PHPeclipse verses NuSphere PhpED - Which is best?

I have just begun to learn how to use the powerful free IDE called Eclipse (plus the PHPEclipse plugin) with the super book PHPEclipse: A User Guide by my side.

Having just discovered NuSphere’s PhpED I’m now in two minds about which IDE to go for.

Eclipse is great (and free), but PhpED seems to be a lot easier to get up and running with.

Either way, as I’m, now, so far into setting up Eclipse, I’ll give it a go.
However, if it becomes too much trouble to work with I’ll try out Nusphere’s offering.

If you have used both, feel free to comment with your opinion about which is better.

Update: Rather than comparing just those 2 I ought be looking at all the other IDE’s available.

I found a good site that covers PHP editors in great detail:

http://www.php-editors.com/

I’ve been looking into Adobe’s new offering, but i can’t work out whether or not they have got Subversion version control integrated into their product.

Zend Studio seems to be a more slickly marketed application and has very similar amount of features to NuSphere

Update: April 25th 2007
Having finished reading up about Subversion, i am now ready to move to a new IDE. I’m still undecided about which one to go for. Eclipse seems to be too much hassle. It looks like a great development tool if you are a Java programmer, but I had so much trouble trying to install the DBG that it has kind of put me off the idea. I’ve decided that the idea of having to install plugin after plugin is a pain. I just want it all to work from the word go!

PHP Edit
I looked into PHPEdit. It seems really good. It has support for subversion, but you have to buy it as a separate extension.

I’m just going to continue my investigation by going down the list of IDE’s at php-editors.com

Maguma Workbench
The website says they have CVS support. It did not mention any support for subversion, so thought i’d just download it and see. I downloaded the trial version. During install it asked me if I wanted to install the “workbench php.ini”.Having no idea what this is, I zoomed off to their website and tried to search for info on what the “workbench php.ini” is, does and what are the consequences of installing it. I couldn’t find an answer which is a bit annoying. After a quick check of the application it looks really fast and neat and easy on the eye but I couldn’t see any support for subversion. So I’ll have to skip it.

I’m beginning to wonder if I’m asking too much from development tools. When will my search end? Am I expecting the impossible? Well I suppose I should write a list of the things I need in an IDE:

  • PHP support. Ideally PHP focused
  • Excellent Documentation:
    • A Getting Started Guide that ican print off and follow
    • Basic, printable, tutorial to guide me through the process of setting up a project and uploading it onto a remote server (so I can follow it using a Trial version of the software and see what my workflow is likely to be)
    • Ideally a book that has been published on how to become and expert user of the software
    • Easy-to-search documentation for those moments when you discover a new feature of the software
  • Confidence in the software publisher’s longevity and development future. I don’t want to invest time and effort into something that’s going to wither and die
  • Integrated Subversion support with a method of automatically keeping my Adding and renaming of files in line with the source control system. [see update notice 25th July 2007, below]
  • Basic software standards - e.g keyboard short cuts,fast to use, nice user interface, doesn’t crash every 2 minutes etc.
  • HTML WYSIWYG editor - to sketch out designs.
  • Integrated , Split-window FTP manager to download/upload files easily

Other nice features would include:

  • Integrated PHP Debugging. Although i have managed for years without it. It does seem like a nice time saver.
  • Code analysis - like what Zend Studio offers. E.g It can highlight all the unused variables in a script.
  • Integration with a remote SQL servecr to allow Code completion when typing out SQL schema names in SQL statements - like what Quantum DB does in Eclipse. I wonder how many hours of my life has been spent copying and pasting column names in select statements.

If Adobe Dreamweaver had support for Subversion it would be perfect!

Anyway, my search continues.

UPDATE: 25th July 2007

I have now been using Subversion for a few weeks and have got into the habit of adding, moving and renaming files from within the Windows Explorer using TortoiseSVN. I now realise that a PHP IDE just does not need to be so tightly integrated with Subversion or even support it at all.

So, I suppose that settles this whole debate for me - I’ll go for Adobe Dreamweaver.

Next thing: I just need to get some cash together! ;o)

UPDATE: 06th Jan 2008

Following the comment from “Srinivasan A Paul Joseph Blog”, see below, I took his advice and bought a copy of PHPed - to give it another try.

Having taken a good amount of time to understand the general schema of the software - I realise now why I was so put off during my evaluation trial:

Give the “getting started pages” more time
Contrary to my previous comments - it does have good documentation. In fact PHPed is very well documented. The only floor in the documentation was the one page that I read during my evaluation period - the most important page - the getting started page, “Running NuSphere PhpED for the 1st time”. I printed that page off and wrote some margin notes on changes that I would like to see made which I may make into a blog post of its own one day.

