • Melvyn Sopacua

            I think he means, he never leaves the house ;)

          • …to be fair, neither do I!

    • It’s one of the more interesting facts about this data, yep.

      • Delphine

        doesn’t strike me as surprising xD its not like our cultural clichés are wiped clean yet. its so deep that it’s gonna take a while before we see a bit more of us in this field. Oh and positive discrimination isn’t the way to go, no natural law says there should be equal quantities of each gender in each field of work. the way to go is just to not display old and rusty clichés in advertising, education and communication^^ and eventually we shall see a brighter world héhéhé

        • Bing Bong

          This is your rate or international? so private and not accurate! how about most powerful Notepad++ and Nusphere? I place reply here not at current thread replier, this is for current site owner. WTF???

  • Although I’ve trialed PhpStorm I haven’t been able to find any justification for switching from Open
    Sourced NetBeans to a proprietary product with licensing fees and
    upgrade costs. The latest two versions of NetBeans (7.4 and 8.0) have
    excellent PHP support.

    • Taylor Ren

      Yes. NetBeans are good.

    • I try both of Netbeans and PHPStorm, the first one use less resources and work under windows faster than phpstorm. so the best IDE is Netbeans.

      • Junaid Atique

        Netbeans is good but the problem is the percentage of the disk space it takes. On windows 8.1 it usually takes 100% of disk usage and I am unable to use my system. Otherwise there is no match of Netbeans with any other IDE.

        • IceTheMan

          You must have a very tiny harddrive.

          • Junaid Atique

            I have 750GB hard drive with 4GB ram!

          • You must have a fairly slow drive if the IDE uses it up entirely. I recommend an SSD. Also, 4GB of RAM isn’t that much these days, but Netbeans shouldn’t need more than that anyway. Have you tried PhpStorm? How does it perform compared to NB?

          • KevMTL

            For me, PHPStorm is better than Netbeans but slower. This is why I don’t use storm. I don’t have SSD but I think they could optimized it a little bit so we don’t have to change our computer to write code.

          • Eric

            On a laptop 4GB is the standard average, and made the development, video editing and not to tell you because even though I’m a programmer that does not stop me from doing video editing and use of tools to make special effects and my config is more than enough to work with video compositing.
            Off Netbeans is slow me my special effects software, and I have the same config as Junaid Athens.
            On projects with Symfony2 PhpStorm consome unless NetBeans, netbeans is a horror.
            Even the latest version of Eclipse consomait me less than Netbeans, and on multiple computers and even on large projects.

        • Eric

          Netbeans takes double the resource PhpStorm, I do not know how you managed to PhpStorm consome that more than netbeans because it is not possible.

    • i don’t know about the other. but there is somthing feauture i love and hate sometimes in netbeans, netbeans will guide you to write good code with forced you to write the code no more than 20 lengths each method and only allowd you to write 2 block! no more.

    • Fezot

      I switched from Dreamweaver to Netbeans about two years ago and never looked back.

    • Pete

      Same here – don’t think the PhPStorm price is worth the benefits when compared to NetBeans. Sure NetBeans has its issues, but PHP development needs tend to be either ‘quick and dirty’ – use a good text editor, or ‘big and complex’. For the latter, PhpStorm’s benefits didn’t seem that much better.

    • Thomas

      Netbeans PHP support is good, maybe excellent when considering that it’s free. However Javascript support is pretty mediocre and the HTML/PHP/JS modules don’t play nice together, which makes Netbeans a bad choice for developing modern websites.

      In addition to that the hint system selling one guys opinion as accepted facts makes Netbeans unsuitable for new or intermediate coders.

  • I think that Netbeans is, nearly, the best. Giving account for its being free. It is just need a little push in the performance and becomes the best. The latest version of Netbeans 7.x recorded great performance enhancement.

    • Alex Skrypnyk

      Netbeans been like thag for 5 years now. Ix rather pay once to save my nerves and timr uding quality software.

  • Roman

    I have tried several IDEs and have always returned to Komodo IDE. The main thing I disliked about NetBeans is that it pollutes my projects folder structure with its crap. I don’t want to be tied to an IDE and prefer to work on individual files — without “setting up” a project, and Komodo IDE lets me do that without defecating in my project space.

