Aptana, the Web IDE

Aptana IDE start page I’ve been doing a lot of work recently in the Aptana IDE (see screenshot on the left), taking the time out to give it a whirl because I needed a new IDE, I needed something that was platform-independent, and I needed something free. I’ve always liked their feature set, but since as a PHP IDE it was pretty poor (no code assist and all those sorts of nifty things) I wasn’t too convinced. But they’d started working on PHP code assist since last month, and I figured that was good enough lead time to get used to the IDE.

But PHP code assist for Aptana is finally here, as part of the official current milestone release. I must say I’m pretty pleased with it so far. I’ll admit I’ve never used a full-blown IDE specifically for PHP before, but for my purposes I don’t see anything shabby with this. Some things that I’m loving about Aptana are:

  • Syntax highlighting for HTML, CSS, JS, and PHP
  • Code assist for all four
  • I can see if a certain PHP function isn’t available in PHP4
  • Tabs automatically converted to spaces
  • Auto-indent can use spaces too
  • Text wrapping suggestion (I just need a suggestion, thankyouverymuch)

Here’s an example of how PHP code assist looks like in Aptana.

PHP Code Assist in Aptana

Yes, I haven’t tried out the AJAXy goodness that’s in Aptana yet, but I will get there in time as I continue to go deeper and get more and more comfortable with using JS and YUI. I admit that the fact that it’s rather slowwww is a bit of a downer, plus I’m missing the functionality to find a certain string in the whole project or folder (if the functionality’s there, anyone care to point it out to me?), but these aren’t very huge problems.

I’d certainly recommend Aptana if you’re looking into a good IDE and don’t mind a touch of slowness. Try out Aptana, watch a few screencasts, or share your interesting Aptana tips and tricks. :)