What Is The Best Editor For PHP Developers?

Programmers and developers have a ton of great tools that they can use to make their jobs and work more effective and efficient. These include multi-use tools such as Stackify and many others that serve a variety of different purposes. However, one of the most important things for PHP developers (and any type of web developer) is to have a solid editor.

There are a few different types of editors that PHP developers can use that range from simple text editors to complex and robust IDEs (Integrated Development Environments) with many features in addition to editing capabilities. But with so many different types of code editors out there, how do you know which one to choose? With that in mind, this article is going to look at some of the best editors and IDEs out there for PHP developers, to help you figure out which one to try.

Sublime Text

sublime text editor
Sublime Text Editor

If you are often around other programmers, there is a good chance that this editor will come up in conversation at one time or another. It was released back in 2008 and has been a favorite for professionals for years. It has cross-platform capabilities, as it will work on Windows, Linux and Mac OX, and is one of the most powerful tools in the space. In addition to that, Sublime offers not only great functionality, but also speed, which is extremely important when coding.

This tool and editor has many features that programmers are sure to love from their “Goto Anything” feature, the ability to make multiple changes at the exact same time, the ability to customize nearly anything and so much more. Another popular feature is the Command Palette which gives you quick access to various functions, without having to remember complex key binds or perform long searches.

Add all of those features to the great performance of Sublime, and you have a solid option for PHP development. However, there are some negatives about this option as well, such as the fact it’s not free, features no toolbar and the fact that they protect and copyright their code.

Atom

Atom editor
Atom editor

Having its initial release back in 2014, Atom is fairly new to the market, but is a tool that many people are interested in and would love to learn more about. There is a lot of flexibility within the platform, but even the default settings within the editor are great too. There are many great features within Atom such as cross-platform, package management, smart autocompletion, multiple panes and so many more. Another unique feature within Atom is Teletype, which allows developers to collaborate and work together.

While Atom isn’t an IDE, it is has a set of packages that can make it function and work a lot like one, which is a great benefit. You can also easily customize themes, and your entire experience. It is this freedom and the open-source nature of this editor that developers love. It is also a free software with the MIT license, so it can be enjoyed by everyone. Unfortunately, Atom can sometimes be a bit slow and sluggish to start and run. And it can use a decent amount of resources, which could make your entire computer slow down during use.

VSCode

Visual Studio Code
Visual Studio Code

Visual Studio Code is a source code editor and is among the most popular offerings in the space. In fact, based on a survey of 75,000 developers, well over 30% of the respondents claimed to use the editor. This free and open-source tool includes a variety of great features like syntax highlighting, code refactoring and even supports debugging. Also, this tool can be quicker and snappier than others based on their Intellisense feature, which provides smart autocompletitions based on many different factors.

While it is a popular option, it doesn’t offer the full range of features that most IDEs do. And the file search feature isn’t as fast as we’d like. Over time the tool has also become relatively bloated and as a result. And it doesn’t perform quite as well as some of the other options you will see here.

Komodo

Komodo IDE
Komodo IDE

The great thing about Komodo is that they offer a solution for everyone. Not only do they offer a free, open-source editor in Komodo Edit, but also a full-fledged and powerful IDE. The editor is great for developers that are looking for something relatively simple and powerful. But if you need more advanced features like code profiling, integration with other technologies, unit testing and more, the IDE should be able to help you out.

The editor is free, and the IDE comes with a free 21 day trial. So there is no need to spend a lot of money to get started. Both feature a robust toolbox, are multi-language and allow for multiple selections. So if you are looking to experiment with both a text editor and an IDE, Komodo gives you that opportunity. However, the editor and IDE can often be a little bit tough for complete newcomers to deal with. And the text editor isn’t as fully featured as you’d like.

Another negative is that they are larger programs that can take longer to load, which might stop some people from using this editor/IDE.

PHPStorm

PHPStorm IDE
PHPStorm IDE

If you have the goal of building a website with PHP, PHPStorm is one of the single best IDEs that you can use. Over its near-decade on the market, PHPStorm has become a popular choice for people all over the globe. It has a number of different functions and features such as support of all major frameworks, secure and fast refactoring, intelligent coding assistance, debugging/testing and more. They are always making new updates and adding new features, as well.

Also, nearly every single detail of your PHPStorm experience can be truly customized for you. This includes hotkeys, highlight styles, themes for the UI and more. Best of all, if you are a teacher or student, PHPStorm can be available for free. So it’s worth a try if you fall in those categories. If not, however, PHPStorm is relatively expensive and doesn’t offer quite as much as other paid options. Also, PHPStorm has a relatively cluttered UI, and can sometimes be quite buggy and slow because it is resource exhaustive.

In conclusion, hopefully this article has helped you decide which editor and/or IDE is best for PHP developers. Each has their own intricacies and nuances. So be sure to try a few out or do your own independent research to see which you like the best. There are many great resources to check out to learn more about these options like Reddit, Quora, StackOverflow and more. A simple Google search on these editors should help you as well.


Also published on Medium.

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