    • You can make it save project files in a different location if I remember correctly.

  • Daniel Jurkovic

    I just wrote a long comment and after clicking on the “login with google” button and registering myself, all my input is gone. Maybe i will retype my comment tomorrow but for now i’m tired and frustrated.

  • Jack Saat

    PHPStorm rocks!

  • M S

    Can Sublime Text & PhpStorm easily be switched to white background instead of black?
    I really F hate that inverted CRT-look.
    It makes my eyes bleed…

    And Im talking REALLY easy AND 100% working here, like one click or so, and its done
    I wont be spending any time manually tweaking highlighting-colors etc, that were designed to work on black bg

    • Yes, there’s many themes for PhpStorm you can install and do one-click switches of later. PhpStorm has a white background one built in by default, too.

  • Guido

    “Why are we so hung up on our editors and IDEs, refusing to give a chance
    to others even when we know deep down that there’s a chance the new kid
    on the block did it better?”
    That might be a reason, but I’m sure
    there’s others too. For example, checking out and eventually changing to
    a new IDE means investing time, and that means there must be a good
    reason to do so. So maybe the new kids on the block should be more
    convincing about why they are worth that investment? “Perfect” might
    just cost too much to justify not sticking with “good enough”? Also
    because, until you find that better IDE, your “good enough” one might
    just be the best out there, how could you know?

      • Guido

        Yes ain’t that one funny :-D
        But now just immagine the cart having almost perfectly round wheels,and there being a hundred of those guys with new wheels, all just a little bit different. Some a bit more round, some a different material. And each week a new one shows up. Some will be better, some won’t, are you going to try them all? And if it was just as simple as putting a new set of wheels on a cart…
        Of course, if the difference is that big, it should be easy to convince people to give it a try. And if they won’t, those guys will soon be out of business ;-)

    • Alex Skrypnyk

      So in order to invest your time once into perfect kid, you read article like this one to know who is perfect. And then judt invest time and receive your dividends as an increase in productivity.

  • Kalpesh Singh

    I am using Notepad++….now I guess I should give a try to phpStorm….what you say @brunoskvorc:disqus

    • I say you’ll discover a whole new world when you move away from single-platform text editors to multi-platform IDEs

    • joefresco

      I made that switch about a year ago (6 years developing on Notepad++ and UltraEdit before that). I feel embarrassed that I waited so long… I am so much more productive with fewer errors. The codebase searching alone is so fast in comparison (about 10s for 200k lines in phpStorm vs. minutes in Notepad++) plus the git integration is excellent with the best merge/diff tool I’ve ever used.

  • Bernd Kilga

    PhpStorm would be much better if they’d drop the enforced autosave.

    • It’s an option, just disable it.

      • Bernd Kilga

        You can only disable frequent auto save, but closing/restarting the IDE saves all open files.

  • Jingqi Xie

    If Visual Studio had official support for PHP development, I am sure that everyone would vote for it.

  • Thanks for sharing the results! I haven’t taken the time yet to look at raw data myself, but I always wonder if the people using a text editor have tried a ‘real’ IDE. I feel a IDE brings so much more productivity, even compared to fully customized and pimped up editors like Sublime.
    My personal choice is PhpStorm for sure (although the unfixed bugs can be somewhat annoying).

  • roninsa

    I’m an old fart that used TECO as his first text editor. I’ve used vim, notepad++, Netbeans, and Eclipse. Currently, I’m using Sublime Text and couldn’t be happier.

  • Melvyn Sopacua

    From a 40+ year old: No we don’t loose our ability to adapt to and accept change. But we do get less tolerance to things that don’t work as advertised, long-winded configurations and feature creep.
    I’m putting Sublime Text on my things to consider, but for me an advantage of an IDE would be a rock-solid remote debugging feature. The rock-solid part is where PhpStorm fails miserably and the configuration dance to get things working wasn’t pleasant either.
    I grew up with Homesite, Quanta 3, a brief interaction with Bluefish and vim. Of those, vim has withstood the test of time.

    • Alekc

      try nusphere phped, v10 (unfortunately after v10 they have some issues with debugger). They have their own debugger, different from xdebug

      • Melvyn Sopacua

        I’ll put it on the list. The remote part is really important though. Some of our clients don’t let data off their servers (for good reasons), so I can’t pull a site locally. More often then not, the performance problems lie in those sensitive areas, so debugging should work over ssh tunnels.

