Eclipse PHP upgrade tackles object-oriented programming

Version 2.0 of the Eclipse PDT project also offers usability enhancements

The Eclipse Foundation is releasing on Wednesday version 2.0 of its Eclipse PDT (PHP Development Tools) project, which adds object-oriented programming and usability features.

PDT is an open-source development tool offering basic code editing capabilities for PHP applications. PHP is a server-side scripting language popular in Web development.

"This project [with the earlier 1.0 release] has seen wide adoption, [with] over 1 million downloads to date," said Roy Ganor, project lead for both PDT and the Zend Studio for Eclipse platform at PHP tool maker Zend Technologies.

[ For more on PHP and other scripting languages, see "Scripting languages spark new programming era." ]

Object-oriented features in version 2.0 include a type hierarchy view for faster code navigation; type and method navigation for searching of code based on type information, and override indicators to visually tag PHP methods that have been overridden.

"Object oriented [programming] in general gives you the ability to have much more modular code," Ganor noted.

Usability enhancements include an indexing and caching engine based on the Eclipse Dynamic Language Toolkit to improve performance of PDT operations, a Mark Occurrences indicator to make it easier to see where an element is referenced, and a more sophisticated Code Assist feature for code completion based on PHP variable types.

Also highlighted is a project management tool to navigate project resources. PDT 2.0 offers better support for capabilities in PHP 5, Ganor said. PDT 2.0 will be downloadable at this Web page.

By providing an environment similar to Eclipse Java Development Tools, Java programmers can use PDT 2.0 to write PHP code in a familiar setting, Eclipse said.

Zend is working on a version of Zend Studio for Eclipse that is based on PDT 2.0, said Ganor. While developers can use the base PDT platform, companies like Zend can offer commercial products based around PDT. Zend does not yet have a release date for its PDT 2.0 product.

This June, the PDT team plans to offer an upgrade to the platform, to be called version 2.1, which will be part of the annual Eclipse technology release train in June. That release train will be called Galileo. The 2.1 release will continue to add object-oriented features as well as features from PHP 5.3, the next major release of PHP, Ganor said. He did not elaborate on what the language features will be.

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