The search for a good editor

Wow, that’s an excellent walk-though, Steve!

Indeed, nice write up!

Well…success at last! Sorry I didn’t see this writeup, or your suggestion of EclipseColorer, prior to installing it myself, but I found a solution. It took a little digging and a little hack.

I found under “Windows->Preferences->PHP->Editor->Syntax Coloring” some nice options (way more than any other editor so far) for coloring PHP elements. I got things looking the way I wanted, with one exception, the “class” heading didn’t affect interfaces, and there wasn’t a separate heading for them. So what I did was disable all headings so that everything was black. I then used the “normal” heading to make everything the color I eventually wanted interface names to show up as. Next, I went through the rest of the headings and re-enabled them, settings colors as needed. Once done, EVERYTHING was the color I wanted.

This, coupled with some tweaks under “Windows->Preferences->PHP->Editor->Templates” to adjust for my styles of bracketing, I had an environment I could work with. The code completion and intellisense actually works, is fairly quick, and is project sensative (picks up code/comments from php files authored by me, and not just what is defined by PHP itself).

So in the end, it looks like Eclipse is what I’ll be using from here on out. Many thanks to all of you!

Good for you Serenarules! Glad you got it working.

One other nice thing; because Eclipse is self-contained you can simply copy it (plus your hidden .eclipse file in your home director (for linux users)) and paste it into another machine and all your settings, software and such will be exactly as on your other computer. Of course you need to make sure that Java is installed first. This is difficult to do in most other IDEs.


geany is a simple cross-platform editor

+1 for vim

You can also try gEdit. It is multi platform as well: # Main about page # Screens # Download

I use it on my Linux & Mac boxes

I use PHPEd which you have already tried by the looks of things, but I find Eclipse buggy, bloated, slow and generally not that nice to use. I hate it with a passion! The only thing I miss from Smarty is the Ctrl-Shift-R functionality (find resource), which works well.

I’ve been using Eclipse for 4 1/2 years and I can’t say that the current versions Indigo/Juno are buggy and not bloated compared to other IDEs. If one is to download just the core, PDT and Web Tools it can easily be run a a single processor, single core, with 1 Gb of RAM. Where instability can come in is the version of Java used. Of course PHPEdit is a solid tool and Eclipse, being an IDE will not compete with the speed or the simplicity of it.

I tried Eclipse and had problems. Would keep crashing for me. I then moved on to phpDesigner and don’t regret it one bit - though it’s not free. Has the required colouring and intellisense. Has more [such as debugger], but that’s all I’ve required yet. I use for PHP, HTML, CSS, Javascript.

I used Eclipse at work - and I used it years ago as well - and it has many of the same problems. For example, you hit Ctrl-S to save, but your ‘save’ action gets queued behind a 40 minute ‘Building Workspace’ action. It’s a complete joke when it does stuff like that!

PHPEd is also an IDE by the way (as is PHPEdit, which I have never used).

Ah PHPEd and not PHPEdit, sorry :).

Were you using Eclipse on Windows or Linux?

I have only every used it on Linux and had very few such problems on Debian, Ubuntu, and OpenSuse. Java compatibility has been the only problem but currently it is very stable on Sun Java 1.6.29 32bit.

I will have to look over PHPEd and see what advantages it may bring over Eclipse; however having the power to switch between Java, HTML, CSS, PHP and C# on in the same environment has been really good for me. I am however glad that PHPEd is working well for you.

In my experience, Netbeans doesn’t have the issues you guys (and/or gals) have been talking about.

BTW you can set up different debuggers for PHP and other languages in Eclipse. The PDT package comes with a debugger that you can simply enable in the preferences (with little fuss) and will allow you to profile your code in the local or an external browser.

I have used the following editors:

  1. Aptana
  2. HTML Kit
  3. Net Beans
  4. Coffee Cup HTML Editor
  5. JEdit
  6. Notepad++

I’ve never used Vim, the biggest issue with me is having all the best plug-ins installed. The auto-complete is a big issue, likewise with the shortcuts for quick coding. So far I am really loving Notepad++. It’s by far the best editor for myself. I use this with FingerText and it’s by far the most productive.

I found NetBeans too hungry on memory. HTML-Kit has an issue with UTF-8. Aptana was selective on opening files, occationally it crashed, but had a great interface and took much less memory than NetBeans. So for my I stuck with Notepad++.

Off Topic:

I did not mention Dreamweaver :slight_smile: I should have mention it somewhere. WYSIWTF!

Hi there,
Did you look at ?
It might be what you’re looking for.

My IDE of choice is PHPStorm.

Actually, no, I haven’t, as it’s over 50 bucks. But you know what? It actually looks like a must-have tool for HTML validation, regardless of what it can do with PHP. Thanks for sharing that.

I Should also mention that Microsoft Expression Web has built in basic PHP highlighting, if I hadn’t yet. Kind of interesting.


CodeLobster is well worth a look and it has a free version.

Just installed code lobster (my pc is beginning to look like an IDE farm, lol) and I found it pretty nice. The intellisense was responsive, picked up my own code, in addition to things inherited from PHP itself. Formatting was nice, and there were several good options in the preferences dialogs. Code folding introduced a boxed elipses, which could be hovered over for a popup showing the folded code. There were still some limitations on syntax highlighting options however. As show in the attached image, setting the “Interface Name” option, under the “PHP” set, only affected appearance while defining the interface. When defining an implementation, the interface name is affected by “Class Name”, which makes both class name and implemented interface the same color. Odd. Perhaps they can fix that if brought to their attention. Otherwise, a nice little editor, once you close down all the un-needed docked windows.

Keep the suggestions coming guys. I’m a bit ill at the moment (bronchial infection), but next week I’d like to compile my findings in a little table, which I’ll post here, comparing features and faults of each product. Maybe that will help others zone in on the right tool for them.


I like your comprehensive report.

Here is another free editor: BlueFish

No rush for the report and hope you get well soon.