PHP Development Code Editors and IDEs of 2018!


PHP Development completely changed in a few years and now being a developer, you have to deliver more accurate, performing, and well-structured code under a minimum time slot to stay competitive in the market. Even, revolution of technology in the form of AI, IoT, Crypto Currency, etc., provoke PHP developers to have a great skill of coding.

Plenty of “X-coders” and experts have confirmed that the industry is looking for the talents that are skilled and expert in efficient PHP development. And if we believe on rumors than the industry will require more than1 million skilled developers by 2020. So, if you are associated in the same industry, it’s the time when you can improve yourself.

I think, the demand of seamless PHP development appears after the increased requirement of on-demand solutions such as Uber like taxi booking solutions, Oyo like Hotel booking system, Dream11 like Fantasy Cricket Platform, or Virtual Reality applications. These trends completely change the scenario, and increase the requirement of well-paced developers.

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Now, the question is How to write an efficient, error-free, and well-structured code?

This is the question that most of developers asked online or to their seniors, team leaders, and project managers. And what they attest, is the right selection of code editor or IDE can help you to produce effective, performing, and structured code.

As there are thousands of lines in a code with different styles, and a single miss of “;” semi-column can create bug, which isn’t easy to find out. But with a code editor, it can be easy to get instant error of missing things at the time of code, even some editors auto complete the required symbols, which enhance the quality of code and performance as well.

Here, in this article, we have accompanied leading code editors & IDEs to make your efforts minimal, but productive. Before moving ahead to the list, first take a look at the conceptual enhancement of both terms beneath.

Difference between Code Editors and IDEs

It might not be your look up, but I have to make a clearer view to newbies because now these days the separation line faded away as few of them works same or have functionalities of both. Being a developer its quite complicated to choose one from them, as the coding structure and common features that can make you confuse.

While the PHP coding is a common skill, still it has a great scope in market as there are lots of vacancies available and market welcomes new-ones due to their unique thought process and zeal. For them,

  • An Integrated Development Environment or IDE is a complete package, where you can write, compile, execute and debug your codes. They have complete libraries to help you out in your problems, provide hints and make you aware about common mistakes of PHP programming. On the other side, Code Editors only have functionalities of code editing and you can use them only to write error free code.
  • Usually, IDEs support only single language for which they are build and have their compiler or debugger embedded. While Code Editors are more general and supports multiple languages to write codes.
  • In common, they both can help you in code completion, provide hints, highlight errors, and custom folding of code sections. Even, few code editors have IDEs functionality on their pro versions.

Although, choosing a compatible Code Editor or Integrated Development Environment (IDE) depends on your preference, PHP Framework, workflow, and requirement. Here’s what we have concluded as per developers’ preference, reliability and performance.

TOP 4 IDEs for PHP Development

Code Editing with a compatible IDE will be a fun as you have complete opportunity to check your final outcome without struggling over uploading again and again. You can enable advance functionalities with pro versions or through additional addons. Here’re few IDEs, that embarks their presence so far,

  1. PHPStorm
  2. NetBeans
  3. Visual Studio
  4. Eclipse

Let’s explore there features and functionalities in detail:

01. PHPStorm

Leading in the list due to its high compatibility and user trust. Initially, it was released in 2009 and supports cross-platforms Microsoft Windows, MacOS X, and Linux. JetBrains built it on IntelliJ IDEA, first of its kind JAVA IDE.

PHPStorm provides on-the-fly error prevention and code refactoring, along with major PHP framework support. It is a combination of WebStorm, PHP and DB/SQL. Check out more details on Wiki and download it from JetBrains

phpstorm banner

Platform(s) : Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Linux
Supported Languages : PHP 5.3, 5.4, 5.5, 5.6 and 7.0, HTML and JavaScript
Price : USD 199 for the first year, Subsequent usage costs less.
More Features : Code quality analysis, PHPUnit tests, Supports GitHub and Perforce

02. NetBeans

Second in the list just because of its vital use and user ratings. Its multi-language support makes it more popular among PHP Development geeks as it supports JAVA, PHP, C, C++, HTML5, XML, Groovy, Javadoc, and JAVASCRIPT.

