TechTip: A Freeware IDE for PHP Development

Development Tools
  • Smaller Small Medium Big Bigger
  • Default Helvetica Segoe Georgia Times

If you're developing in PHP and want that development to take place within an IDE, CodeLobster offers a no-cost solution.


Code development, particularly for creation of websites, often calls for the use of PHP, HTML, CSS, or JavaScript for best results. CodeLobster PHP Edition is a portable IDE that embodies a code editor and numerous other utilities for such projects and is available in a freeware and two licensed shareware versions.


All three versions of CodeLobster PHP Edition help developers streamline and simplify coding processes by providing such features as a PHP debugger, code highlighting with user-selected colors, and a Firebug-style HTML/CSS inspector that lets developers correlate selected elements of a page with a designated code and style. PHP Edition also provides auto-completion and code-collapsing features for PHP, HTML, JavaScript, and CSS (including HTML5 and CSS3). For PHP, the IDE recognizes the structure of each project and displays a complete list of methods in the proper places.


In addition, all three IDE versions feature context help for all supported languages and a portability option that lets developers use the editor without a preliminary installation. As for national language support, PHP Edition is flexible enough to enable project coding in English, French, German, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.


CodeLobster PHP Edition's freeware version includes all of the features already mentioned, as well as an HTML toolbar, tag auto-completion, browser-based code previewing, a file explorer, bookmarking, and other standard code editing functions.


Licensed Versions Add More Features

CodeLobster offers a Lite Edition, shareware that must be licensed for a fee. It adds support for FTP and SFTP, an SQL manager that helps with necessary database functions, support for selected version-control systems, a code validator, code snippets, automatic code formatting, a split-window comparison feature for code blocks, support for Syntactically Awesome Stylesheets (SASS) and the LESS stylesheet language, and compatibility with the Node.js JavaScript library.


CodeLobster's Professional Version adds context and dynamic help files, control-key navigation through produced code, class views of code elements, and an HTML tooltip that previews images and their sizes. Also available is support for Zen coding, Google's editor and abbreviation-engine plug-in for rapid coding and editing for HTML, XML, XSL, and other structured code formats, which lets users expand expressions into HTML code. PHP Edition also supports Emmet, a text-editor plug-in that boosts HTML and CSS workflow from Github Social Coding. Finally, this version includes plug-ins for content-management systems such as Drupal and Joomla, the WordPress blogging engine, the Smarty and Twig template engines, and PHP frameworks such as CakePHP, CodeIgniter, Laravel, Symfony, and Yii. Also included is support for the JavaScript libraries JQuery and AngularJS.


Both licensed editions include free lifetime updates, and users can upgrade from the freeware version to a licensed version without reloading any software.


All three versions run under Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7 and 8.


If you find yourself doing more and more work in the languages supported by any of CodeLobster's PHP Edition versions, before you make a decision to go with a licensed IDE to support those projects, consider trying PHP Edition for free instead. For more information, please visit