PHP is one of the most popular programming languages and we need a code editor to write high-quality PHP code. Many PHP editors are available in the market, but you need to select one that is powerful and capable of meeting your needs effectively. While some PHP editors are paid, many others are available as open-source and thus are free to use.
In this article, we will discuss PHP and its features, the importance of PHP editors, and list down some of the best PHP editors available in the market. So, without further ado, let’s get started.
Key Features of PHP
PHP has gained extensive popularity and is preferred by many developers to create powerful web applications. PHP has come forward as an open-source server-side scripting language mainly used for creating static and dynamic websites and web applications.
Below are some of the key features of PHP:
- Simple and easy to use: PHP is a logical and well-organized programming language known for its simplicity and easy code syntax. If you have basic programming knowledge, you can learn PHP quickly.
- Open-source: PHP is open-source and available for free, and you can use it to develop commercial applications without any restrictions.
- Cross-platform compatibility: PHP is supported by all the major operating systems, namely Windows, macOS, and Linux. PHP is platform-independent and can be easily integrated with any database and technology.
- Active community support: Due to an active community backing up PHP, it is consistently upgraded so that it can offer better performance. Also, there are several online forums where you can connect with skilled PHP developers to discuss your issues and get viable solutions.
- Fast performance: PHP ensures that the websites and applications always have a fast loading time. Its lightweight code helps to boost the performance of websites as well as web apps.
Why Do You Need a PHP Code Editor?
For writing code using any programming language, you need at least a basic text editor. If we talk about Windows, the most basic editor available is Notepad. However, it is not good enough for processing the code efficiently. Also, Notepad does not have text alignment and other features that make it easy to write code and make it more readable. That is why developers prefer using powerful and dedicated editors for every programming language.
A modern code editor will highlight syntax, define the code structure, and differentiate keywords, variables, and parameters in the same code. They use several colors and fonts to highlight different sections of the code.
If you do not use an appropriate editor, your code may become less readable, and the chances of having errors in your code increase significantly. To write and edit PHP files, developers require an editor that supports PHP and highlights the code for better visibility. Modern PHP editors come with various tools and features that will help you write and edit code with minimal errors. The editor will automatically highlight the lines having a syntax error and thus will help you save time in finding them.
Some PHP editors come with advanced features like debugging, version control, and code refactoring. Most PHP editors are not hard-bound for writing PHP codes but also support several other programming languages.
Top 10 Best PHP Editors
Developed by Microsoft, Visual Studio Code is one of the most popular code editors and is available for free. Over time, this editor has gained much popularity and has become the first choice of most developers. It comes with default PHP support, and it also provides PHP extensions that are available for download from the VS Code marketplace. These extensions will help you enhance the functionality of VS Code to make it more suitable for developing complex PHP projects.
- Available for Windows, Linux, and macOS.
- It offers advanced features like syntax highlighting, autocomplete, and code navigation.
- Supports Git and GitHub integration.
- Built-in Emmet support.
- Allows linting, debugging, and code refactoring.
Atom is considered to be the hackable editor of the 21st century. It is said to be hackable as developers can customize every aspect of the editor interface like UI, theme, formatting, and language-specific settings as per their preferences. Atom used to be one of GitHub’s internal tools. However, it is now an open-source doe editor managed by GitHub itself. This editor allows you to download packages to add new functionalities.
- It comes with a customizable UI with more than 3000 themes.
- It offers you features like syntax highlighting and smart auto code completion.
- It has an easy-to-access command palette.
- It comes with real-time code collaboration.
Brackets is an open-source code editor developed and maintained by Adobe. It has its focus primarily on frontend development like other products of Adobe. However, Brackets also supports backend development with several programming languages including PHP. It has become popular due to its inline editing feature for CSS. This editor is highly suitable for working with PHP projects.
- Comes with both vertical and horizontal split views.
- It also offers custom themes via the Bracket extension registry.
- It also shows a real-time connection with the web browser for the live preview facility.
- It is supported by Windows, Linux, and macOS.
4. GNU Emacs
GNU Emacs has been in the market since 1985 and is considered to be a highly stable and well-established editor. It was specially developed for the GNU operating system. It allows developers to customize Emacs’s design and functionality using the Emacs Lisp scripting language. This editor shows support for languages like PHP, HTML, and CSS. It comes with a steep learning curve and is recommended for PHP development.