        • Alekc

          About ssh part there is no problem (take a look at, but debugging without copy of site could be tricky. Scripts are downloaded through debugger, so you can see what’s going on, but if you use large framework (i.e. symfony2) it’s not very comfrotable download every single page. Still, it’s better then nothing :)

        • I also recommend NUSphere due to its excellent debugger + remote tunneling/profiling (including javascript debugging and SQL profiling). BTW – I am surprised that things like NotePad++ are considered to be an PHP IDE. To me, PHP IDE must somehow support debugging features to reach reasonable level of programming productivity.

    • Alex Skrypnyk

      PHPStorm 7 has excelent debugging, including remote debugging, and is triggered with 1 click. No project or server setup is required. I use it 3 years now every day and it is very easy to setup a debuggibg session. It also supports debuggibg in virtual box usin file mapping. So I think you should give it another chance.

      • Melvyn Sopacua

        Then I gotta ask what you call debugging. Getting a profile dump is no biggy. I need to be able to step, skip to breakpoints etc. I don’t see that possible without xdebug installed on the server side (since you mention no server setup).

        • Xdebug is so quick to set up. Literally a few seconds. The phpStorm configuration is literally a minute or so for it to connect and confirm everything is correct. All in all its a pretty quick set up.

    • Greg Bulmash

      Just a +1 for the nostalgic reference to Homesite. :-)

      • mp

        Likewise. Homesite was GREAT!! These yungins have no clue!

    • Ruben

      I don’t really understand the dance to get things working with PhpStorm that you mentioned. I’m currently trying out PhpStorm after having worked with Eclipse + PDT for a few years now and I got remote debugging working in literally 5 minutes (XDebug). All the other things I consider useful are also a breeze to set up.

  • Fab G

    Netbeans: simple Interface, wide language support, many plugins and easy configuration. And for free/OSS.

    I gave PHPStorm an chance, but it just gave me a lot of PITA, since it uses a lot of popup windows and has way too many configuration options. I couldnt figure out how to show code coverage right inside the editor window, so I gave up after some hours. They really need a nice and clean interface, eventually I’ll give it a try again then ;)

  • I use Sublime Text 2 and continue with Sublime Text 3 (latest beta build). But right now i plan to switch to PhpStorm, because it is comfortable to use a full IDE for PHP.

  • str

    I still don’t understand why PHP devs don’t use the Zend stack (Zend Server + Zend Debugger + Zend Studio), is like .Net developers not using Visual Studio. I tried PhpStorm after reading this article and I was not able to trace/debug the project like I did with Zend Studio.

    I understand it’s bulky, not intuitive, and slow, but if you want to be a profesional dev, you need to invest time learning a tool and invest money in a good computer that will let you work with the right tools.

    Zend Studio is privative and expensive? Use Eclipse + PDT.

    Sublime? it’s just the new cool kid on the block. Devs that are starting or code simple-php-pages, for not-project/no-framework clients use those kind of tools, and will change them IDE like they will change from PHP to Ruby or Python.. still trying to figure out what they like.

    Please, PLEASE!, invest time learning a PHP-PRO tool to be a PHP-PRO, not just another do-it-all that charges $2 per hour that can only do “migrate wordpress from server to server” projects.

    • MilSF

      Well, as someone who uses ZS 10.6, I can tell you why I don’t use the full stack – vendor lockin. You build your entire infrastructure around them and now you are beholden to one company for bug fixes, updates – everything. That and I’m not overly fond of the fact they don’t even talk about pricing on the site.

      • str

        You read the issue ith the other IDEs in this article, there are no bugfixes neither on free/open systems as they are more interested in adding new features (which ZS already has).

        “Vendor locking”, doesn’t sound so bad when the vendor is Zend, “the PHP company”, as they solve most bugs very quick. It’s not even 100% their code, most of it is Eclipse (free/oss) and PDF (free/oss) so bugfixes come from the community too.

