Getting comfy with PhpStorm – one of the best IDEs so far!

Beside the frequently asked question “Which Framework is best?” this one is the top in category – “Which one is the best IDE”. People asks this question in morning, afternoon and evening. Every-time, everywhere. I am a big time fan of Netbeans and I left it a few days after it’s release of 6.7. It was so good, heavenly, yummy but I had to leave this old pal because of it’s extreme hunger to the available resources. There was only one thing that time which could compete with the resource hungry netbeans – that is FireFox. But hey, FF is not your IDE after all. Anyway, back to my point – I left Netbeans and started using PhpStorm. I have a company license and I am glad that I made this move. I am not going to preach PhpStorm in rest of this article, but what I will do is sharing my experience with PhpStorm 🙂

1. PhpStorm is fast: Not like a Bugatti Veyron beside your old 4 wheelers, but it’s fast. I was told that 64 bit version is even faster but that was not true in my macbook pro running snow leopard. rather I found that 64 bit version is slightly sluggish and more resource extensive. Whatever, when you make a jump from Netbeans to PhpStorm, you will really feel the speed of everything and if you keep an eye over your system memory, you will surely say “wow!”.

2. The best Javascript and X/HTML Intellisense: I am a javascript developer for almost 8 years by now. I have tried eclipse, some standalone components which could also run as eclipse plugin and Aptana. Aptana was good – I was using aptana mostly because of it’s auto-completion capability of javascript. But I really HATE eclipse. Why? – I will write a separate blog post on that. Now Netbeans has some capability of intellisense for Javascript but when it comes to jQuery (remember, I left NB at it’s 6.7th release) it was frustrating. PhpStorm really is beautiful for this. Just amazing! The format, the auto suggestion, the code completion everything works just perfect. This is one of the main reason why I am sticking with PhpStorm

3. Version Controlling: Ya ya I know, NB got that too. I am not a Netbeans hater, rather I love it. I love how amazingly it changed my world of coding by charging me nothing – zip, zilch nada! So it is merely a selling point for making a move from NB to PhpStorm – but the thing is, support for different VCS in PhpStorm is as good as like the other parts of it. It has fantastic support for Git and Svn, beautiful tools for merging and fixing the conflicts, refactoring and what not. I was feeling at home and to be honest, migrating from NB to PhpStorm didnt feel like I came to the land of aliens just for this. Without integrated support for VCS it would be impossible for me to stay with PhpStorm.

4. Less hungry: Though Steve Jobs said to stay hungry and foolish but please note that he said it only for humans, not to IDEs :P, lol! Ok, so PhpStorm is less hungry to CPU and Memory than NB. I just wish Firefox will be a performer like this one day 🙂 (different story again, sorry I am distracted with too many things at once)

5. Less Costly and a Friendly company: Phpstorm is a developer friendly company. I am using the licensed copy of Zend Studio since 2005 (I got that for free because of being a ZCE and because of winnign some competitions over time) but heck! Zend Studio is costly. That’s fine, Zend Studio is the PHP company and knows inside out of making a PHP IDE. But trust me, PhpStorm is not an alien thing at all – you will not feel “vim” with this excellent tool. PhpStorm can help you code PHP, HTML, CSS and JS with maximum comfort. Yet, it costs much less than other similar IDEs with similar feature set. And what did I mean by “Developer Friendly”? PhpStorm team listens to you. Most of the time you mail them for a discount, they give you some sort of discount without expecting anything from you (I love you, PhpStorm team for this). Even Elite in the class Zend Studio gives some discount some time. But try the same with Elite of the Elites like Coda. They wont take their time to say “Go, fuck yourself!” – I hate Coda, seriously! So rude!

Anyway – that’s a long story. I am very happy with PhpStorm and has recently upgraded my IDE from 2.x to 3.x with their one year full update support (even with major versions :D, Zend you should really think about that with Zend Studio) and living happily ever after. Love you PhpStorm, I really do!.

Get your 30 days trial version of PhpStorm from and feel a whole different level of satisfaction 🙂 And surely, dont forget to check NetBeans too, that’s a beautiful piece of tool.


