gPHPEdit – the PHP editor I choose

My search for a suitable PHP editor ended up with gPHPEdit.

The search began when jEdit, once an excellent editor I always used, often halted my work. When typing using jEdit, my keyboard was often locked up, so I couldn’t type anything in jEdit although all other system worked normally. This Sun forum let me know that this issue seemed to be something that many people had been waiting to be fixed. (It seemed to be a bug in Java Swing in Linux. Yes, I was using Linux – Fedora 6).

Browsing a bit, I found a list of PHP editors available, some of which had already been familiar to me.

First I tried Eclipse because I wanted to try the most recent version i.e. 3.3.1 (The last time I used Eclipse was about a year ago). I used PDT plugin to PHP-enable the Eclipse. The look and feel and the functionalities looked good. However, when I wanted to edit a PHP file whose extension was .module (I developed a Drupal file), the Eclipse didn’t syntax-highlighted the code although I had followed all instructions to PHP-syntax-highlight non .php files in Eclipse. Moreover, I felt quite heavy launching the Eclipse, which also consumed much of memory and CPU of my 512MB-RAM 1GHz-PIII laptop. I thought it was too big for only a PHP editor.

Then I tried KDevelop, which was actually already in my Fedora 6. It launched much quicker than Eclipse. However, I found the PHP codes were not easy to read, because some guides in the editor looked too distracting to me, and I could not remove the guides to make the codes clearer to read.

Next, I tried Bluefish, which had been in my Fedora 6. The launch was fast, it didn’t consume much memory and CPU of the laptop, and it seemed to be well established. But there were some things that I was not happy with. First, the directories shown nested at the left sidebar was too wide, so that to finally show the directory I was working with, the sidebar had to be widened much. Second, the functions in the list at the sidebar were not those in my PHP code, but function references as those in I needed to have a list of functions in my code, in which clicking a function in that list could bring me straight to that in the code. Well, I thought, if I got no other alternative I would go with Bluefish anyway.

Feeling a bit exhausted but was still curious, I walked through the list again.

Then I tried gPHPEdit. I picked it because the name gave me a sense that it was a Gnome version of phpEdit, a well known but non-free one. Although gPHPEdit’s last update, i.e. version 0.9.91, was in 2006, I downloaded it anyway. I installed it by compiling the source into my /usr/local directory. The compilation was quick, it seemed lightweight.

I entered “module” into “Recognized PHP file extensions” form. I set “fxd” sized 10 as the font of the editor.

Then guess what? Yes, gPHPEdit gave me what I needed. It provided a clear view of my codes, recognized different PHP file extensions, was quick to launch, didn’t consume much memory and CPU of the old laptop and provided a browser for all functions in my code (which could be turned on/off) in which clicking a function there would direct me straight to that in the code. Moreover, the user interface was just clear and simple to me. All those were just what I needed. In addition, actually it was able to syntax-highlight PHP, CSS, HTML, XML, Python, C/C++, Perl and SQL.

I stopped walking through the list, because all in all gPHPEdit satisfied my needs. It made my PHP coding more enjoyable and so I tended to be more productive compromising my time for searching a suitable PHP editor 🙂 at least for now. To the developers: “Big thanks”.