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This article provides detailed instructions for setting up your workstation as a PHP development environment, not only for Joomla! it also should work fine for PHP development in general.
Note There are many possible configurations for doing PHP development environments. Any environment that supports the basic AMP stack (Apache, MySql, PHP) and Subversion should work fine.
The PHP language code represented just by plain text that can be edited with simple text editors like:
But when you are about to work in more advanced and complex projects and need some coding assistance there is a handful of development tools called IDEs (Integrated Development Environment) these are some of them:
To empathize some of the advantages of the use of IDEs over simple text editors we got:
Some of the advantages of simple text editors are:
All these advanced tools facilitate the development of PHP code, debugging, and the integration of other tools like SVN or GIT clients for source code version control under the same IDE, but for this article we are going to focus on how to configure Eclipse IDE for our PHP development environment, feel free to add more editors and document them in the following list.
To develop and test our PHP projects we need to execute the code in a web server capable of interpret PHP code and send the output to our browser, is good to know that we have a nice range of opensource tools to deploy a PHP webservers for our development environment such as:
Also there is other commercial closed-source options such as:
All these options for web services can be used for the development of PHP projects, but for this article we are going to focus on how to configure a XAMPP server for our PHP development environment, feel free to add more web servers configuration and document them in the following list.
Debugging tools are quite useful when you are developing a PHP project and you want to study how your code behave step by step on each line execution of your code, also these debugging tools let you see the real values of variables and objects and set new values on the fly for testing purposes, you can also create expression to check the outcome without modify your code.
Old school and hardcore PHP programmers don't fraternize much with these kind of visual tools and they prefer to debug their code the old way using php:var_dump and other methods to display and analyze the output of the PHP code, is up to you what kind of tools you want to implement in your development workflow.
There is several alternatives for PHP debugging, some of these are:
To empathize some of the advantages of the use of this kind of debugging tools we got:
All these options for PHP debugging can be used for the development of PHP projects, but for this article we are going to focus on how to configure Xdebug for our PHP development environment, feel free to add more debugging alternatives and document them in the following list.
Don't you hate when you are coding and suddenly by accident you just deleted a big chunk of text and there is no backups of that file to restore those important lines of code?, don't you hate when you are working with 2 or more developers in a project and everyone have a different copy of the project then comes the day of merge all those changes in one final project but everything goes wrong or the project does not want to run properly because some one just overwrite your work?, for all this problems and many more exist some nice tools to bring you the solutions you just need, some of these tools are:
All these options for software versioning and revision control can be used for the development of PHP projects, but for this article we are going to focus on how to configure GIT for our PHP development environment, feel free to add more software versioning and revision control alternatives and document them in the following list.