Options to write code

Since I’m on a change mood (from CakePHP to Laravel, to start writing tests for my code…) I also decided to reconsider the application I use to write code. Mainly, I wanted to decide whether to continue with a normal text editor or change to an IDE.

These were the options I considered (including my current option):

Text Editors

Sublime Text

It has been my choice (and of many people). It’s what a text editor should be. Lightweight and easy to use but at the same time with features that are almost able to compete with an IDE.

Atom

Atom, made by GitHub, is in hot pursuit of Sublime Text and is even quite possible that it will overcome it. It’s heavily inspired by Sublime Text and already rivals many features in it. But it’s still not as “polished” and, in terms of resources, is heavier (at least for now).

IDE’s

PhpStorm

Is for IDE’s what Sublime Text is for text editors. It’s more or less the default choice. Justifiably, I think. It seems that there is nothing that PhpStorm can’t do. Also seems to be the most customizable of the three I tried (Laracasts has a free course on PhpStorm that shows its full potential).

NetBeans

NetBeans was my choice during my university days. At the time, to program in Java. I don’t think much has changed since then, which is not necessarily a bad thing. The first thing that caught my attention were the code suggestions, for best practices and more readable code. For example, if we have to many nested blocks of code it suggests, as a good practice, to move that code to a new function.

Although, I noticed that it’s too strict with warnings and errors. There are even some situations where it shows an error in lines of code that have no problem, as it seems to me.

Eclipse

Eclipse turned out to be a revelation. I remember the days when it took about two days to start. This time, I installed it just to see how it was. To my surprise, perfectly normal launch time and memory usage within a fairly good level for an IDE. At first glance it seems quite comparable with the other two and that already shows what a great improvement has been made, compared to what it was.

Conclusion

Of course I like the simplicity and speed of a text editor but there is no denying that an IDE provides functionality beyond the reach of a text editor, which facilitate the writing of code and saves you a lot of time.

It’s a matter of what IDE to use. PhpStorm would be the obvious choice, is clearly the most evolved of the three I tried. But it is a paid app, and when you’re trying to start a startup via bootstrap, every Euro counts.

I’m still a little undecided between NetBeans and Eclipse. NetBeans seems to be more robust “out of the box” but Eclipse seems to be more extensible through plugins. At this point, I may be a bit more inclined to Eclipse (who knew?) but I think, just to be sure, that I will try to use each of them for an extended period of time (like 1 month) and then decide which I am most comfortable with.

Zé Cipriano
<p>Independent web developer (PHP, Laravel).</p>

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