If you are like me and have been programming for a bit, you probably have worked with several editors and IDEs. Over the years, I have tried a bunch of them - with varying degrees of successes. Some of them were just the right tool to get started, others were recommended by friends and developers along the way. Most of them were quickly outgrown by the projects I worked on at the time.
So I kept looking for alternatives.
In January 2012 I attended a meeting of BEPHPUG, the Berlin PHP user group. At that meeting, a few IDEs and editors (some of which I had worked with before) were demonstrated. Bastian Hoffmann gave a demonstration of PhpStorm, and I was amazed! Directly after the meeting I went home, installed it, and have been using it ever since. As advertised, it’s lightning fast and smart, and I can’t image I could be any happier or more productive with any other IDE!
Nonetheless, while PhpStorm already is the perfect development environment, there are plugins that make it even better. I have tried a few, and here’s a list of what I see as essential PhpStorm plugins:
- .env files support by Adel Fayzrakhmanov
- .ignore by Jakub Chrzanowski
- Apache config (.htaccess) support by Alexey Gopachenko, Maxim Kolmakov and Svetlana Zemlyanskaya
- BashSupport by Joachim Ansorg
- CamelCase by Johannes Pfeiffer
- CodeGlance by Adam Scarr
- EditorConfig by Kevin Bell
- Key Promoter X by Patrick Scheibe
- Lines Sorter by Sylvain Francois
- Makefile support by Victor Kropp
- Markdown Navigator by Vladimir Schneider
- NEON support by Jan Dolecek, David Matějka
- PHP Annotations by Daniel Espendiller
- PHP composer.json support by Piotr Śliwa
- PHPUnit Enhancement by Daniel Espendiller
- Php Inspections (EA Extended) by Vladimir Reznichenko, Ivan Scherbak and David Rodrigues
- Php Inspections (EA Ultimate) by Vladimir Reznichenko
- RegexpTester by Sergey Evdokimov
- String Manipulation by Vojtěch Krása
- Symfony Plugin by Daniel Espendiller
You can find more plugins from within the IDE or by browsing the JetBrains PHPStorm Plugin Repository.
If you haven’t been using PhpStorm before, I highly recommend giving it a try. If you are a student, you can even use PhpStorm or any JetBrains IDE free of charge. JetBrains also offer a free 30-day-trial, so you can find out if PHPStorm will work for you without any strings attached. If you need some more time, you can also participate in the PhpStorm Early Access Program, which allows you to use the early releases of upcoming versions in exchange for living with (and ideally reporting) an occasional bug or two.
Don’t waste any more time with mediocre editors or IDEs!