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My experience with PHP IDEs.

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For the last few years I have been using Vi for all my text editing.  It didn’t start off that way.  I started my job at Momentum IT Group using a Windows editor to work off our Linux server via FTP, but for some reason the download process was slow.  So I went through the difficult process of learning Vi and soon mastered a subset of its commands.

Recently I am getting back into working in the Windows environment.  I have set up Apache, PHP and MySQL on Windows Vista and I’m interested in using this setup for offline development and testing.

I tried using gVim for a while.  Except for a few minor grievances it worked great, but I had to use the MSDOS command line to work with the file system.  Anyone who has experience with using the Linux command line knows that substuting it with MSDOS is a pain.

I first looked at PHPEdit for its support of Symfony (Symfony is the development framework that I use).  While I liked the Symfony support, the commercial license has largely turned me off.

My next turn is to Eclipse, which is a free, open source framework for IDEs.  I first heard of Eclipse years ago, however when I used it I found it ran too slowly on my crappy laptops.  Now with dual-core chip computers, Eclipse runs rather nicely.  It also comes packed with PDT — PHP Development Tools.

I’m taking a closer look at this IDE.  While you can download and run Eclipse pre-packaged with PDT, it still seems bloated at around 130 megs.  It started up slowly (I didn’t time it, but 10-20 seconds feels like forever to me in this day and age).   However, the runtime speed was not noticeably slow.

Can anyone comment on their own experience with Eclipse PDT?  How does it compare with other PHP IDEs?  Do you have any other recommendations?

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