        The price is in their site when you click the “buy now” button:

    • Joeri Sebrechts

      My employer bought into the whole stack, Zend Server + Zend Studio. I used Studio for a number of years, up to ZS8. Then I heard that some of the team members where using phpstorm instead of zend studio. So I gave it a try, and I never looked back. The quality and performance of phpstorm was an order of magnitude better than zend studio. I can use Zend Debugger just fine for both debugging and profiling, so I don’t know why it didn’t work for you.

      We’re also considering moving back to the regular open source PHP coupled with something like New Relic for monitoring instead of using Zend Server. We’ve noticed that the value we’re getting from the Zend Server monitoring features is not that big because we have a hard time accessing that environment at our customers. The benefit in ease of deployment and having a support address for installation issues is also not as big as we thought it would be.

      • str

        Could you share the documentation of how you configured the debugger/tracer in PhpStorm? or your configuration screenshot? That would be a great help for me to try the winner of the survey. Thank you.

        • Joeri Sebrechts

          I copied the instructions from our internal wiki to pastebin:

        • Alex Skrypnyk

          No need for the server setup. Click on the phone in right top corner and trigger debug session from the browser using query string or xdebug helper browser plugin. If you have xdebug setup correctly in your php.ini, it triggers straight away.

  • IceTheMan

    Well the advanced features of late have been getting in my way I am thinking of switching from notepad and going back to good old Edlin in Dos.

  • MrBaseball34

    I have tried both and don’t like the “project” based interfaces. I would rather work from just a folder architecture that a “project”. Try opening or creating just a single HTML or PHP file in either and it’s a PITA.

  • Chu Quang Tú

    Thanks for the Zend Studio license!

  • Cornélio José Wiedemann

    amazing brow
    i love php
    nois cachorro

  • Manachi

    I must admit I’m surprised at these results. I have only briefly tried PhpStorm – so I can’t speak for it, but I am very surprised that Sublime Text 2 comes out above Netbeans. I can only assume that the userbase that chooses Sublime Text 2 over Netbeans are not working on such large projects. Sublime Text 2 might be ok for smaller projects. It doesn’t even have proper autocompletion, or rock solid ‘navigation’. It’s just not an IDE. I LOVE ST2 don’t get me wrong, and I actually tried to start using it as my day-to-day IDE but it just doesn’t cut it as a power user. To put it simply – it’s a (very good) text editor, not an IDE. I have found NetBeans to be absolutely brilliant, and plugins are mostly just seamless (like SVN). Also it’s a beautiful thing that whether you’re on Windows, OSX or Linux you can use the same feature RICH, open source IDE.

    • This was a survey of the most popular tool, however. The distinction between editor and IDE is clearly marked – the result simply might mean most people don’t work on projects that are complex enough to need an IDE.

  • Developer hosny

    Sublime <3

  • shemulworld

    sublime text is moving fast

  • Kalpesh Singh

    Thanks @joefresco:disqus . Such response help beginner like me. :-)

  • Guest

    The idea is to replace Zend Studio in a Zend Server/ Zend Debugger – environmnet. You are also asking to replace the Zend Debugger with xdebug? That doesn’t make much sense to replace everything just to test a different IDE.

  • str

    Which “phone”?

    The idea is to replace Zend Studio in a Zend Server/ Zend Debugger – environmnet.

    You are also asking to replace the Zend Debugger with xdebug? That doesn’t make much sense to replace everything just to test a different IDE.

  • Occams Razor

    *HA* *HA* *HA* Complete time waster for me. The first thing this PhpStorm needs to do is make a seamless, painless, integration with WAMP Server. Like a prompt asking where the wamp server root directory is … and from there it should be able to configure itself. Anything less than this is a complete hack. I spent 30 minutes trying to get this thing configured then gave up pressed the uninstall buttton. The forum answers didn’t match the new UI so it shows that they will re-arrange the furniture on the blind. I will use Eclipse with a PHP add on or Sublime text.

    Good luck to you.

    • britbox

      1 minute job if you’d bothered looking in Deployment under settings.

    • britbox

      1 minute job if you’d bothered looking in Deployment under settings.

  • I couldn’t find a better IDE than PHPStorm! I saw people working with Sublime Text and it seems cool but hey! PHPStorm has everything that a professional developer needs. and thank you Bruno! for putting your time on gathering information and writing this awesome article.

