Monday, August 13, 2007

Install gPHPEdit in Ubuntu, a good PHP editor review

gPHPEdit is not the most complete editor that you will ever use and has a simple and unclutered interface which makes writing code easy. Its based on the Scintilla editor and takes it a step further than SciTE and uses Gnome 2. What it lacks in features it makes up with pure speed. It’s opened at exactly the last place you left it before you can blink your eye. The main features are:
  1. Syntax highlighting for all functions up to PHP 4.3
  2. Code assistance (function, parameter assistance PHP 4.3 only)
  3. Syntax checking
  4. Tabbed viewing
  5. Support for HTML and CSS
syntax highlighting works but if you’re like me as you can tell from the site I like to work with a black background (otherwise after a while I have very sore eyes) and after changing all the setting there still remained some portions of the code with the default white background. On searching the site this bug has been fixed and will be included for the 1.0 release or can be downloaded via cvs. Another thing working with a black background when selecting text that is white you can’t read it anymore as there is no way to change the hight lighting color.

The PHP code assistance is great and just like the application is displayed very quickly and can be adjusted. The syntax checker is manual and has to be called using the menu or F9 this can be quite annoying and it does not check any functions or parameters within the file.

The search facilities are very basic in that only one file can be searched and the searching only highlights the first occurrence at the top of the file and you must continue through each occurance within the file. This can be quite tedious for large files with many partial matches.

If you’re working on a large project with multiple folders navigation can be quite tedious although on smaller projects where all files are in a small number of folders the handy list of classes with their functions can be displayed on the left of the screen for easy navigation but beware of files that have functions only as they will be listed so a folder containing numerous files of this type can be very difficult to navigate.

Overall, this editor is quick and easy to work with but without some more advanced features it feels a bit naked, the lack of automated indentation and auto syntax checking become more and more frustrating after long term use. Quick folder navigation would be an enormous improvement and these three feature would alone push this application onto the desktop of many more developers. Despite the lack of more advanced features it isn’t a tool I would quickly uninstall. If you’re an Eclipse user for example and you want to quickly open a couple of files to view and perform small edits this is where it excels. In the time that eclipse starts you can open edit and save and be doing something else. This application is reaching version 1.0 and is showing the some good signs that with some further development and added features would be a much more useful application.

Download gPHPedit source for Ubuntu here.

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