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A while back I read this article on the Aptana IDE which provides a freeaptana-logo.jpg programming environment for web development / PHP.

Aptana promises a great deal for web developers, but is very much work in progress and as of a couple of months ago was missing some basic features like block indentation. That said, there have been a couple more releases since then which have probably addressed some of these issues.

The main gripe I have with Apatana is that it is slower than other applications (it uses Java) which gets on my nerves a little.

The advantage of it using Java is that it is a cross platform IDE meaning you can use it in Windows, Linux, OSX.

Overall its a very good application, and getting better. It is a very good all in one application providing support for pretty much everything you could want to do with a web application, even support for iPhone development!

But I still prefer faster light weight coding environments, so when usinglogo.png Linux I much use Screem which is both fast and feature-full.

More importantly has pretty syntax highlighting!

I love using Screem, but unfortunately it is only available for Linux.

Vim is an advanced text editor that emulates Vi (used on Unix Linux). Vim has a lot of advanced features and is highlyvim_header1.gif configurable. One of the main advantages I find with Vim is that, even when using on Windows it maintains the carriage return characters used on Linux. This is important if you subsequently view files on Linux using Vi as a lot of junk characters will be inserted by other windows editors, making a mess of your code. Another advantage of Vim is that it is available on pretty well every operating system including the Amiga and OS2!

Notepad++ is another free editor, but this time only available for Windows. There are instructions for running notepad++ under Wine on Ubuntu, but there are lots of other editors native to Linux that would be a better proposition.

Under Windows however Notepad++ is a must have! It supports a myriadnppanimatedlogo.gif of languages, is very feature-full and very fast. It provides a very clean interface and is a pleasure to use.


The Notepad++ site is worth a visit just to have a look at their theme… they have some kind of reptile thing going on with some odd sliding navigation like this for the language options:




All of these programs do their job well and are completely free to use so take your pick ;-)


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    Comment by Mutiny Design

    My original PHP editor was Adobe GoLive. Some people may laugh just because it is a commercial editor – you have to use open source to be cool – but GoLive is actually a very good, customisable editor. The only problem I had with it is that there was no tab and you would loose pages under amyriad of HTML tempates and javascript.

    Likewise, I find the Java editors to be a bit bulky, but have been using a very lightweight editor called jEdit for several months now.

    Zend is pretty good, but is again Java.

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    Comment by SiteLogic

    Hi Mutiny,

    I dont think you have to use OS to be cool, I am not a Bill hater or anything… it is simply a cost issue.

    I would never spend hundreds on Dreamweaver for example, althougth I think it is a very good app…. Most people (myself included) give themselves two options…. OS or the Torrentz…. and cracks from the torrentz can deliver some rather unpleasant payloades :evil:

    Comment by Mutiny Design

    The tale of impoverished web developers. There really are too many people involved in web development whoes ability is limited to botching out Joomla – and they probably do better than most who actually give a :twisted:

    For virusess and other undesirables, I have found the best medicine is Nod32. Not had any viruses since I’ve had it, only a keylogger that was installed by a lunatic fiend.

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    Comment by SiteLogic

    Haha things arent that bad, but I am employed so things are a little different for me regards ROI and tax :wink:

    That said I recently changed jobs and have not asked for any software (at work). If I wanted commerctial apps I could have them but I don’t really see the point….

    I think the OS webapps are good, the reason I wanted to move into PHP (from Java / JSP) was so that I could work with some of those apps.

    Customers have to be careful who they take on though…. lot of ‘UK’ companies just hive work straight out to India or Eastern Europe and have no clue what they are getting back.

    Regards Joomla, a while back I was looking at a companies portfolio where they had built a lot of sites using it. They had re-templated / stripped out all reference to Joomla to try and make it look bespoke… but forgot the favicon. This lead me to wonder how many browsers they had tested with, as IE6 did not display the icon. If they had tested with FF they would have seen it for sure…. bet that was an off shored template….

    Comment by Mutiny Design

    Hahah. That is funny about Joomla – it is something I often see. In fact there is a local company that has set up a site specificly to market ‘their content management system’, but again you look at the address bar and see the Joomla icon. At the risk of starting a war, here it is:


    As soon as you see the screenshot you know its Joomla.

    There is also another local comapny who uses Joomla and bargs about it as their own. I don’t see what their is to brag about though, all CMSs lack scalability. If you are doing content management, you need a content management framework (CMF), which allows you to quickly code into existance advanced solutions.

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    Comment by SiteLogic

    Did you base your framework on an existing MVC framework or start from scratch??

    Comment by Mutiny Design

    If I am to be honest the framework is in very early stages, but is totaly from scratch. Currently it only has:

    *A core, which makes PHP more object orientated, adding better functionality for implementation and extension of classes
    *A very fast ‘templating’ engine using XSLT which is much faster than regular expression based engines
    *A file and image upload handler intergrating PHPthumb.
    *Various SEO tools, such as analytics gathering, checking where you rank in search engines and another script I use to find places you can get links from competitors sites
    *Events, just like Javascript events, so once a function has done something it will do something else. For example I may have a class that sends emails to people and I might want to add functionality to update a database record. Rather than adding a new method to the class I can just say when the class has finished running update the database.

    There are also some parts that have become redundant because they are not good enough – the learning process. Namely:

    *A class that creatred the functionality of update, insert, delete from bd and email out from one PHP array.
    *Something similar to PDO.

