Eclipse PHP IDE

Via my MySQL news feed subscription, this post caught my eye. It seems that MySQL AB is joining the Eclipse foundation. However, my attention was quickly drawn to point made in passing reference – there is a formal proposal for an Eclipse PHP IDE Project!

My first thought was of the PHPEclipse extension to the Eclipse IDE, which I had been using for a while. As a brief summary, Eclipse is a powerful development environment – its focus is on Java (it’s written in Java, as well), but it was released under an open source license by IBM some time ago. Therefore, there have been many extensions written for it enabling support for other languages and extended its usability for several new purposes. PHPEclipse was one such extension that enabled, of course, PHP editing.

I don’t like to criticise open-source projects, especially those where I cannot or do not contribute, as well as anything that is free from cost to use, but like any other project with basically one developer working in his spare time, PHPEclipse has a hard time competing with more refined development environments such as Zend, which has much more time & money behind it.

At this pont, I am not sure whether or not the Eclipse PHP IDE Project is going to work with the existing PHPEclipse project or not, but the proposed schedule for the project is quite aggressive, with a potential pre-release as soon as April. See the creation review slides for yourself (PDF file).

What I find most interesting after the fact is that Zend itself is listed as one of the primary contributors to this project. I am not sure how to read this, exactly, as the Zend Studio, one of their primary projects, is not open source. Does this mean Zend is willing to sacrifice sales of their primary product to extend PHP’s coverage & acceptance in the professional world? Or does it mean that the Eclipse PHP IDE is not going to offer the same amount of features as the existing, and arguably predominant, Zend Studio?

The extension itself will be open source, so at the very least, it will be available for the coding gearheads of the world to extend if necessary, so I’m still happy! Eclipse & PHP – together at last with the blessings of Eclipse, Zend, & MySQL. Too good to be true? I’ll stay optimistic.

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