PHP Development Tools

This article will help you with a bunch of PHP development tools to significantly improve your programming workflow and put PHP development into overdrive.

Without a doubt, PHP is a rapid and quick scripting language that is ubiquitous with web development. Even WordPress uses the language in its core interface helping developers enhance the existing platform. Compared to other languages, it is easy to learn and is supported excellently by the development community.

On one side PHP helps developers create web applications quickly, but on the other side, there is no development environment associated with the language. Look at the development environment like Visual Studio from Microsoft. It comes with a plethora of features available from installation. It has features for coding, debugging, and deploying available to developers straight out of the box.

When you look online, you will find that there are a number of packages and supporting tools for PHP easily available But, they tend to be scattered and are available in separate stages. This sometimes can cause issues for developers who want to enhance their virtual toolkit. As we discussed earlier, PHP is fast and it is the most used scripting language in practice.

It has detailed documentation, a huge community, numerous ready-to-use scripts, and well-supported frameworks. On top of that, it is very easy to get started with this language. This is why it makes perfect sense to provide the huge community of PHP developers with an overview of useful PHP development tools and resources that can make their development process easier and more effective.

Here is the ultimate list of the best PHP development tools you will need. 

Following are some of the top 20 PHP development tools to develop a custom and robots web application development.


One of the most popular testing tools available today, Selenium Remote Control (RC) allows you to write automated Web application UI tests in any programming language against any HTTP website by putting to use any mainstream JavaScript-enabled browser. One can use it in conjunction with PHPUnit and create and run automated tests within a Web browser.


This is a neat and straightforward unit-testing platform for PHP applications. You can read through the easily available tutorial to get up and running with SimpleTest quickly; it will help you to create a new test case.


This is a live PHP debugger application for the Mac OS. You will get all the features you’d expect from a fully-featured debugger. It has features like the ability to step through your code and set breakpoints.


An open-source project that provides useful information about the PHP code which can be used for debugging. PHP_Debug can output processing times of your PHP and SQL, check the performance of particular code blocks, and get variable dumps in graphical form. This can be really helpful if you need a more visual output than the one given to you by print_r() or var_dump().


The tool enables developers to instantly develop web-enabled applications. These applications leverage connections to databases and report generation. The underlying software allows you to go from prototype to production in a matter of seconds. This tool is geared for a mid-sized company; better for a Laravel or Codeigniter development company to rapidly scale their applications.

Eclipse PDT

Eclipse started as an IDE but has become so much more than that today in terms of functionalities. It was created for developers working in Java code. The tool has now got extended to include other languages like PHP. Even though Eclipse is an open-source tool, it can become a sort of overkill for startup companies. The tool uses a considerable amount of computing resources which could be limited for smaller companies.

Zend Studio

No list is complete without the mention of Zend Studio, an IDE that takes PHP development to the next level. It contains a sophisticated set of features and can deploy to any server including servers in the cloud. The tool has been optimized for PHP 7, making it faster than previous versions. Companies of any size would find Zend Studio helpful.


A tool that goes above and beyond in terms of standard Application Performance Monitoring (APM) to provide developers with all the tools they need in one easy-to-use solution. Retrace initially supported only Java and .NET, and has started supporting PHP. It has an enhanced log and error tracking feature which makes it stand out from the rest. The tool is significantly cost-effective and is best for teams to diagnose, improve, and accelerate application performance.


A powerful open-source, real-time vulnerability management tool that helps system administrators take action on vulnerability findings, track vulnerability findings, and review accepted and false-positive answered vulnerabilities. It doesn’t bother them with old vulnerabilities.


This is a continuous integration server version-control system written in PHP 5. It has continuous builds in place of nightly builds. Xinc works seamlessly with other systems like Subversion and Phing.


With Minify you can combine multiple CSS or JavaScript files, compress their content like removing unnecessary white space and comments, and easily serve the results with HTTP encoding with the help of Gzip/deflate and headers that allow optimal client-side caching.


A lightweight PHP editor and IDE which can handle front-end code and markup extremely well. Check You can check phpDesigner online tutorials and screencasts on phpDesigner to help you learn more about the IDE.


Known as phpdoc and phpdocu, phpDocumentor is a documentation tool for your PHP source code with a countless amount of features like the ability to output in HTML, PDF, CHM, and XML DocBook formats, and has both a Web-based and command-line interface as well as source-code highlighting.


