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An Integrated Development Environment (IDE) is a software app that provides services to programmers that are useful for software development. It is normally made of a source code editor, automation tools, and a debugger. Some IDEs have the necessary compiler (a computer program that translates the code written in one programming language into another language), an interpreter (a computer program that directly follows orders that are written in a programming language, without requiring them previously being translated), or both. For some, you have to get them separately.

For example, NetBeans has the necessary compiler, whilst SharpDevelop does not. The language being used to write the source code is PHP, and in this article, we will present some of the best free PHP Editors that will help you in faster PHP development.

1. Atom

Atom landing page

Atom is a PHP editor that is compatible with OS X, Windows, and Linux as well. It has an integrated tool that automatically and flexibly helps you write the source code. This PHP editor is the bomb because you can split Atom into multiple panes to compare and edit across files. It also has an integrated package manager that is going to help you search, install, or create your own, using Atom only.

Atom has a file system browser that can open multiple files in one window, and you can type, replace, and preview the text while typing in a file or across all of your projects. It is also fully customizable; Atom is a great PHP editor that you should definitely check out. All you have to do is click on the link and download it.

2. Apache NetBeans

Apache NetBeans homepage

Apache NetBeans is an IDE that will highlight the source code, consider its syntax and semantics, and easily rework it with its integrated tools. It has the necessary editors, wizards, and templates that are going to assist you in creating apps in a variety of programming languages. It is compatible with OS X, Windows, Linux, and BSD.

Any software that supports Java is compatible with NetBeans. To get NetBeans, click on the link and download the latest version from their website directly. You can download the older versions as well. However, the older versions are no longer supported.

3. Vim

Vim homepage

Vim is a very customizable PHP editor that is designed to work fast and with efficiency. It is included in most UNIX systems and with OS X as well. It has a multi-level undo tree that will really save time in trying to fix that one overlooked mistake and an extensive plugin system that will make your job easier. Vim is also very diverse, supporting hundreds of programming languages and file formats with a powerful search and replace feature.

Vim can integrate with a great number of tools as well, and it can be customized completely to your needs by integrating the tools you need for your work. If you want to give Vim ago, the link is there, and don’t let the website fool you.

4. Aptana

Aptana homepage

Aptana is the most powerful open-source IDE with over five million downloads. It was recently completely re-done and is now much faster, with new features, and fully customizable. It will assist in writing HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP, and it supports the latest HTML5 configurations. Aptana can set breakpoints, inspect various variables, and control their execution.

It has a built-in terminal that is easy to access, so you can execute system commands and language utilities such as gem, rake, and many more. Your development environment can be fully customized by stretching the core options with custom commands. Aptana will help you build web apps quickly and easily because of its powerful web development engine.

We suggest getting it while it is still free because there is a strong chance it won’t be free for long.

5. Bluefish

Bluefish homepage

Bluefish is a PHP editor made for programmers and web developers, with a lot of options regarding writing websites, programming codes, and scripts. It supports a whole variety of programming languages and markups. Some of the features help you a lot, like integrating programs such as Make, Weblint, Tidy, javac, or even programs like a mistake detector or a program for processing different texts. Many tools also come included, including tabs to spaces, join lines, lines to columns, strip whitespace, and so much more.

It also offers full-screen editing and allows you to work efficiently on multiple projects at once. Bluefish supports 17 different languages, so even if you do not speak English that well, one of the languages on the list is surely a language that you can understand. If not, Bluefish is planning to include even more languages for their next updates, so we are certain that even your native language will pop up at some point.

Bluefish is an editor that is definitely worth checking out, while it is still free because I kind of doubt that it is going to stay free forever, especially with the number of features that it offers and how user-friendly it is.

Wrapping Up

IDE software and PHP editors are usually not cheap, and to get good software or an editor, you will have to pay a lot of money. That is why we are proud to present software and editors like these that give the people a quality product but want nothing in return. Be sure to check them out, and see the full features list because the things written in this article have only scratched the surface in regards to what these IDEs and editors can do for you. Not to mention that all of them will probably stop being free at some point, so my advice to you is to hurry up and get them for free while you can.