So I've spent most of today searching for a proper PHP IDE (Integrated Development Environment). My boss requested that I'd stop working in my text editor and start using a real environment.
Although my way has been working for me just fine, I guess an IDE is no overkill when being added to a huge existing project when you don't know your way around it. My "texteditor" had syntax highlighting, codefolding, partial-autocomplete (based on a dictionary and file history), character undo (so not grouped) and of course a certain behavior (smart home, etc).
So now that I have a little time on my hands, I figured I'd go and search for a new one. Well let's make this short by saying that I have failed. There seems to be NO
The biggest problem of them all was something I have taken for granted for a looong time. It's quite shocking to me to see how few IDE's have something called "code folding". This feature allows you to hide a block of code (like a function or a loop) usually based on brackets. Collapsing everything usually gives you a nice quick overview of a file. Visual Studio has it for as long as I can remember. Most other's as well. My texteditor had it! But no, this feature was absent in half the IDE's I've tested (including Eclipse...). It's also the main reason I'm not going with PHP Designer (that and the fact that it tries to check the file on each keystroke, which does not play nice with my SFTP networkdrive application, causing a lot of unneccessary bandwith). I was actually already setting that IDE up for usage when I discovered that. Zend and Eclipse fail for the same reason. Eclipse has a few more reasons but I won't bother you with them. Oh Eclipse DID allow you to code fold the HTML, but I could not get it for PHP.
I also needed a project explorer. One that just accepts a directory and processes it all. Shift-click to follow to declaration would be nice but a context menu is acceptable here. Komodo was rejected because it does not have a nice project explorer (not to my liking anyways).
Now there's two features I like that I didn't have before. One is something called dynamic syntax highlighting. This is probably unique to webdevelopment and will show the syntax highlighting depending on what type of source your cursor is in. So if in html, it will dimm all the other code and only highlight the current block. If PHP it will dimm all other, etc.
The other is a visual gimmick that shows you the indentation block by a line. PHP Expert has this (see image below) but also had a lousy project implementation.
So right now I'm down to two choices: PHPEdit and PhpED
PhpED has partial code folding. It will fold php, but nothing else. And it will only fold the PHP tags, not code block brackets. Why the hell not is beyond me, but that's how it is. It's code browser only shows PHP.
PHPEdit has no code folding at all and it's code browser also ignores anything non-php.
I don't care about actually debugging, S/FTP support (I have a tool to fix that) or speed (my computer can take a hit). I don't really need more than what I described either (why the hell would I want to click something to include . That's by far more work than typing it).
Installing and uninstalling all these trial versions has really screwed up my system as well :(
Ugh. End of rant.