  1. just have gone through the phpstorm pages… lots of good points as you have mentioned… but just not the thing I want.. I have to buy it…. still have to stick with aptana or eclipse or even my fav notepad++

    1. Read the full post – I had mentioned that you can send the PhpStorm team a mail asking for discounted price or even a free open source license. They are good guys over there and will surely reply your mail with something 🙂

  2. hehehe, after switching to phpstorm, i almost keep it open all the time. never feel the need to turn it off 🙂 btw, i am also using license copy. and soon going to get another license for tania. it just awesome 🙂

    and its auto complete simple awesome.

    btw, i am also zend studio + zend server license owner, but almost never use that 😛

    1. PhpStorm is designed to cover all needs of PHP deeploevr including full JavaScript, CSS and HTML support.On the other hand WebStorm is for hardcore JavaScript deeploevrs. It includes features PHP deeploevr normally doesn’t need like Node.JS or JSUnit. However corresponding plugins can be installed into PhpStorm for free.

  3. it has been so worth the money for me. i kept trying to get the open-source versions of any software but this little IDE performs and very well. the only other IDE which comes close is the paid version of Komodo.

  4. Hi.

    Did you try Go to Resource or Go to Symbol ? From Code menu?? And type (even short forms – ctr instead of controller) with wildcards. This is my most used feature.

    Best Regards

  5. You pretty much covered everything. But few things you missed, You can get jetbrains product totally free (for lifetime) if you develop anything open source . They also gives away classroom licenses which are totally cool.

    Their support is pretty amazing. I’m using their flagship Ruby IDE (RubyMine ~ which is the best ruby IDE, hands down) . Every time I mail them something, they replies almost instantly.

    Jetbrains color schemes are interchangeable , check out stellar scheme from here : .It rocks.

    Everything just works on jetbrains product.

  6. Nice review. They should offer you a discount-code for your readers to use. It saves them and us a lot of mails 😉

    Oh and your PhpStorm-links (yes, all of them) are missing the essential “http://”

  7. I used to use Nusphere PHPed. I moved to phpstorm 2 months ago. The auto suggestion feature, subversion support and automatic save feature are cool :-).

    The thing I’m missing is code beautifier. There was 2 different tools for code beautifier in Nusphere PhpEd. Somehow I’m feeling there must be something like this in phpstorm.
    Do you know if there is something like this?

  8. excellent writting. i m using netbeans and phped for last 3/4 years. let me try phpstrom. if it works as u say, thn it wil be a good move. thanks

  9. i liked zend studio before it became eclipse based.

    i have a strong dislike for eclipse (can do everything, but nothing right).

    i came to phpstorm since i’ve been using IDEA (their java IDE) for quite a while, so when they published phpstorm it was logical for me to try it out, in my opinion the best IDE for php available atm.
    It has less problems with huge amounts of files than any compareable ide, and integrates with most stuff fine.

    one thing though, you wrote:
    “you will not feel “vim” with this excellent tool. ” which kinda makes it sound like vim is a bad tool.


    just because you (obviously) don’t like vim, you shouldn’t use one of the best commandline editors as a bad example.

    vim is an excellent tool too, if you are used to it you can work a lot faster than with most other editors and if you want the vim experience, there is a plugin for phpstorm that allows you to get vim style editor.

    (personally i don’t do use the vim plugin, but i felt that your comment was out of line).

    1. Thanks Pete for pointing that out. Al I wanted to mean is the “impression” when a newcomer starts using vim for the first time. I have been using vim for last one year and I just LOVE this. Though I was a fan of nano once upon a time, but I am glad that I had moved to vim by the course of time. 🙂

  10. Have to say I love PHPStorm its so freaking great.
    I’m coming from a Visual Studio background and entering the PHP world and finding that all IDEs were utter crap in comparison was a little disheartening.
    Used JetBrains ReSharper with VS and those two together was my version of developer heaven.
    I’ve used Notepad++ and Eclipse PDT then I tried out PHPStorm (trying 3.0 as I write) I will never ever go back to using Eclipse or Notepad++ for developing projects (n++ gets used for quick PHP experiments though).

    The two features I use the most is PHPUnit testing and refactoring. I love refactoring and that was the thing I missed the most when switching to PHP development.

    If PHPStorm got an add-on that added support for git-flow my heaven would be complete.

  11. Great article! I’ve found it while looking for a PhpStorm discount code. I’m using the trail right now, but it has expired today. I’ve done what you told in your article: Mail the guys at PhpStorm.

