Get More Efficient on Eclipse PDT, Page 2
6. PDT Tip: Integrate External Tools
Development utilities such as PHPDoc and PHPUnit are incredibly useful, but at this time PDT plugins aren't readily available. You can however execute these utilities by configuring them as external tools. To do so, click on the
External Tools icon located in the main toolbar and select the
External Tools Configurations… menu item. There you will be able to create a new external tool reference, defining a tool name, location, and passing along any arguments. Once defined, you'll be able to execute the tool by again clicking on the
External Tools icon and choosing the tool from the list.
7. PDT Tool: Install the Zend Debugger Plugin
If you installed PDT as an Eclipse plugin rather than installing the Eclipse PDT All In One package, you'll probably also want to install the Zend Debugger. Install the Zend Debugger client by adding the
http://downloads.zend.com/pdt update site to your list of Eclipse update sites (Help > Install New Software…). Install the Zend Debugger and restart PDT.
PHP Debug Perspective. Via this perspective, you'll be able to set breakpoints, trace variables, and view debug output.
8. PDT Trick: Add Git Integration
I'm a big fan of Git. It's the most intuitive and least intrusive of the many version control systems I've used over the years. If you're a Git user, you can manage your project repositories from directly within the PDT interface using the EGit plugin. Via this interface you can commit files, add log messages, create branches, add remotes, and do everything else you've grown accustomed to accomplishing via the command-line client. Although still officially a beta release, I've found EGit to be very stable and in just a few short weeks it has become an indispensable part of my daily workflow.
9. PDT Tool: Manage MySQL Databases with QuantumDB
Although I generally prefer to manage my MySQL databases either via the command-line client or phpMyAdmin, it's possible to peruse and manipulate your databases via the QuantumDB plugin. Once installed, you'll be able to review schemas, add and manipulate records, and execute SQL statements--all without having to leave the PDT environment.
10. PDT Tip: Download the Eclipse Cheat Sheet
While all of the tips, tricks and tools described so far are indeed useful, much of the productivity gained as a result of using an IDE such as Eclipse is going to come by way of your ability to quickly navigate the environment. Consider printing off one of the many available cheat sheets that highlight popular keyboard shortcuts, such as DZone's Getting Started with Eclipse.
About the Author
Jason Gilmore--Contributing Editor, PHP--is the founder of EasyPHPWebsites.com, and author of the popular book, "Easy PHP Websites with the Zend Framework". Jason is a cofounder and speaker chair of CodeMash, a nonprofit organization tasked with hosting an annual namesake developer's conference, and was a member of the 2008 MySQL Conference speaker selection board.
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