I would like to have seen a graphic representation outlining the three different modes of phped usage with the following amendment to the text:

Change:
…PhpED provides three different modes of running and debugging php scripts/applications: Local CGI (php exe), HTTP mode (SRV local WEB server), and HTTP mode (3rd party WEB server). Each run mode is intended for use in a particular situation….

to
“…PhpED provides three different modes of running and debugging php scripts/applications:
(1) Local CGI (php exe),
(2) HTTP mode (SRV local WEB server), and
(3) HTTP mode (3
rd party WEB server).

Each run mode is intended for use in a particular situation…”

When i had first read it I thought the writers had done a typo because 2 of the modes had exactly the same name - HTTP MODE. This was based on the old grammatical principal that my English teacher once said - ‘brackets’ should only be used if the meaning of the surrounding text does not change if the bracketed text is removed.
(But then, who am I to lecture on grammar - my own English is appalling.)
During the evaluation period, my failure to grasp the ‘three modes’ of usage confused me so much that I just gave up on the whole software package. Harsh, but true.

Beautiful Code Presentation is in the eye of the beholder
The other thing that had put me off during evaluation was the way the code was formatted. However, since buying the software, and taking more time to learn how to use it, tweaking the settings allowed me to get it to display in the exact format that I like.

I have now been using PHPed for a few days and am getting used to it.
I do have one complaint still - the ‘find’ feature is still a bit confusing and does not work how i expect it to - when the ‘find and replace’ dialogue box is open it is impossible to select and copy from the target document. Plus, once the first instance of the string is found in the target document, the ‘find dialogue’ disappears. Thus, it makes it difficult to switch the search direction between forwards and backwards whilst checking out the code. This is so important to me, because one of the first things i do to get an idea of a variable or function’s usage within a script is to use the find to scan through all instances of it. I have seen an improvement to this feature requested on their forum (asking for ‘find’ to be more firefox-like), so i hope it comes soon.

I guess its a matter of taste, but the I wish it could be more like the ‘find and replace’ feature in Programmers File Editor (PFE). I have found myself working in phpEd and then, whenever I need to do a simple ‘find’ I go back to PFE - so I’m not fully converted yet.

This ‘find issue’ is something that i can train myself to overcome - but I have become so habituated by the “PFE’s find feature” - that it will be difficult.

Despite this, I do know, now, that this PHPEd software is amazing and is definitely worth investing more time to learn.

Update : Feb 2008 

I have just discovered that Zend have launched a PHP IDE plugin for Eclipse - not sure how long its been around , but this could be interesting.
http://www.zend.com/en/products/studio/features

5 Responses to “PHPeclipse verses NuSphere PhpED - Which is best?”

  1. Srinivasan A Paul Joseph Says:

    Hi,

    Adobe DreamWeaver supports SVN/CVS by an extension available at: http://www.dreamweaver-extensions.net/index.php/SVN-for-Dreamweaver–Windows-and-Macintosh/

    As you said, you don’t really need it. But it’s useful to integrate into the IDE st that you can easily manage tasks instead of opening explorer to do it everytime.

    In the mean time, my High Vote goes to NuSphere phpEd. They’re the BEST in it’s class and there’s simply no other look. DreamWeaver is good, I agree, but it’s not good as much as NuSphere phpEd for PHP.

    NuSphere PhpEd for PHP is like jIDEA for Java.

  2. admin Says:

    Yes - PHPed was something i discovered whilst trying to install the DBG into Eclipse. I was about to get my credit card out to buy it - but was put off by the fact that i could not find any good documentation that (a) gave me an overview of how it all worked (b) showed a tutorial on the taskflow of setting up a new project, building it , then deploying it, then managing it.

    It is probably powerful software because it seems to have been designed and built by coders. However, as a coder myself, i understand that the last thing i am interested in is the actual process of writing the documentation for my applications. I think that’s why Macromedia were so successful. Not only is their software great but their documentation is superb too.

    Anyway - on your recommendation I think i will go back, take another look and invest some more time into learning about Nusphere’s offering.

    So, thanks.

  3. Ajay from Ludhiana,Punjab Says:

    phped vs phpeclipse/zend
    ——————————–
    1. phped has the properties for html n the same page where you have filename.php.
    2. for html editing, phped is having tool.
    3. php does not run alone, it needs HTML.
    4.phped is light rather zend.
    5. phped does nnot create hidden file like phpeclipse .megadata
    6. phped supports more number of associated file.

  4. seyyed hossein Says:

    i suggest dreamweaver

  5. Stas Ustimenko Says:

    I prefer Codelobster PHP Edition - http://www.codelobster.com

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