Yesterday while browsing the Internet I came across www.netbeans.org. Now, I already have netbeans installed as I use it for JAVA development, however I never realised there was an IDE for PHP! So there I was waiting for the 200mb download to finish, so I could replace my old NetBeans with the newer 6.5 version and things got even better. NetBeans can communicate with xdebug! I’ve played with xdebug before, but I could never get along with it, there was so much setting up you had to do, so many little things to change that could effect the end result – it just didn’t seem practical, so I kept to my own debugging methods. NetBeans, however changed this! Their website directed me to a local web server that has MySQL and PHP5 preinstalled (I do work on a Mac so I’ve both those installed anyway, but getting them setup is a pain in the backside) called xampp. After the download had finished I read the documentation which told me to add 4 lines to my PHP.ini (Spotlight found that one for me!) and I was off. Next was to install xdebug. Again I downloaded the source, placed it in the xampp PHP folder, phpized it and then compiled it to run along side PHP5. Easy as pie! No sooner had I restarted xampp NetBeans picked up on the change and enabled the debug button.

Below is a screen shot of NetBeans IDE helping me with remembering was methods are available to me in the Db class – neat, huh? It even lists the comments I have made above the method for easy understanding.

Netbeans IDE In Action

Netbeans IDE In Action

This tool is fantastic! Close to 5 years I have been developing in PHP and not once have I come close to using anything as good as NetBeans. The interface is clean and concise. It’s fast with no lag when you need to see the method list *cough* Visual Studio *cough*.  And it has a debugger! Need I say anymore?! It’s a perfect tool for anyone who uses PHP, what ever their level, I am going to suggest NetBeans to all of my friends and hopefully you will too!