When will PHP Developer Tools be mainstream at Eclipse?

I’ve been doing a little PHP work and enjoying it; I like PHP 5.x much better than earlier versions. My PHP development setup is based on Eclipse and the PHP Developer Tools project, or PDT, and one thing I noticed when I set this up is that it is awkward to use PDT with Eclipse 3.4, or Ganymede. I ran into problems again when I updated my Ganymede Eclipse to the latest releases, this time on Windows as it happens. PDT stopped working, and I had to download a newer “integration build” of PDT as well as an update to the Eclipse Dynamic Languages Toolkit (DLTK), using a manual download and import process instead of the built-in Eclipse online update. I also had to remove the Ruby Development Tools as these relied on an earlier version of the DLTK; there might be a way round this but my priority was to get PDT working.

I’m getting this pain because I want to use PDT 2.0 and Eclipse3.4, instead of the older PDT 1.0.3 which has an all-in-one download based on Eclipse 3.3. “All-in-one” means that you download a bundle which includes both Eclipse and PDT, and treat it as a separate standalone IDE. The question though: why wasn’t the PDT properly integrated with Ganymede, which brings together multiple Eclipse projects with the promise that they will all work together?

I looked in the Eclipse PDT newsgroup and found some discussion on the subject. Apparently the PDT team felt it was just too difficult to manage the dependencies. More depressing is that apparently the team feels the same way about Galileo, the follow-up to Ganymede expected in June 2009. It means that the PDT stays outside the mainstream of Eclipse projects, reducing its visibility.

Conspiracy theorists might surmise that major PDT contributors like Zend, which has its own commercial IDE called Zend Studio which uses both Eclipse and PDT, might enjoy keeping the free version low-profile. That (or some other reason) might also explain why Zend Studio uses a 1.x version of PDT along with Eclipse 3.4, which is not meant to work. It turns out that Zend Studio uses PDT 1.0.5, whereas the latest public download (unless you go directly to the source) is 1.0.3. If 1.05 works fine with Eclipse 3.4, why isn’t the public all-in-one based on this combination?

I like the PDT, and my patched together Ganymede + PDT 2.x works very well. Debugging seems more stable since I updated it. Personally I’d like to see PDT get more prominence within the Eclipse community, and for it to be packaged as part of Galileo rather than being left on the sidelines.

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1 comment on this post.
  1. Rob Lowe:

    You could use Aptana. It’s based on the Eclipse source code and is specifically for PHP/JS/HTML/CSS