The IDEs of March

Last Year, Chris Shiflett started the “Ideas of March” movement, and Jon Tangerine quickly coined the “Ides of March” twist and some people followed him. This year, here we are again and while reading my twitter feed I saw Cal Evans’ post with Jon Tangerine’s line. Of course it was early and I read “IDEs”. Since last year I defended the Ideas of March with why you should blog, and I still believe the reasons stand, this year I’ll just make my own twist and talk about IDEs. Yes, its a shameless sorry attempt at a joke.

“My IDEs of March is PHPStorm ” — @rdohms

This year I decided that NetBeans was just too heavy and when it started getting lost in my Symfony projects I decided it was time to shop around again. I asked a few people what their choice IDE was and then got into testing them. I wanted a full fledged IDE, I still use TextMate on the side for quick editing and for some HTML stuff, but I wanted the full deal: auto complete, debugging, profiling … .

A huge group of people suggested PHPStorm, which is a paid IDE and that had turned me off the first time I saw it. This time I decided to go deeper and try it out, after all my IDE had gone completely bananas, so i gave it a full work day which i ended up spending more time tweaking then coding. I tweaked a bit of colors, settings and such and by the second day it actually felt very comfortable to work with, and most important faster and lighter then my previous IDEs.

I had a few problems, sure, they were fixed in the next release, I decided to try out the Early Access version and was blown away. Day after day it felt more comfortable. A few tweaks to shortcuts, and I started looking at other features. And then, i fell in love. To sum up a few nice things:

  • Inspections: a series of inspections that can validate, code, phpDoc and little things like unused vars. The nice twist is it can generate a search-result like report, letting you go fix stuff file by file.
  • PHPUnit coverage plugin: this is cool, this plugin reads a clover.xml report and highlights the actual files in the IDE for code coverage. It also does that natively in the new version, but you must run tests inside the IDE.
  • Test folder highlight: you can tag test folders and test files have a slight color in the tabs, actually handy.
  • Support got {@inheritDoc}

Those are a few topics, but it really feels nice, has not freaked out on me yet, cleans up memory use pretty well and is just fast and responsive. The company behind it is awesome as well, they are willing to give free licenses to OpenSource developers, which is a plus in my book.

So, take this March the 15th and make it your IDEs of March day, and try out a new IDE.

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