Thursday, 19 August 2010

PhpStorm - the best web development IDE out there

Back in my HP days I used to use a great plugin for Visual Studio called Resharper. It made a huge difference to my productivity - adding great code navigation tools (I could open a file, and jump to the function I wanted with just a couple of keypresses), code generation (Pop! There's another property with getters and setters. Pop! there's a try-catch-finally statement to wrap the 'dangerous' code I just wrote).
Since then loads of other IDEs (eclipse, netbeans) have added similar features to this, but none I've tried have been as smooth to use as Resharper was. For this reason I was quite excited when the company behind Resharper, JetBrains, launched PhpStorm and WebStorm. WebStorm is for Javascript, CSS, and HTML developers while PhpStorm includes everything in WebStorm but adds (predictably) PHP development.

Of the many, many cool features, here are some of my favourites:
  • Super-clever code highlighting for Javascript. Every IDE does syntax highlighting, but WebStorm lets you know not only that something is a variable, but if it's global, local, a parameter, or even an implicitly-defined one (please avoid these, readers!). Very cool - and very handy for tracking down errors too.

  • Code Navigation. You want to go to the function called 'doStuff' in the file called 'things.js'. You could use the mouse, scroll through your list of files, click the file, then scroll through to find the function you want... Or, you can press CMD-SHIFT-N, and type the first couple of characters of the filename, hit enter, then press CMD-7, and type the first couple of characters of the function name. Hit enter and you're done! With a bit of practice you'll be flying through your code. I'm a bit of a keyboard shortcut junkie - so this app is great!
I won't bore you with all the other cool things it does, but suffice to say I tried the demo, and liked it so much I bought copies for everyone in the company.

At the time of writing Jetbrains are doing a 'startup discount plan' where you get a 50% discount for new companies - this saved us a LOT of money so it's worth poking them if you take the plunge.

3 comments:

  1. I prefer to use Codelobster
    It has better support for popular frameworks.

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