  • Melvyn Sopacua

    I can download the code, that’s no biggy. It’s the client information in the (Magento) stores that’s sensitive. Thank you and lubosdz for the suggestion.

  • equazcion

    Just wanted to note something about the Dreamweaver comment/response in the article.

    There are actually some good reasons to use Dreamweaver even if you plan to forgo its WYSIWYG features. I use it myself and never go near the WYSIWYG part — because that end of it is rather limited and buggy (which is probably more of a testament to how infeasible WYSIWYG web editing truly is, but that’s another discussion).

    Firstly, it’s easy to set up. I’ve actually never even used Netbeans or PHPStorm for any real length of time, because once you want to set up something beyond basic text editing, there is a massive learning curve aided by documentation that is designed to prevent the user from finding out how things are actually accomplished. Whereas, Dreamweaver could be set up by a very smart monkey.

    Even though WYSIWYG is Dreamweaver’s primary selling point, its code editor is actually one of the best out there. Aside from the syntax highlighting being impeccable out of the box* (see Sublime Text note below), it also consistently and quickly highlights code problems live in HTML, PHP, and JS (probably others too, but these are my areas).

    Sublime Text is easiER on the setup end of things than some of the behemoths, but it’s no Dreamweaver. I actually think Sublime Text is the most impressive piece of software engineering I’ve ever seen run on a Windows machine, but it still lacks some things that make me cry as it’s otherwise so outside-the-box awesome. In the default scheme, some important syntax highlighting is missing, notably mixed PHP/HTML that is blended too vigorously. There are downloadable schemes that fix this, but again, Dreamweaver has it right out of the box. The live checks for broken code also don’t seem to be there in Sublime. Neither is HTML tag auto-closing (though there’s a pretty good plugin for that). FTP is also not in the box by default, and the plugins available for it are not as full-featured.

    Dreamweaver’s on-screen tool views are also highly customizable as well as thorough. Sublime Text is a wee bit set in its ways — the sidebar won’t move an inch, for example, and god help you if you need it to be on the right side instead of the left. The file browser it contains works in a very cool way (like everything else in Sublime), but is far from full-featured, and the available plugins are lacking. Every element of Dreamweaver can be dragged and plopped down anywhere, and they contain every conceivable operation you could want to perform.

    Dreamweaver’s “Live” view is… well, ok, not outstanding… but no one else really has it in a locally-installed package; and it’s revoltingly easy to set up. Point it at a local testing server (after MAYBE five to seven lines of configuration) and you get an instantly updated browser view next to your code, even server-side code with PHP and database queries, without the need to switch to and refresh an actual browser.

    I could go on. I know it sounds like I’m a Dreamweaver fanboy, but as another commenter said (about something else), I merely believe it to be the “least-bad” option. The price is the most notable put-off, but there are also bug and stability issues.

    • britbox

      The code editor is nowhere near the best out there and I’d barely class Dreamweaver as an IDE. If you just want a code editor try Sublime Text. If you want a full blown IDE I’d recommend PHPStorm.

      Unless you are doing basic static starter sites and want a WYSISWYG I don’t see any virtues of selecting Dreamweaver. It’s almost like when Frontpage users were trying to sell it to Dreamweaver users about 15 years ago… the days when Dreamweaver was the developers choice (a long long time ago!!)… the days when Macromedia had a serious tool before selling out to Adobe.

      Dreamweaver was surpassed years ago and doesn’t hold a candle to modern IDEs like PHPStorm or NetBeans if you’re coding.

      The learning curve with PHPStorm isn’t related to basic code editing (which is far superior to Dreamweaver) – it’s to do with all the extra features, and you can learn those at your own leisure – Github integration, SVN, mySQL integration, debugging….

      Does Dreamweaver even store a version history for files these days? It didn’t the last time I checked. Sorry – it’s nowhere near. You don’t save time with Dreamweaver – you waste time. Learn a proper IDE over a weekend – PHPStorm, Netbeans, Aptana… and you’ll never look back. Vis.Studio is also good if you ever have to venture over to the Microsoft side of the fence.

  • A bit surprised that Sublime Text comes above Netbeans, PhpStorm comes first makes sense.

  • Nicolas BUI

    For quick project, edit or prototyping, I use Sublime Text or Coda2 and the excelent CodeRunner for quick testing code.

