Drupal Developer Shootout: IDEs and Editors


These are my notes from a talk given by Rich Yumul and Chris Charlton at DrupalCamp LA 2010. The first speaker was Rich, who works at Sage Tree Solutions.

My old tools for development were:

VIM + php.net + api.drupal.org

A Drupal IDE saves you time. Even though Eclipse, for example, is a huge download and takes ages to start, it helps keep you in the zone as a developer. You want to be coding, cranking out views, etc. If the phone rings and you have to switch contexts, getting back into that zone can take a few minutes. Referencing docs and finding files are some examples of context switches. You don't want to worry about code formatting and improper syntax, because you can use an IDE to do that for you.

I was an Eclipse user for a long time, but I recently converted to NetBeans because it's faster and it's really easy to set up the debugger. Since that time, I got onto the Helios release of Eclipse, which is a lot faster, so the speed issues are basically gone, and there are some great new modules in Eclipse.

The things I like about an IDE are:

  • Autocomplete function names
  • Displays method signature automatically
  • Syntax highlighting
  • Incorrect syntax detection
  • Auto-formatting
  • Repository support built-in

When I first set up NetBeans, it was a few simple steps to get debugging set up. With Eclipse, I had a much more difficult time. However once it's set up, it's a similar workflow.

Usually I have MAMP running locally and my debugger hooked up to that; it is possible to do that also with remote servers but I haven't tried that.

The next speaker was Chris Charlton, a Drupal developer and liason between developers and non-developers. He offers free extensions for Dreamweaver and Eclipse at xtnd.us.

Chris's talk was pretty rapid so I wasn't able to take notes!

Other notes:

Komodo editor - set breakpoints in your code, load the URL in a browser, head back to the IDE and inspect the state of all the variables.

1 Comment


If you like Eclipse, Aptana is my preference! It's a distro of eclipse made for web-specific stuff. It's got some nice features missing from normal eclipse, although they aren't using the new Helio engine quite yet, so it's fairly slow.

I just can't get away from textmate + transmit =)

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