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PHP Tools for Visual Studio

Looking for PhP tools for visual studios? Featuring a rich set of data tools, icons, and all-new support for Bootstrap 4 components, the new PhpStorm release can help you design your front-end code more accurately and with fewer routine checks from the IDE.

However this article features a host of tools ready to be harnessed by you and has worked fine for developers like you.

NuSphere PhpED

PhpED is a proprietary integrating PHP development tool offered by NuSphere. This PHP IDE comprises an advanced PHP editor, Profiler, PHP debugger, database client, and code insight. This utility provides developers with several tools and tweaks that will make the whole web development process less cumbersome. With the help of the commercial PHP accelerator, PhpExpress, PhpEd speeds up the application development process. This IDE is an ideal option to develop complex websites and web applications. It supports JavaScript, HTML, and CSS3 and offers massive support for PHP 7.1. Its refactoring capabilities empower developers to improve their code. PhpED allows developers to work through the most popular PHP frameworks like Laravel, Zend, and Yii.

PhpED features:

  • Accelerate PHP apps with PhpExpress.
  • Support for composite file extensions.
  • Parallel Debugging.
  • Full integration with phpUnit.
  • Refactoring of PHP code.

PhpED Specialties:

  • Languages supported: PHP, HTML, XML, CSS, Perl, Python, and JavaScript.
  • Platforms supported: Windows, Web, Mac, Linux, iPad.


This tool comes with rich features that support multiple languages. NetBeans was initially used for Java development, but the current version of this tool is lightweight, faster and supportive for PHP development services. It includes extensions to support other programming languages like C, C++, and HTML5. It supports the development of large-scale web apps and languages, such as Japanese, Russian, English, Brazilian Portuguese, and simplified Chinese. This open-source PHP development tool can work with almost all popular PHP frameworks, including Zend, Symfony 2, CakePHP, FuelPHP, Smarty and WordPress. NetBeans PHP IDE offers various features specific to developing web applications with recent versions of PHP.

NetBeans features:

  • Code Formatting and folding.
  • Smart code completion.
  • Getter Setter generation.
  • Try/catch code completion.
  • Syntax Highlighter.

NetBeans Specialties:

  • Languages supported: PHP, JavaScript, C, C++, and HTML5.
  • Platforms supported: Windows, MacOS, Linux, and Solaris.


Lightweight, extremely fast and smooth, PHPStorm is a standard choice for PHP development tools. This PHP IDE works well with PHP frameworks like Zend Framework, Symfony, Yii, Laravel, and CakePHP and with popular Content Management Systems (CMS) like Drupal, Magento, and WordPress. This IDE provides live editing support for major frontend technologies, such as CSS, HTML5, and JavaScript, in addition to code refactoring, unit testing, and debugging. It also empowers developers to integrate with databases, version control systems, remote deployment, composer, command line tools, and rest client.

PHPStorm Features:

  • Code completion.
  • Code re-arranger.
  • Zero Configuration Debugging.
  • Native ZenCoding support.
  • Supports extension with plenty of useful plugins like VimEditor.

PHPStorm Specialties:

  • Languages supported: PHP, JavaScript, Visual Basic, C, C++, and C#.
  • Platforms supported: Microsoft Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X.

Zend Studio

Most web developers opt for Zend Studio because of its optimal speed. Writing and debugging code in Zend Studio doesn’t demand any extra effort and time from developers. While supporting PHP 7, it debugs PHP scripts by integrating X-ray, Xdebug, and Zend Debugger. This comprehensive PHP IDE comes with an exciting set of features and powered to deploy applications on various servers, including servers in the cloud. Developers can extend Zend Studio via Eclipse plugins.

Zend Studio Features:

  • Indexing and searching PHP Code.
  • Faster Performance in the validation.
  • Zend Framework & Zend_Tool Integration.
  • Docker Support.
  • Support for Eclipse Plugin.

Zend Studio Specialties:

  • Languages supported: PHP, JavaScript, Visual Basic, C, C++, and C#.
  • Platforms supported: Microsoft Windows, Linux, and MacOS.

Cloud 9

Cloud9, an open-source cloud IDE provides a development environment for hundreds of programming languages (PHP, C, C++, JavaScript, Python to name a few). Developers can start coding immediately with pre-configured environments and build web applications with features like browser compatibility testing and live preview. They can collaborate with their colleagues using collaborative coding features. Cloud 9 offers a flawless experience for creating serverless apps, enabling you to define resources, execute serverless apps, and debug at the remote. You can share your development environment with your peers, and it enables you to pair program as well as track real-time inputs. Cloud 9 ensures the effortless building of serverless application, allowing you to code in your browser.