The PHP Mess Detector can be used as a static analysis tool for your source code. It lets you know if you are violating any of PSR-1 and PSR-2 coding standards, which will make sure that your code is up to par. It is also helpful in detecting copy and paste and dead code. You should run it on all your projects before you ship them out. The output will show violations of these coding standards with examples (if provided) along with suggestions on how to fix them. In addition, it also checks for some design problems like cyclic dependencies, control flow issues, complexity, etc., so give it a try!


Use PhpMetrics to manage multiple clients and projects and be as efficient as possible with your time. Easily see how long you’ve been working on a task or how much effort you’ve put into developing a specific feature. With PhpMetrics, you can record your daily workflow in detail and see which methods take up more of your time than others. Whether it’s through writing code or talking with clients, PhpMetrics helps you track every aspect of your work. Whether it’s through writing code or talking with clients, PhpMetrics helps you track every aspect of your work.


This is an outstanding documentation generation tool. One of its best features is that it enables you to export your comments, so any developer who doesn’t have access to phpDox can see what you wrote in your source code (and they can copy it, too). It also has an extremely well-designed interface and a decent price tag. This is definitely one of the prominent tools for static documents.


With a focus on web development and a slew of plug-ins and integrations for other apps, PhpStorm is a great choice for those who want a specialized IDE with plenty of web code support. It’s also one of only two IDEs that we looked at that offer MacOSX and Linux versions. With a focus on web development and a slew of plug-ins and integrations for other apps, PhpStorm is a great choice for those who want a specialized IDE with plenty of web code support.


This online IDE gives you a virtual environment where you can write, run and debug your code. This tool is simple but very useful for writing codes. One of its best features is its multi-language support for about 22 different languages including PHP. The application comes in three versions: basic, pro, and enterprise; however, there’s no trial or demo version so it’s best to just buy a license before using it.

Zend Studio

This award-winning IDE provides a powerful set of tools and platform capabilities needed to build modern Web 2.0 applications with PHP and Zend Framework, whether desktop or Web-based. With integrated tools for performance profiling, database connection management, source code debugging, unit testing, Web services development, and much more. Zend Studio has been enabling developers at leading companies to design and deliver high-quality solutions rapidly.

Aptana Studio

This development platform supports PHP code as well as a wide range of other programming languages. With features that include a built-in terminal and support for MySQL, My SQL, and MongoDB, Aptana Studio is a powerful tool for developing dynamic web applications. The integrated debugger allows you to see how your application functions and provides suggestions on how to fix any errors. Additional features include syntax highlighting, code completion, auto-indentation, and more. Aptana Studio is available in both open-source and commercial versions. The open-source version is free but offers limited functionality while commercial versions offer additional features including support for Ajax, CSS3, and HTML5 (as well as Ruby on Rails).

How to pick the right PHP web development tool?

The best PHP developer software will aid in making the developers highly productive and ease their typing speed. It is because a slow PHP web development tool will kill their productivity and thus, become completely inconvenient to use. Some of the tips given below will help you choose the right PHP tools in a jiffy. So, let’s get started!

Higher number of Features

The PHP development tools that promise a relatively higher number of features such as automatic spell-check, syntax highlight, as well as word auto-complete help in faster development. Also, some tools aid in easy navigation, a debugger for fixing unnecessary bugs, and code refactoring which further helps in making the developer’s job simplified.

Ease of use

Different tools offer different features, however; no one wants to spend more time understanding the PHP development tool. Everyone prefers a tool that is quite easy to understand and imparts all the necessary features without any hassle. The efficient use of shortcut keys will also succor in ameliorating productivity.

Excellent Speed

In fast-paced development environments, it is difficult to work at a slower pace. Thus, an IDE that showcases a fast speed and responds easily is helpful in both saving a lot of time as well as enhancing the developer’s speed. It also serves in lesser battery consumption!


Opt for that PHP website development tool that is compatible with all types of platforms be it, Windows, Linux, and macOS. Always check the compatibility details of the tool that you plan to use prior so that you can easily select it later.

Integration capability

With seamless integration with 3rd party tools, the tool that imparts higher support and easy access to numerous tools benefits a lot of people. This is quite necessary since it imparts one-click access to a plethora of features that otherwise help in performing different tasks easily.


There are a limitless amount of PHP website Development tools available to developers making the diaspora confusing, especially for developers who are new to the language. Being a developer, it can be helpful to keep informed about the newest developments in any tool you use for development.


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