Review: 2 PHP tools rise above the rest
You'll find no shortage of heavyweight PHP IDEs, but few are uncluttered, focused, and smooth
The news is now old that investors will be given a chance to trade big piles of cash for a piece of the pile of code known as Facebook.com. Just a short time ago, few of us would have predicted that a pile of PHP would be worth billions of dollars, but clearly we underestimated the power of the platform.
To get a flavor for the latest in PHP programming, I spent some time unpacking the current set of development tools for PHP -- eight in all. I built some projects, modified some plug-ins for popular content management systems, and experimented with building another pile of PHP that will be worth many billions of dollars if I keep my fingers crossed.
There has been much progress over the years. In the past, I've generally relied upon emacs to create the code. When I needed to watch a variable, I would just print it into a Web page and trace the flow through there. That technique is generally adequate for basic debugging because the traditional job of PHP is to do a bit of basic data manipulation and get out of the way when the database shows up to do the real work.
That's changing. The integrated development environments are proliferating, and more development is moving into the cloud. The integrated tools manage the stacks of code, juggle deployments, catch debugging information, store the code in source repositories, and in some cases even automate deployment to the cloud.