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What program do you use for coding PHP? Is it the fastest IDE out there? Or the one with the most number of features? How do you find out anyway? By comparing it with a proven application, of course.
We are of the opinion that Blumentals Rapid PHP is the best program for coding PHP, and here’s our review to show why.
There are 6 parts in the interface of Rapid PHP Editor. There is a menu bar on the top of the program’s window. This houses several options, which you can use for your coding work including the file menu, which is the most important one, as it allows you to create, edit, and save your projects. You can save your work locally, or save it to an FTP/SFTP/FTPS server, send it via email, or even print a copy of your project.
And just like WeBuilder, you can use Rapid PHP Editor, for starting a new project and editing existing ones, and save them in one of the following formats: PHP, CSS, HTM, HTML, ASP, PL, JS, VBS, XML and WML.
You can set Internet Explorer to be the source viewer for viewing the code, but we recommend using a modern browser, or PHP Editor itself. You can use Rapid PHP to open any file format. For starters, you will be given an option to set the program, as the default file handler for CSS, JS, LESS, PHP, SCSS, TPL, TWIG and XML formats.
The large portion on the center of the screen, which looks like Notepad, is the workspace. This is the area where you will be typing your code, viewing the code, etc. If you don’t like the layout of Rapid PHP Editor, you can use the Layout button (below the Project menu) in the toolbar to change the interface to one of the following styles:
All but kitchen sink
File Explorer Only
Selecting a layout, will change the elements of the interface, such as disabling the side panels, or toolbars, etc. You can also change the color theme of the toolbars by selecting one of the 6 built-in options, in Rapid PHP Editor. The View menu can be used for greater control over the layout customization, and you can also create your own layout styles.
The program allows you to select the PHP.exe from the installation folder, which you wish to use for checking the syntax of your PHP scripts. You can also use your local web server for checking the same.
The Edit menu in the program has some nifty tools such as an extended clipboard, copy with highlighting, selection tools for tag, content, tag block, switching the character case for regular text or HTML tag from lower to upper case, or vice versa. You can also convert special chars to entities, or the other way.
The workspace, has a special feature called syntax highlighting, which makes it very easy to read the code, and check for errors. There are some very useful features for inputting the code too, such as the Smart Code, Auto Complete, and Smart Cut/Smart Copy and Paste.
Smart Code system is basically a combination of a snippet library and a template system. You can use thr templates to create your own codes and these codes will be stored in the library. You can call these codes, i.e., quickly paste them, by using a keyboard shortcut.
Auto Complete saves your precious time by automatically completing quotes and brackets. Smart cut and Smart copy and paste is even more unique. Let’s say you want to copy a line of code, you use the normal copy and paste shortcuts, right? These work in Rapid PHP Editor of course, but in addition to this, you can use the special shortcuts Ctrl Shift C or X, and Ctrl Shift V, for smart copy or cut and paste. How does this work? It is simple, if you use the shortcut combo, while no text has been highlighted, the program will copy the word next to where the cursor is placed. Likewise it pastes the content, and replaces the word next to the cursor.
You can quickly search for words, lines, symbols using the search menu, and also place and use bookmarks for quick navigation. Rapid PHP Editor can be used with Unicode UTF-8, UTF-8 (without BOM) and UTF-16. The program has a fail-safe, in the form of a crash recovery system, which will auto save your work, so you don’t have to start from scratch.
The syntax checker for PHP works in realtime. SVN and Git integration with TortoiseSVN and TortoiseGit, has a cool HTML Color Picker, Preview via web browser or server, and a useful macro recorder. There are advanced tools such as line numbering, gutter, margin, word wrap, block select etc
We noticed no slowdowns or lags when using the software, despite that the fact that it is incredibly feature rich. It also supports the Smarty PHP template engine and many other popular PHP frameworks, XDebug PHP debugger, and a useful spell checker.
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