    For bigger projects that involve complex frameworks, for years (10+), I’ve been always searching for the best IDE … and I was never satisfied. My needs si quite simple : Something close to Eclipse but with speed, stability, AND offering a real full fledge JavaScript completion/intelligence capability.

    On my way, I’ve use Netbeans (excellent for PHP and Java), Eclipse, Aptana, Spket IDE (On of the best for JavaScript), Nusphere.

    The only one IDE that come to expectation so far is PhpStorm.

    So, If you code full time with PHP with few needs of CSS/JavaScript, go for Netbeans as it’s free and awesome for PHP and Java. I need to evaluate again Netbeans to check the improvement.

    But, if you also code with JavaScript, so PhpStorm should be your friend. It’s may not as fast as Sublime but it’s surely damn fast (we can’t compare IDE vs Text Editor anyway) !

  • meysam

    which ide support for right to left language good?

  • drawpaint

    Why UltraEdit isn’t here? Just wondering..

  • Vladislav Mosalsky

    Using NuSphere PhpEd for more than 8 years. Simply the best one IDE.

  • ikool

    zend +1

  • didn’t somebody say Emacs? That is strange and sad…

  • Melvyn Sopacua

    Only just noticed it’s windows only – that doesn’t work for me. Been testing sublime for basic development and I like it. Still looking for a good remote debugger implementation.

    • Alekc

      Yes, unfortunately it’s a windows only. That’s why I still stay on Windows side of the fence on my dev rig.

      I tried to load it with Wine, but remote debugging didn’t work at the time :(

  • Lex

    I don’t see significant advantages of PHPstorm over Zend Studio.

    • Ruben

      Speed. Since Zend Studio is based on Eclipse (since version 6 if I recall correctly) it has been a big resource eater. That’s also about the time that I said goodbye to Zend Studio so I’m not sure if anything has improved in the meantime.

  • Chris

    I <3 Visual Studio 2012.

  • Chuck Burgess

    Were the drawing winners announced?

  • Misacek

    Sublime Text neni IDE vy kokoti.

  • gutterboy

    What? No Komodo?

    • Mark Mitchell

      Komodo used to be a contender but recently its just gotten so slow and buggy on large projects I couldn’t take it anymore. PHPStorm smacks it in the face with a big old backhanded pimp slap. Better community, faster bug fixes, and just built on what seems to be a better system.

    • Kristoffer Bernssen

      Komodo is the best!

  • Nadir Boussoukaia

    Why Nusphere PHPed is not present?
    It is far better than PHPStorm, Debugger works out of the box, use far less memory, allows remote & https debugging…

  • clod

    I vote for Codelobster PHP Edition:

  • Notepad++ for me. I don’t develop only in PHP. You might also be interested in this eBook that lists several productivity and PHP/software development tools – 57 Productivity Tools: for Business, Websites and Application Development:

  • Eric

    I am disappointed not to see Komodo IDE and Edit this ranking. Because when you see a phpDesigner is a real stew or even hear Dreamweaver in the world of programming …
    It’s very limited.
    Komodo IDE consome far fewer resources than other major IDE such as eclipse php thénore or netbeans, but it has a large part of the major features that you only need both development and web integration.
    Moreover you can easily add file types and extensions as well as autocomplete not necessarily need to create a plugin.

    It is sure that the license for Komodo IDE is too expensive, but Komodo Edit already has many features that make it has its place in the development IDE.

    To be developed in Netbeans and Eclipse I came altogether in eclipse because it allows greater flexibility for customization of syntax highlighting (without having to undergo numerous bug coloring in netbeans), the Emmet plugin is much more performance in eclipse or netbeans that in PhpStorm (it’s regrettable that matter).
    Netbeans seems buggy across related to Eclipse.
    A byproduct of PhpStorm you might think.
    By against PhpStorm is really as IDE, pity he is not free (but the license is not very expensive).

    Sublime Text2 and on the top between the editor and IDE, love, fast, lightweight, good autocompletion PHP namespace, autoload …
    All the tools you need without having to incorporate tools tracking code and formality of code that are horribly room for absolutely nothing.