- It comes with modes like content-aware.
- It has full Unicode support.
- You can customize the editor using both UI and the command line.
- It is supported by various operating systems like Windows, Linux, macOS, FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD, and Solaris.
Vim is also known as the improved version of the Vi code editor that was basically created for Unix systems. It has additional features to the basic Vi code editor like comparing and merging files, syntax highlighting, search history, and spell checking. Vim comes with a text user interface that can be managed using various commands and key mapping. This editor is customizable and extensible.
- This editor comes with six basic modes, like normal, visual, select, insert, command line, and ex (exit) modes.
- It is suitable for beginners.
- It has support for Unicode and various programming languages.
- It provides various editing features like advanced search and auto code completion.
- It comes with a built-in manual for better understanding.
- It has an extensive plugin system.
This is an advanced source code editor that supports various programming languages including PHP. This editor can be run on any operating system (Linux, Windows, macOS, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, Solaris). It also comes with Gnome integration that makes it a suitable PHP editor for your Linux distribution. It was specially created for developers and is equipped with advanced features like Emmet.
- It is lightweight and loads quite fast.
- It comes with a multiple document interface (allows you to open more than 1000 documents at a time).
- It offers you editing in full screen and split view.
- This editor is extensible via various plugins.
- It offers features like auto code completion and inline reference information.
This editor is a cross-platform source code editor initially written for JVM (Java Virtual Machine), making it runnable on any OS with a Java Runtime Environment. This editor can be set up fast and seamlessly. jEdit comes with syntax highlighting mode available for more than 200 programming languages.
- It comes with unlimited undo/redo functionality.
- You can open several editor windows simultaneously.
- You can apply multiple rectangular selections.
- It comes with the support for Unicode and several character encodings.
- You can enhance its functionality using various plugins.
This editor is the most commonly used editor, which is supported by the Windows operating system. It is considered to be an advanced version of the simple Notepad application. You will get various features in addition to the basic Notepad editor. It is handy and very easy to understand, making it beneficial for developers on Windows machines.
With this editor, you will get a syntax highlighting feature for more than 80 programming languages. It offers you various features like split view, multiple document interface, and much more. It is available for free.
- It offers you several advanced features such as code folding, intelligent code, auto-completion, and syntax checking.
- It comes with support for the different character sets.
- You can extend more functionalities to this editor via various plugins.
- It is an open-source tool that is available for free for 32-bit and 64-bit OS.
9. RJ TextEd
The RJ in the name of this text editor stands for Rickard Johansson who single-handedly handles this project. This editor is well suited for web development, especially for Windows OS. this editor allows the developers to change every aspect of the UI using customizable themes. It offers additional functionalities like a multiple document interface, color-picker, PHP and HTML validation, repair tool, and many more. You can even preview the browser for HTML files. It is available for free but not open-source. You can even make it extensible using various available plugins. Due to its functionality, this tool can be efficiently used as a PHP text editor.
- This editor comes with wizards for HTML and CSS.
- You will get the browser preview for HTML files.
- It offers you a theme manager with pre-designed themes.
- It also supports FTP/SFTP clients with syncing.
- It offers many functionalities like side-by-side file comparison, advanced sorting, auto-completion, and more.
This editor is an advanced source code editor introduced for macOS and can integrate easily with the underlying Unix shell. It allows you to write customized actions in any programming language that works seamlessly with the UNIX standards stream.
This editor comes with an extensible bundle system that makes it easily customizable. This bundle contains snippets, macros, workflows, templates, and many more. The bundle editor can easily manage this bundle editor. The current version of TextMate has become open source and can be downloaded for free. All these features make this text editor suitable for PHP code writing and editing efficiently.
- It offers you various customized themes.
- You can check the live HTML/Markdown preview.
- It comes with easy-to-manage code snippets and scoped settings.
- You can keep track of the clipboard history.
- You will get a bundle editor to manage the TextMate bundle.
There is no doubt about how popular the PHP programming language is. But to write and edit PHP codes seamlessly, we need editors offering great functionality to make the coding experience easier.
The choice of the editor may vary from developer to developer as per their comfort. Thus choosing the right editor makes it easy to code, edit, and understand the code from another developer. You will find several editors that provide support for the PHP language. We have mentioned some of the commonly used editors in this article. Before you start coding, you need to understand your project requirement and select the right editor.
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