The Eclipse Foundation, a consortium of developers supporting the open-source Eclipse development platform, has announced a major upgrade to the Eclipse PHP Development Tools project, PDT 2.0.
As a leading contributor to the PDT effort, PHP specialist Zend Technologies is pushing PHP as a key element of the Eclipse platform and as a language used for more mainstream development.
"Release 2.0 demonstrates our continued commitment to the Eclipse community," said Andi Gutmans, co-founder and senior vice president of R&D and alliances at Zend Technologies. "PDT is not only the premier open-source PHP development tool, but is also the basis for Zend's commercial IDE [integrated development environment] for PHP, Zend Studio for Eclipse. Additionally, in order to further align with Eclipse, PDT will become part of the Eclipse Galileo simultaneous release."
Eclipse Foundation officials said the focus of the PDT 2.0 release is to add support for the object-oriented programming features of PHP and to improve the overall user experience of the PDT environment. PDT provides all the basic code editing capabilities developers need to get started developing PHP applications.
Gutmans said he believes the enhancements in PDT 2.0 make PDT a compelling choice for developers looking to build simple PHP applications. Eclipse officials said PDT 2.0 also is ideal for Java programmers who want to write PHP code by providing them with an environment similar to the Eclipse JDT (Java Development Tools) they are already familiar with.
"PDT is one of our most popular downloads at Eclipse," said Mike Milinkovich, executive director of the Eclipse Foundation. "Since the initial release it has been downloaded over 1 million times. Clearly PDT adoption has been very successful in the Eclipse and PHP communities."
New features in PDT 2.0 to support the object-oriented capabilities of PHP include a Type Hierarchy view that navigates object-oriented PHP code faster and more easily; type and method navigation that allows for easy searching of PHP code based on type information; and override indicators that visually tag PHP methods that have been overridden.
Usability improvements to PDT 2.0 include a new indexing and caching engine based on the Eclipse DLTK (Dynamic Languages Toolkit), which improves the overall performance of common PDT operations; a new Mark Occurrences indicator that makes it easier for developers to see where an element is referenced; and a more sophisticated Code Assist feature that is smarter about providing code completion options based on PHP variable types, according to the Eclipse Foundation.