General Question

chadwithuhc's avatar

What program is good for PHP development on Mac?

Asked by chadwithuhc (13points) January 21st, 2008

i am looking for a good program to do php development in. i am starting to learn more php and i am looking for a program that will give code hints and auto completion to help me along the way. i currently use dreamweaver cs3 which has great html support, but the php side isnt helping me much. ive also downloaded a trial of zend studio which has great code hints and completion but i feel like its lacking a lot that dreamweaver has. i also cant find out how to preview my file after i edited it, when i run it, it will only tell me if ive got errors and not show me a preview. do i just have to direct to it on localhost? ive looked into coda from panic, and there program has a nice ui and good sql hints, but not much else for php. i also used aptana which looked amazing but the app seemed so confusing i didnt know what was going on. im being picky i know, but im just curious about what others are using. thanks!

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14 Answers

segdeha's avatar

We use Eclipse (with the PDT plugin) where I work, but I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it. The thing it does that I find indispensable is allow you to follow method references into the class definition, very helpful for tracking down what does what and how.

When I’m working on my own stuff, I usually use skEdit. Again, no code completion, but some other nifty features.

I did write a widget (Mac only) that is a complete PHP reference, plus other cool features like an interactive date formatter. I find it helpful for quickly looking up the order of parameters and other arcana of PHP.

chaosrob's avatar

Dreamweaver is probably your best bet. No development environment I’ve seen has better prompting tools for PHP, and the included reference tools aren’t too bad. Just make sure you configure your site as PHP/MySQL and save your docs with a .php extension. That will enable the proper syntax highlighting and tag prompts for your doc. You might also want to get in the habit of keeping the official PHP documentation open in a browser while you work.

paulc's avatar

As far as I’m concerned, TextMate is your best bet. It is very easy to customize it and I find it makes me quite a bit more productive. It could be argued that Eclipse is also customizable but the difference is that customizing TextMate won’t give you an aneurism. There is no formalized intellisense/code completion but I have never found this to be a problem personally – I find that you’ll learn the language more intimately if you refer to the full documentation when you need to and not rely on the code completion. It should be said that I’ve not done much PHP work with it in quite some time as I’ve been busy with other languages but its well suited to it. In any event its worth trying out: its one of those pieces of software that is actually worth its price.

There’s also Smultron which I did use during my most heavy PHP development period. Its not nearly as full-featured as TextMate and the last time I used it the most recent version (don’t remember what it was right now) turned me off. It does auto completion iirc. It was a pretty nice lightweight editor though and costs nothing.

Finally, a friend of mine and I used to do some “extreme coding” with SubEthaEdit to much success. Its a nice editor but the collaborative aspect to it is obviously its strongest point. It also does some auto completion but I don’t know if it does so for PHP. Once again, I haven’t used it in a while but I would expect that it has only got better.

As you can see, once I got using TextMate I haven’t gone back. My workflow is really based around it and the bundles I’ve made for myself (and there’s tons of generic bundles for every imaginable language out there). So obviously it gets my vote.

I’d say download them all and try each out on a small project.

deathfrombelow's avatar

I am going to second Textmate it is by far the best editor you can get for PHP development, and it is worth the 50$ asking price.

glial's avatar

I use Dreamweaver and Textmate.

krypin's avatar

For larger projects there’s nothing better than Eclipse with the PDT plugin (created by Zend and IBM). You can find more info here and here

cwilbur's avatar

The last few times I’ve played with Dreamweaver it produced abjectly horrible HTML. (A coworker who liked Dreamweaver claimed it was better than Adobe GoLive or nvu—that’s damning with faint praise, as far as I’m concerned.) This won’t be a problem for you unless you start dealing with AJAX and client-side programming, in which case you will hate Macromedia with a fiery passion.

If you want to understand what’s going on, your best bet is to work on the files directly. TextMate or BBEdit is the way to go.

glial's avatar

Dreamweaver outputs clean (and valid) XHTML and is now owned by Adobe. It also works great with AJAX, including Adobe’s Spry Framework. as well as the many other I’ve tried, such as Prototype.

You may be thinking of Frontpage :-)

Breefield's avatar

I use Coda,
It has reference books built in, an code hints. Cheaper than most too.

cwilbur's avatar

No, I was indeed thinking of Dreamweaver. The most recent version may have improved things substantially in terms of standards-compliance, but after close to a decade of sucking hard, I’m not about to give Dreamweaver the benefit of the doubt.

It may also be that all of the pro-Dreamweaver web designers I’ve worked with have been idiots who didn’t know how to kick it into some sort of standards-compliant mode. Given that most of them were idiots in general, this is very likely.

paulc's avatar

Dreamwever’s markup has improved over, say, MX. However, if you do for some reason decide to use it for the love of god do not use Dreamweaver templates. They pollute the markup and make editing a site without Dreamweaver a royal pain (most especially if you have a designer that doesn’t understand that it unabashedly overwrites anything when it regenerates its markup after a template change).

thegodfather's avatar

Panic’s Coda

MAMP for your localhost setup (much, much easier out-of-the-box than XAMPP)

Give these a try, and I’m positive you’ll be satisfied.

segdeha's avatar

Coda is indeed cool. I’m a paid user. It’s also completely Mac-like because the Panic guys are righteous.

Breefield's avatar

I decided to revisit this because I was looking though my Lurve :p

Here’s my web development setup.

I code with Coda
I edit images with Fireworks 8
I FTP with Transmit
I edit my CSS with CSSEdit
I browse with Firefox
I MYSQL with PHPmyAdmin

I like to leave Safari open for watching TV on the internet because then I can develope with Firefox and crash that without stopping the TV

Safari also has a developer toolkit thingy hidden in it.
Just copy and past this into Terminal

defaults write WebKitDeveloperExtras -bool true

Once you’ve restarted your browser you can then right-click on various elements in the browser and select “Inspect Element”.

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