Cloud9 Features:

  • Real-time language Analysis.
  • Tabbed file Management.
  • Integrated Debugger.
  • Built-in image editor.
  • Code reformatting.

Cloud9 Specialties:

  • Languages supported: PHP, JavaScript, C, C++, and HTML5.
  • Platforms supported: Windows, Mac OS, Linux, and Solaris.

Aptana Studio

Aptana Studio is an open source PHP development tool used in integration with various server-side and client-side web technologies. PHP, Python, CSS3, Ruby on Rails, Ruby and HTML5 are some of these technologies. It supports debuggers and command line interface to make it easier for PHP app development. It allows PHP programmers to build and test web applications in one environment. It comes with SFTP, FTP, and IDE customization. This powerful web development engine leverages the flexibility of Eclipse and comprises details about the range of support for each element in the leading web browsers. Aptana Studio is a high-performance PHP IDE and includes a wide range of attractive features to increase your productivity.

Aptana Studio features:

  • Set breakpoints, control execution, inspect variables.
  • Supports latest HTML5 specifications.
  • Collaboration with peers via merge, pull and push actions.
  • IDE Customization.
  • Git Integration and Built-in terminal.

Aptana Specialties:

  • Languages supported: PHP, JavaScript, Ajax, HTML and Ruby on Rails.
  • Platforms supported: Windows, Linux, Mac OS X and Plugin for Eclipse.


CodeLobster IDE from Codelobster software firm is the most popular one among the PHP development tools when considering its community. It supports most of the PHP frameworks like Symfony, Laravel, CodeIgniter, CakePHP, Magento, Joomla, and Drupal. CodeLobster IDE streamlines. There is no need to remember the names of arguments, functions, attributes, and tags — it has implemented all these with autocomplete features for HTML, JavaScript, PHP, and CSS. With its internal PHP debugger, you can validate your code locally. In addition, this PHP tool automatically detects settings of current servers and configures related files to make you use the free debugger. It also supports major CMS like Drupal, WordPress, Magento, and Joomla.

CodeLobster Feature

  • Syntax highlighting.
  • SQL manager.
  • Code validator.
  • Autocompleting of keywords, DOM elements, and their properties.
  • Function Parameters Display.

CodeLobster Specialties:

  • Languages supported: PHP, JavaScript, HTML and CSS.
  • Platforms supported: Windows, Fedora, Linux, Ubuntu, Debian, Mac OS, and Mint.

Sublime Text

Sublime Text is one of the leading test editors for PHP development. However, it isn’t quite an IDE; with the installation of certain plugins and packages, you can make it a suitable editor for developing PHP applications. This cross-platform source code editor natively supports several programming and markup languages. It is highly customizable, with a custom UI toolkit. 

Sublime Text Features

  • Split editing.
  • Instant Project Switch.
  • Better command palette.
  • Distraction free mode.
  • Plugin API.

Sublime Text Specialties:

  • Languages supported: All popular languages.
  • Platforms supported: Windows, Mac OS, and Linux.


PHPDebugbar is a PHP debugger that can run with any project and display data from a broad range of web apps. This PHP development tool includes two parts: mainDebugBar object and data collectors and the render. A StandardDebugBar includes a pre-configured built-in set of collectors.

Along with PHP, you can also catch JavaScript and HTML. In addition, PHPDebugbar can inspect CSS elements and monitor networks. By offering more features that developers expect, it becomes a quite impressive open source solution. It can be the best option for the profiling of data from any web application. It allows you to create your own collection for easy integration.

PHPDebugbar Feature

  • Monitor network traffic.
  • Handles AJAX requests.
  • Log & debug directly to Debugbar.
  • Fast & easy to use interface.
  • Preview config& application config.

PHPDebugbar Specialties:        

  • Languages supported: PHP, Ruby, .Net and Java.
  • PHP versions supported: PHP 5.5 and above.


When you digitally search about the best PHP development tools, most of your search results will have Eclipse in their list. A complete development tool, it ranks in the list of top PHP tools. With the liberty to select from a broad range of plugins, it makes it easier to develop and simplify PHP code. It also aids you to customize and extend the IDE to address the needs of the project. This PHP IDE can support both GUI and non-GUI applications. This cross-platform PHP editor is ideal for large-scale PHP projects.

Eclipse Feature

  • Syntax highlighting.
  • Content assist.
  • Code templates.
  • Formatting of code.
  • Code navigation.

