When the Eclipse Foundation began its regular release cycle more than seven years ago, the focus then was all about Java. That has changed in recent years as the open source PHP language has become an increasingly popular part of the annual Eclipse release train, including this week’s Eclipse Helios release.
Among the 39 projects included in Eclipse Helios is the PDT (PHP Developer Tools) 2.2 release. The PHP Eclipse project was first announced back in 2005, with version 1.0 coming in 2007. With the PDT 2.2 release, the project has continued to evolve with new features as the project’s popularity has grown.
“PDT has consistently been one of the most popular projects at Eclipse,” Andi Gutmans, CEO of PDT project sponsor Zend, told InternetNews.com. “PDT has been immensely successful for us and we see a huge PHP community at Eclipse.”
Zend bases its commercial Zend Studio IDE
“We improved quality, we added functionality and we expect this to be the best PDT version yet,” Gutmans said. “We have our plans to leverage the technology in our next version of Zend Studio.”
Among the new features in PDT 2.2 is a template content assist feature, which is aimed at making it easier for developers to build PHP applications. Debugging also gets a boost with a new inspection capability intended to help evaluate PHP expressions. Search of PHP methods and types within a project has also been enhanced with an improved search capability.
Having PDT as part of the Eclipse ecosystem enables PHP developers to benefit from other Eclipse efforts like the Web Tools project, which provides tooling for Web development.
“Our customers are benefiting from the Eclipse ecosystem and community,” Gutmans said. “As a result we’ve also been able to partner with companies like Adobe who also participate in Eclipse.”
While Zend backs the PDT project as its PHP IDE, Gutmans also respects the NetBeans effort that is now backed by Oracle. NetBeans 6.9 was released last week including new enhanced support for PHP.
“It’s a very good thing for PHP to have companies like Oracle making large investments in PHP,” Gutmans. “While I don’t know what their intentions are with NetBeans in general, but they are investing in the PHP side.”
Overall Gutmans stressed that Zend will work and partner with other IDE vendors to make sure that the PHP development experience overall will continue to improve.