Eclipse, based in Ottawa, announced the availability of the PDT on Sept 18 2007. The Eclipse PDT is a set of tools and frameworks that enhance the productivity of developers using the PHP scripting language. The PHP scripting language is widely used for Web development and can be embedded into HTML.
The Eclipse PDT is the first Eclipse project that targets the PHP developer community that is estimated to include about 4 million developers. Meanwhile, the Eclipse open-source application development platform has about 2.3 million users who use the tools mostly for Java and C/C++ development. Eclipse Foundation officials said the release of the PDT 1.0 will allow the PHP community to begin using an Eclipse-based IDE (integrated development environment), thus expanding the entire Eclipse community. The Eclipse Foundation is rolling out the availability of the 1.0 release of the Eclipse PHP Development Tools project.
Jeffrey Hammond, an analyst with Forrester Research, said the news of the Eclipse PDT is “a real win-win for both communities. PHP is one of a crop of dynamic programming languages that are increasingly used as a key component of Web 2.0 application development.”
Moreover, Hammond said, “integrating PHP into Eclipse gives it increased exposure and access to the millions of Java developers worldwide who have already chosen Eclipse as their primary IDE (integrated development environment). On the Eclipse side, the PDT helps to challenge the common wisdom that while Eclipse is a great Java IDE, but its not as useful when developing non-Java apps.”
Zend Technologies and IBM proposed the PDT project to Eclipse last year. The PDT is licensed under the Eclipse Public License and is implemented in Java as a set of plug-ins to the Eclipse platform.
“We have received great response to PDT from the PHP developer community,” said Yossi Leon, Eclipse PDT project leader and product manager for Zend, in Cupertino, Calif. “To date we have had over 40,000 downloads of PDT and the feedback has been very positive.”
Key features in PDT 1.0 include: Context sensitive editors that provide capabilities such as syntax highlighting, code assist and code folding; integration with the Eclipse project model that allows for inspection using the File and Project Outline Views and a new PHP Explorer View; support for incremental debugging of PHP code; and frameworks and APIs that allow developers and independent software vendors to easily extend PDT to create new and interesting PHP oriented developer tools.
With Eclispe being the most popular open source IDE with support for popular languages such as Java, C, C++, PHP, Delphi etc (there are also plugins for .NET and Ruby), the temptation to switch and use it is very huge indeed.