Eclipse Specialties:

  • Languages supported: ABAP, Ada, C, C++, Haskell, COBOL, D, JavaScript, Fortran, Java, Julia, Perl, Lua, NATURAL, PHP, Prolog, Ruby, Python, R, Lasso, Rust, Scala, Groovy, Scheme, Clojure, and Erlang.
  • Platforms supported: Windows, Mac OS, Linux, and Solaris.

Each tool listed here is fully packed with outstanding features and capabilities that allow you to create PHP websites quickly and easily. These PHP development tools aren’t the only ones available in the market. You can find much more paid and free PHP tools. 

Nusphere PHPEd

The built in DBG debugger provides:

1. Ability to debug PHP console or Web applications

2. Ability to debug in embedded browser or one in a regular browser window

3. Ability to profile code in terms of performance, memory consumption, the time SQL queries take to execute

4. Support for secure debug connections to the servers

5. Conditional breakpoints, starting the debugger on errors and exceptions, ability to change current execution line, etc..

Additional features include:

1. Embedded SSH Client

2. Built in phpUnit support

3. phpUnit support integrated with debugger for remote debugging


1. Komodo is based on Mozilla, like Firefox, and so it is not based in a Java editor

2. Has a Regex tool, which allows you to write regular expressions easily and see how it matches as well as provides various shortcuts to make writing regular expressions easier.

3. Has built-in code collaboration, letting you work on code with your colleagues simultaneously

4. Has a code profiling tool.

5. Has a HTTP inspector which lets you inspect HTTP traffic from the IDE to the Web sites

6. You can quickly test code by selecting a code section and hitting the “Run Code in-Line” button.

7. You can easily find documentation on common PHP functions by selecting them and invoking the documentation tool.

8. The user interface was designed to be simple and straight forward. It provides a lot of useful functionality despite it does not show too many buttons on the window.

9. It provides a field called “Go to Anything” that provides quick access to any feature.

Zend Studio

1. Can debug using either Xdebug and Zend Debugger

2. It can debug Web applications, CLI applications and supports PHPUnit tests

3. Debug sessions can be triggered from Z-Ray, browser toolbars or a special URL.

4. It automatically downloads the source code being debugged from the server if not available in the IDE

5. The profiler provides detailed reports.

6. It can perform static code analysis using a rich set of rules for finding issues in your code as you type it. It has a special set of rules to help migrating your existing code to PHP 7.

7. It can be used for mobile development. It has integration with Apigility for easy developing of REST services, as well with Cordova for cross-platform mobile application development.

8. It has Zend Server integration for deployment and application monitoring.

PHP IDE Tutorials in this site

Codelobster Tutorial

Codelobster PHP Tutorial for Rapid Building of Framework Based Applications

PHPEd Tutorials

Fast Debugging of PHP Code Using PHPEd Part1: Finding Bugs in Code Running on a Web Server

Fast Debugging of PHP Code Using PHPEd Part 2: Debugging Symfony Applications

Fast Debugging of PHP Code Using PHPEd Part 3: Remote Debugging and Remote Projects

PHP Tools for Visual Studio Tutorials

Using Microsoft Visual Studio as PHP IDE with the PHP Tools extension: Part 1 PHP Editing Support

Using Microsoft Visual Studio as PHP IDE with the PHP Tools extension: Part 2 Developing a CRUD application with a noSQL database

Using Microsoft Visual Studio as PHP IDE with the PHP Tools extension: Part 3 Debugging

Best Free PHP IDE: Where to find these PHP IDE Free Downloads?

Some commercial IDEs have free versions. Others have trial versions that you can use for free during a given period.

Here follow the pages with free download versions of each PHP IDE:

Codelobster (limited feature set)

Eclipse PDT (Open Source)

Komodo IDE (21 day trial)

Netbeans IDE (Open Source)

Atom Nuclide (Open Source) Install Nuclide from Atom

PHPEd (14 day trial)

PHPStorm (30 day trial)

PHP Tools for Visual Studio (30 day trial)

Visual Studio Code (Open Source)

Zend Studio (30 day trial)

Note: for PHP Tools for Visual Studio you need a working version of Visual Studio. There are also free versions of Visual Studio Community Edition. Here are free download versions of each edition:

Microsoft Visual Studio 2017 (Release Candidate all versions)

Microsoft Visual Studio 2015 (community edition)

Microsoft Visual Studio 2013 (community edition)


Nowadays developers are more interested to use visual studio for the development of their websites. Visuals studio is very popular for web development tool. Everyone can use visual studio easily no matter you are newbie or expert of programming, but some extra tools are needed for php development of complete project.

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