PHP IDE & ME – A Love Quadrangle

I am a bigamist, I admit it. I know I am just rationalizing, but how can I let one of them go? All three have great qualities, beauty in their own write. OK, I just keep the green one around, because she has this awesome CVS Compare feature and rolls up syntax errors to the project level, so I can see that all of our major branches at once are free (from that which she checks…which is pretty limited compared to the some of the others, anyway.) oh, and we paid for three years of licenses which expire in a few months. I’m talking about Zend Studio 7.2 of course.

Who are my other two dates for the PHP ball? Netbeans 6.9.1, which is by far the most reliable of the three and happens to be the only open source (I’m even a participant in their NetCat process.) Then there is my newest fling, with the feature filled, power packed, and very sexy PHPStorm (I’m using the current 2.0 preview iteration, or EAP.) She’s a bit immature, but i like living on the wild side.

In truth, we will probably be dropping Zend Studio. We don’t really write anycode in it. ZS is slow….well, so is PHPStorm…in large files at least. However, PHPStorm provides so much more for that slowness, it’s just worth it. My biggest problem with ZS has been, and looks like always will be, is they are extremely slow to respond to support requests; the official forum and community support (and presence of ZS staff in said forum) is almost non-existent, compared to the activity and support from that is available in PHPStorm and Netbeans.

To be honest, I prefer Netbeans…and not cause it’s free….well, not JUST because it’s free. Netbeans is open-source (my heart skips a beat just saying the words.) Still, and even though she’s buggy as hell at times (and again, very slow in large files), PHPStorm provides so much in way of CVS history views, change lists (in PHP, seriously, again with beat skipping heart), very thoroughly syntax checking and code verification, spellcheck (well, we turned that off, it spellchecks variable names…what the?) and a much better debugger interface than Netbeans.

Will there ever be a day that I can use just one PHP IDE….probably not? Is the industry capable of crreating one with all the necessary components and level of stabilty and performance that would propel me to becoming a mongamist? Of course. There are truly some brilliant people working on these applications. You have to look at the keyword in that sentence: necessary. Who determines what is necessary? Therein lies the problem.

I’ve seriously thought of buidling my own IDE. No joke.