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PHP is currently the most widely used programming language on the Web with over 5 million developers, responsible for 40% of existing web applications. The simplicity of PHP has led to more than 20 million domains written in PHP, with growth continuing. When compared with other languages for achieving the development of a web application, PHP has proven to have tremendous advantage with its simplicity, in terms of the amount of work required and the potential complexity of its code.
The need for an editor or a development environment to create web applications with a short "time to market" is obvious, and different possibilities are available today for the PHP developer community. The possibilities can be categorized into three main groups in which each group introduces a different set of features, addresses different needs, and subsequently is tagged with a different pricing.
The first group, generally known as Simple Editors, includes the most basic feature set, such as syntax highlighting as part of the editor. Some of these editors come with the different operating systems, and some are the evolution of those (for example, NotePad and NotePad++). This group of editors usually doesn't include management tools like debugging or code analyzing tools, and is good for quick pinpoint development rather than large and complex web applications. Most of these editors are free of charge.
Basic Integrated Development Environments (IDEs) are the second group; they include an additional layer of features. These features can include basic debugging, project management, and several analysis tools. Some of these editors arefree of charge, and sometimes they are even open source products.
The last group, known as Professional IDEs, includes all-in-one solution products. These development environments generally include development, management, analyzing, debugging, and deployment tools. The complete feature set in these products provides the capability to support full product development life cycles, starting from the development of the code until the deployment to the production server. A Professional IDE is a commercial product and can include an installation wizard and product support as well.
Over the years we can see a marked increase in the number of developers moving to professional IDEs from the basic editors. The need for team support, deployment tools, and quick development has convinced many companies to invest their money in the purchase of development tools with a quick return of both investment and productivity.
The gap between simple and professional IDEs can also enable some companies to provide a product free as a simple, initial solution. There may also be the option to pay for upgrades and thus be entitled to then use a professional IDE, but this is not always the case.
Zend Studio for Eclipse is based on the Eclipse technology in general and the PHP Development Tools (PDT) project in particular. The decision to develop based on the Eclipse technology was made because there are a few million developers who use Eclipse or Eclipse-based products. Many of those developers are looking at PHP as a way of developing rich Internet applications, and they simply wanted PHP support in Eclipse.
Zend has been working on Zend Studio for Eclipse for quite some time parallel to the development of the PDT Eclipse project. The product has been released a few times to a close group of beta testers to ensure the product stability and user interface usability and to gather feedback and bugs.
This book's authors, Peter MacIntyre and Ian Morse, who have vast experience in the PHP world and have been developing with Zend Studio for Eclipse in the past year, provide a great understanding of Zend Studio for Eclipse and its functionality.
The book provides explanations and instructions on how to use the best professional PHP IDE available today! In this book you also learn to develop web applications in the easiest and most productive way because this book not only introduces you to the many wonders of Zend Studio for Eclipse, but also guides you in developing a small web Customer Relationship Management (CRM) application.
Product Manager, Development Tools
Zend Technologies, Inc., the PHP Company
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