This free of cost IDE allow developers to code Desktop, mobile and web applications on any platform – Microsoft Windows, MacOS X, Linux and Solaris.

Initially, it was released in early 1996 as a student project named “Xelfi”, then after in 1997, Roman Stanek started a company based on this IDE and commercially released as NetBeans. Later in 1999, Sun Microsystems bought it and open sourced the NetBeans IDE. Check out more details on Wiki and download it from NetBeans

Netbeans Banner

Platform(s) : Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, Solaris
Supported Languages : Java ME & SE, JavaScript, HTML5, PHP, C/C++, XML, Groovy, Javadoc, JSP
Price : FREE (CDDL or GPLv2)
More Features : Integration of Subversion, Mercurial, and Git, NetBeans Profiler

03. Visual Studio

Well known and reputed IDE that allow Php Development geeks to develop, debug, test, collaborate, and extend to more possibilities. In an enhancement, Visual Studio IDE supports 36 different programming languages including C, C++, Visual Basic, PHP, CSS, JavaScript, XML, HTML, TypeScript, C#, F#, and .Net. Even you can use Node JS, Python, Ruby and M through available Plug-ins.

Visual Studio IDE leveled up their service in their latest version 2017 through supporting Xamarin, a tool that deliver Native and Hybrid Application and from now mobile users can use same IDE for application code.

Microsoft first released Visual Studio in early 1997 as a package before that they used to deliver separate IDE for different languages. Check out more details on Wiki and download it from Microsoft VS

Visual Studio Banner

Platform(s) : Linux, MacOS, Windows
Supported Languages : C++, C, C#, Visual Basic, PHP, JavaScript
Price : Free to $2,999+
More Features : Cross-platform support, Integration with GitHub, Subversion and other team tools

04. Eclipse

Last but not the least, Eclipse has its own user base due to its JAVA IDE workspace, but PHP developers can enhance their workflow using extensible plug-ins, which allow them to use Ada, ABAP, C, C++, C#, COBOL, D, Fortran, Haskell, JavaScript, Julia, Lasso, Lua, NATURAL, Perl, PHP, Prolog, Python, R, Ruby, Rust, Scala, Clojure, Groovy, Scheme, and Erlang.

The IDE is supported by Microsoft Windows, MacOS X, Linux and Solaris and available with Public license. Initially, released in 2001 by IBM, but later on 2004, it operates through specially built not-for-profit corporation Eclipse Foundation. Check out more details on Wiki and download it from

Eclipse Banner

Platform(s) : Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, Solaris
Supported Languages : Ada, ABAP, C, C++, COBOL, D, Fortran, Haskell, Java, JavaScript, Julia, Lasso, Lua, NATURAL, Perl, PHP, Prolog, Python, R, Ruby, Ruby on Rails, Rust, Scala, Clojure, Groovy, Scheme, and Erlang, LaTeX, Mathematica.
Price : FREE (Eclipse Public License)
More Features : Rich Client Platform, supports Tomcat, Glassfish and other servers, Web Tools Platform.

Here, in this list we have only explored top 4 IDE for PHP Development, but there are plenty of IDEs available such as Vim, Komodo, Sublime Text Pro, Aptana Studio, Atom IDE, ZendStudio, etc. So, you can choose anyone from the available PHP Editors as per your preference, even you can explore internet to get more details about them.

You have to wait till our next write up, to explore the details of TOP CODE EDITORS for PHP Development in 2018. If you think there is something that we have missed, feel free to mention it in a comment. We would love to include them in the write-up.

  • Surely PHPStorm is the best one….to go for but there are other like Aptana Studio and ZendStudio as well which you can add to the list…..

    • Thanks for your suggestion. Although, we have already mentioned their names in the write-up as additional IDEs, but not explained much about them. We will try to explain them in near future.

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