    So, currently we don’t have a CMF, although we are carfully planning it.

    Do you have any good references that would give some good ideas and directions? The biggest influence in the work is actually a JavaScript framework, Mootools. All the PHP frameworks I looked at didn’t seem to cut the mustard.

    Comment by SiteLogic

    Ref your first point are you mean you are mofifying PHP itself?

    Are you planning on using any existing repositories, such as some of the Pear packages, or do you consider those out moded too?

    Afraid I dont really have any suggestions, Ive never done anything like this… your some way ahead of me!

    One element you do not mention is security, i.e. filters, separation / identification / control of input etc.

    It would be nice for example to be able to set at an application level whether you wish to consider the database to be internal to the application, or external (and therefore filtered), I think there are a few things you could play with in that area…

    Basic stuff compared to the things you have already described!!

    Comment by SiteLogic

    Yup thats what I was talking about, sometimes you see a little orange flower :roll:

    I think its fine to make money from OS apps as long as you are honest about what you are doing / charging for.

    Those guys are implying it is their own system which is pretty low… also they say they their sites are SEO’d, but last time I looked Joomla did not support permalinks and its SEO was not that good…. issues which they have failed to address on their own site….

    I like the “pull me” tab on your site, Ive not seen that done before… how many people do you have working with you??

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    Comment by Stock Scams

    I just use a good text editor to edit my code. I can’t imagine using one of these new-fangled IDE enviorments.

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    Comment by SiteLogic

    Haha showing your age there Steve :mrgreen:

    Notepad++ and Vim are basically text editors…

    You want to see a fangled IDE play with Visual Studio its way ahead of any others Ive used…. its amazing what you can do with drag and drop these days!! The only problem is understanding what its gone off and done!!

    Comment by Mutiny Design

    Yeh, most ‘development companies’ are pretty terrible for lying about their SEO skills. Today I was directed to a local development company’s site who was advertising their SEO service as META tag optimisation and submission to engines such as HotBOT.

    What are Joomlas SEO downfalls? I would have thought that a project such as that would have sorted that kind of stuff out by now.

    Thank you for your compliment. I have to be kept away from small projects, because I can’t help but make scaleable HTML. It is still something I am perfecting the method for. I have a newer version of it up at:
    The tool doesn’t work at the moment as i’ve just registered that domain and need to re-config.

    The company has six people and use freelance design for overflow.

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    Comment by SiteLogic

    I dont think Joomla is that bad for SEO, but I believe there are quite a lot of tweaks you can make to improve it.

    The only one I can remember for sure is permalinks which were not present last time I looked at Joomla… but I think there are a number of improvements you can make to the control of titles, tags etc.

    Comment by Florchakh

    One day chief of my friend received an offer of buying sponsored links, it was a phone call made by some young chick. After 5 minutes they discovered she does really cool offer of sponsored stuff that rock as f :twisted: ck (triple-priced AdWords from second hand haha). So now there’s no great shake for me, even SEO version of Joomla. Damn it would be much faster to write completely new CMS but I guess they don’t even know what it is all about :mrgreen:

    By the way – Screem is really great but it seems this app works at a snails gallop on my desktop so I’m still a die-hard fan of standard notepad (currently gedit) :cool:

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    Comment by SiteLogic

    You completely lost me with the first part of that comment… I have no idea what you are on about :mrgreen:

    Surprised you say that about Screem… I thought it was quite fast… I dont have a particularly quick pc either…

    Comment by Florchakh

    Damn. :mrgreen:

    Selling AdWords. From the second hand. This means she was selling “sponsored links” but there were no sponsored links, only AdWords… So she was a trickster, got it? Con-artist, scammer, fourflusher? No idea how to explain it better Jeremy :mrgreen:

    Comment by SiteLogic

    Ok I get it now… :roll:

    Guess some people will try anything!!

    Comment by Acopic Web Design

    OK. To get back to the IDE topic :wink: – I now use Zend, but I agree that Java isn’t the best language for creating an IDE. I think most Java IDEs are based on the Eclipse platform?

    I used to use Notepad+ but I found it was a bit of a pain when using UTF8 as it often opened documents using an incorrect encoding. It was a while ago though so maybe thats sorted now.

    With regards to Joomla and things – I’m not a big fan of any open-source CMS. I’ve yet to find one that ‘makes sense to me’ and produces quality XHTML to the level I require. They always seem so (overly) complicated (even for a developer with 10 years under my belt).

    As a company we use our own CMS built from the ground up – utilising PHP5 to create an object orientated framework that can be extended simply by extending the ‘core’ classes. Our own site http://www.acopic.co.uk is one example of it. It generates clean XHTML and utilises a clean URL stucture throughout. It means we can create content-managed sites in hours instead of days/weeks. It took about 3 months to build but our productivity has soared since.

    Anyway – I’m sticking with Zend until a really kick-ass IDE comes along.

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    Comment by SiteLogic

    Yeah Aptana is based on Eclipse, I never had that problem with notepad.

    I havent used Zend, PHPEdit is the one I am using now, very featureful and cheaper than Zend.


    We’ve used a few – Eclipse has a PHP plug-in (as Acopic says, Java-based and pretty slow – not ideal), which is free to download – and you can use Crimson Editor too, although Crimson is a little basic – a glorified text-editor, really!

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