PHP Designer 2005
A newer version of PHP Designer 2005 is available.
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Full user review
"Great software with a few quirks."
PHP Designer 2005 enters into a market where there is plenty of competition. Yes, PHP Designer 2005 is free but it will be compared as an IDE against other IDEs in the field. I define an editor as a basic syntax highlighting editor with a few other features while an IDE attempts to fill out everything you need within the development process. Yes, it does bill itself as a PHP editor; the feature set puts it above the class of a general editor and more in the range of a true IDE. While there are no features that set it apart from competitors, it is a solid application that will suit the needs of most developers despite a few quirks.
The user interface is flexible and adaptable to suit your needs. PHP Designer 2005 comes complete with 18 skins and all of the customizability you could expect. I tend to dive straight for adjusting fonts and a whole host of tweaks. Other nice features include double-click insertion of library functions, a user defined snippet vault, a project manager, debugging features and a localhost preview. Developers who have tried many of the other PHP IDEs will be comfortable using PHP Designer 2005.
On the downside comes a few bugs that render the program lacking in some areas. The localhost preview is buggy and does not work as of this writing. Another bug in the user defined templates only produces blank pages. As I said before, there is nothing that sets this editor/IDE out above the rest of the pack and that is a shame. When I am looking for an IDE, I appreciate the little things such as built-in FTP management and CVS management which PHP Designer does not have. I have high expectations of future releases as the core software appears to be stable and well thought-out. While it is free and will suit the needs of the general developer, power developers may want to wait until a less-buggy release hits the download pages. If you are a beginner or a novice, you will find many of the feature helpful and the interface very intuitive with almost no learning curve.