    My favorite IDE for PHP and web developpement :
    – PHPStorm == Sublime Text2
    – Eclipse == Komodo IDE
    – Netbeans (unfortunately too buggy and not enough freedom, épouventable custom color code, lesscompile does not work well, emmet plugin is too boring to set … Too bad because it could be a good idea for php.)

  • Sublime is not an IDE so it shouldn’t even be a competitor in this competition. Sublime’s popularity alone makes this a incredibly unfair competition as it knocks it off balance, sending people into a false understanding of what an IDE actually is.

  • Kaleb

    PhpStorm is definitely my IDE of choice. I wouldn’t really call Sublime an IDE, it’s just a text edito . But one of the best damn text editor around. I find myself using both at the same time, quite a lo .


    I love NetBeans :)

  • Adonay Gonzalez

    Yeah PhpStorm m/

  • Ryan Johnson

    I love phpstorm because it works so well with Drupal.

  • nadimtuhin

    All the way <3 sublime and then the storms for some big projects

  • emulman

    I use Webuilder 2015 for windows…it’s the best for me!!! it contains a lot of wizards and it allows to concentrate on the has all: HTML5, CSS3, jquery and PHP frameworks, a complete FTP/SFTP, mysql manager, debugging tools…very easy to use and it costs only half of PHPStorm…

  • Eric

    I use windows Notepad. Why? Because it forces you to not f**** up.

  • MS Paint is more of an IDE.

  • neogene

    1) PHPStorm for features completeness (PHP testing, SSH remote, REST client, Terminal) ,sometimes i miss DW HTML WYSIWYG.
    2) dreamweaver for its HTML WYSIWYG/Live capabilities (using from v2 @ 1998)
    3) any other including VIM/Nano when needed.

  • Adam

    Why is Sublime, Notepad ++ & VIM even on your list? They are not an Integrate Development Environment. They are text editors… That is like comparing presentation software and having MS Power Point, first and notepad second. I have used Zend Studio, Netbeans & PHPStorm. They are IDEs! If you are doing real PHP Development, use an IDE, otherwise you are just rubbing 2 sticks together to make fire.


    no doubt, NetBeans!

  • i always laugh about statistics… is so fake…

    Just look at the “best CMS” tadaaaa! its WordPress… not Symphony or Zend or Yii… just friking blog platform with OLDEST code with Global functions… and another rare stuff…

    So why you think every one who develop for example for WordPress will pay 200€ to develop with PhpStorm?
    Every body go to install free Sublime or better Netbeans which is GREAT!

    I don’t believe in this marketing bullshit. I wonder to know where is stored and in what based this “statistics”…

  • Bob

    Bluefish Editor. This may seem like a odd choice but I can make pre-packaged code snippets of any type and from many languages and with the click of a button, they are included including variables to customize the code snippet. Very handy

  • Thomas

    This post made me try PhpStorm, as Netbeans is getting worse with each release. It definitely is better, however there’s a good bit of latency between me and my servers and PhpStorm’s inability to keep a persistent connection for file transfer kills all the productivity gains it offers. Apparently several hundred people requesting this simple no-brainer aren’t enough. This is not only a show-stopper for me, it also suggests that usability will decline in the future.

    Coming to think of it, so many great products became slow and bloated over the years without offering many useful new features. I wonder how hard it can be to get the basics right and then just leave it alone.

  • xphpdev

    I would like very much to use PHPStorm as my every day IDE, but can’t since its missing important usability feature: you can’t tab (or enter) out from quotes/brackets when you have completed it, like you can do that in Eclipse or its derivatives. Instead you have to press multiple times right arrow or End key and then left key to get back to where you were to end with semicolon. See this issue:
    That issue was reported already on 2011 and has more than 120 votes, but IDEA devs are lazy and only find excuses even when other people fully explain what should be done and that it will not conflict with already existing features.
    That is just ridiculous and unacceptable behavior by them.

  • fahmi

    Sublime Text <3

  • Netbeans is a good choice, but you have to spend the money, that you didn’t spend buying Sublime Text or PhpStorm, on your hardware. Currently, I’m using sublime text, but if I get a chance for a high-end laptop with a nice SSD and processing power, I may switch to Netbeans.

  • Andrés Solarte

    Sublime Text is not an IDE, it is just an excellent text editor, very useful and powerful, but not an IDE

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