We have reviewed many Free IDE earlier, but CodeLobster is undoubtedly the best Free IDE for PHP that I have come across. Most of the other IDE provide just editing features coupled with code highlighting. However, CodeLobster provides much more than that.
On top of that, CodeLobster also comes with built-in debugging capabilities for PHP. You can step into your functions, set watches, see stack, and lot more. Love it!
If you like CodeLobster already, move over to the end to download it. Otherwise, keep reading; I think this is going to be a long article!
I have worked a lot in Visual Studio (for .Net), and absolutely love it. I believe that is the only true IDE around, as it comes packed with features, and you can do everything related to your application development within Visual Studio itself.
When I was reading about CodeLobster, I was getting a feeling as if I am reading about Visual Studio. It is so feature packed, and still free. CodeLobster is like getting Visual Studio for your PHP development.
Let me delve more into the features of this free PHP IDE:
PHP Code Editing
CodeLobster provides many features that make it extremely easy to do your PHP coding. Some of those features are:
Code Highlighting: Syntax of your PHP code is highlighted so that you can visually comprehend the code better. This is a really important feature, as all serious programmers would know.
Pair Highlighting: On the same lines, CodeLobster also provides Pair Highlighting feature. If you move your cursor to one bracket or brace, CodeLobster highlights the corresponding closing brace.
Intelligent Auto Complete: This is one of the most important feature of CodeLobster. It provides auto complete feature for PHP code that really speeds up coding speed. Also, the auto complete is intelligent, and intuitively shows pop-up options based on which function are you working with.
Some other PHP editing features include:
- Context sensitive help
- Code Collapsing
- Code Commenting.
One of the most important feature I find in CodeLobster is that it comes with built-in PHP Debugger. The debugging capabilities are quite comprehensive. I am quite surprised that such a fantastic PHP debugger is available for Free.
Here are some of the PHP Debugging capabilities of CodeLobster:
Add Breakpoints to PHP code: This feature allows you to place breakpoints all over your code. This lets you stop execution of code at that point, and then you can watch execution of code more closely from that point onwards.
See Variable Values on the Fly: CodeLobster lets you see variable values on the fly during code debugging process. Just place your moue over the variable whose value you want to check, and the value of that variable will come in a tooltip.
Watch Control: If you want to monitor values of some variables during execution process, you can place them in watch list, and CodeLobster will keep showing their values as the code execution proceeds.
All these debugging features make CodeLobster a really good free PHP debugger.
On the same lines as PHP editing, CodeLobster also builds in very good HTML editing features. Some of the supported features are:
- HTML Code Highlighting
- HTML Pair highlighting
- Auto-Complete for HTML
- Context sensitive help
- HTML Code collapsing
.. and many more.
Apart from HTML, you can also edit your CSS files using CodeLobster. It supports similar editing features as it does for PHP and HTML, namely:
- CSS Code Highighting
- Highlight opening and closing braces in CSS
- Auto-complete for CSS
- Context Sensitive Help for CSS.
- Dynamic help
CodeLobster also provides a full set of features to write and edit SQL code as a part of your project. You can connect to any database, and navigate different database objects using built-in SQL Toolbar.
Auto-Complete for SQL: CodeLobster provides interesting auto-complete feature for SQL too. It will automatically show table name, keywords, and even column names, depending on where you are in the query.
You can further enhance the functionality of CodeLobster by using plugins for Drupal, WordPress, Joomla etc. The plugins are not free, but worth the money if you regularly code for these platforms.
All in all, CodeLobster is one of the Best FREE IDE for PHP.