    This is what I’ve got back:
    Hello Franck,

    Thank you for your request. I understand your point, but unfortunately there is no such discount now. Generally those special promotions are offered just before major releases. You would need to go for the standard license.

    If you have any questions, feel free to contact me.

    Best regards.

    George Semotan

    JetBrains customer support

    I’m really dissapointed, because I’ve missed the 50% off deal a month ago by just 2 days. Back to Netbeans again.

    1. Hi, Franck.
      We make discounts from time to time to attract more customers, but cannot sell oor product for discounted prices all the time.
      But I have also a good news for you.
      Since Feb 1 we will open Early Access Program for PhpStorm 3.5. EAP Version is free and comes with 30 days license. But we publish new EAP (until 3.5) each two or less weeks. So you can use it at least till PhpStorm 3.5.

  12. I really like RubyMine for Rails+Git, but have had to stay with netbeans for PHP+SVN work because I couldn’t work out how to get the parent directories in the project tree to show that they had un-checked-in files/folders within them (e.g. in netbeans a small blue cylinder appears in the bottom right of the parent directory icon).

    Might sound silly but have got so used to being able to see where my modifications are I can’t live without it.

    I assume it is something I am doing wrong though so I will give it another go and drop them an email if I can’t work it out (now I know they will actually respond – the beauty of a paid-for product!)

  13. As an Avid Zend Technologies user, And LAMP based developer my toolset usually consist of Zend Studio + Zend Server + Webmin on a Debian based Distro (Ubuntu in this case). After getting tired of the crashes with Zend Studio (.state file anyone?) And the endless Indexing time. I decided to change my IDE to PHPstorm and have found it by far a plesant experience. The integration with Zend Debugger is AMAZING! Tracing code has never been better. I almost regret purchasing my Zend Studio 9 license. The themeable editor makes code clean and easy to read in my perference, the autocomplete is amazing. And most importantly when I am generating classes from my ORM the fact that I dont have to refresh my folder/re-index for the IDE to pick up the auto-complete was a winner for me. I am lacking some of the Zend Deployment tools I appreciated but nothing wrong with going back to SVN/GIT project exporting and diffing if the production site is not in the repo.

    In Short I find PHP Storm complete. Is it as polished and shined look/feel wise? No, the navigation and buttons tend to look a little old school but is that what is important to us?

    Price factor is amazing! As a Single developer you can buy a license that includes updates for a year for $99! In my opinion if you are a PHP Developer who is actually using an IDE instead of a ripped off version of Dreamweaver (which is NOT a PHP IDE NOR a professional tool for PHP Developers). Then you should be making enough to afford $99 (exceptions include people who are not in the programming industry to make money, in school, or hobbyist) If you are a hobbyist then you are probably not looking for a full blown IDE imo.. You will be more apt to be in the learning stages and will be fine with notepad++, Gedit, Netbeans, Eclipse PDT, VI, etc.. etc..

    Price point is affordable, WAY affordable concidering for the .NET developers out there, the VS starts at $299 and the VS pro starts at $499.

    I dont know anything else to say about this debate aside that for a Complete IDE with every feature one could NEED (not necessarly WANT) for PHP development I give PHPstorm a 10 out of 10 rating.

  14. I just renewed my PhpStorm license the first time, so half way through my second year of PhpStorm. I have been a die hard fan of PhpED for years (since pretty much the first version, nearly a decade) and tried all IDEs out there, nothing stuck. Until I stumbled on PhpStorm.

    Initially I went back to PhpED a lot because of their awesome debugger (DBG). This is not something that PhpStorm can fix, but XDebug lacked a bunch of the awesome features DBG had.

    Since then I did a couple of feature requests (eg property viewing of base classes etc) for XDebug and Derick was so nice to implement them.

    So yeah, PhpStorm is the best editor I ever encountered and I still discover features on a daily bases 🙂 Ow and it’s true, what “disappointed” said about the looks, it won’t win beauty contests. But since when do we choose an IDE based on that? A pretty GUI usually means there’s a designer behind it, and what do they know about development? 😛

  15. If only phpStorm supported multi projects in the same window. Instead it works like MS Excel where you need to open each project in a new window which isn’t very useful.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *