20 PHP Tools to Make Developers Work Easier in 2017

Nearly 50 million indexed domains are existing on the web using PHP in their source code anyhow. The reasons behind such popularity are many, but its flexibility, ease of learning, dynamic coding, server-side scripting, and open source platforms are very common to say.
Aggregately, PHP developers including the open source platform developers constituting the biggest developer community among the developer communities for the programming languages in the world of the Internet.

PHP has myriads of frameworks, open source software, and tools for varying degrees of the needs of the PHP developers. Therefore, citing a few tools for any PHP developer may prove a useless exercise without considering the niche expertise, level of programming skills, and nature of the PHP project.

Despite such variations in the requirements of the PHP development tools, we have tried to list some highly useful and shared tools for the contemporary PHP developers.

We hope these tools may improve the programming workflow of PHP development and ease the life of PHP developers at some extents.

A – Frameworks for PHP:

We know PHP is a highly flexible programming language and its flexibility leads to haphazard coding and touch debugging for all levels of PHP programmers. In due course, PHP frameworks have invented, and today nearly 60 frameworks are in use among the PHP developer community.

Apart from PHP open source platforms specific frameworks, there are some highly useful and most used frameworks existing so we have made efforts to list only three highly used PHP frameworks in this post.

#1 – CakePHP

The CakePHP is following strict convention over configuration. Therefore, it enables PHP developers to do their tasks rapidly and in highly organized manner. It follows MVC paradigm for designing and programming so designers and programmers can work together simultaneously on the same project.

It is easy to learn and use, so it is a real preference for beginners and intermediate skill levels of programmers.

#2 – Zend

It is object-oriented programming framework with scalability, flexibility, and numerous tools to address enterprise level of PHP projects. It was a bit complex framework when someone used to work in CakePHP and CodeIgniter. The biggest projects in PHP have used Zend as their programming framework such as Google, Amazon, Flickr, and so on.

#3 – Yii

It is a high-performance PHP framework for component-based tools and programming. It ranks next to Zend and better than CakePHP, Symfony, and CodeIgniter.

Yii is an excellent choice when large-scale web application development is in question because it supports MVC, DAO, L10N, Caching, jQuery, and Ajax-based features and functionality.

B – PHP IDEs and Editors:

Without proper IDE and code editor, programmers cannot perform at the expected level. Therefore, we have listed selected tools for PHP developers.

#4 – PHPEclipse

It is an open source tool so highly favorite among the PHP developer community, it runs on all the major OS including Linux, Windows, and Mac.

#5 – Zend Studio

It is next generation PHP IDE for Eclipse. It is excellent PHP development tool for Rich Internet Application development. It offers 3X faster performance for coding, debugging, and integration of various plugins and services including cloud.

With the integration of Xdebug, Zend Debugger, and Z-Ray it offers robust debugging facilities. With Docker and Git Flow, it supports excellent dev tools and intelligent code editors.

C – Debugging Tools:

Software quality depends on the debugging exercise. Every client demands bug-free application in the software world. Therefore, we have listed some selected debugging tools for PHP developers to deliver high quality products.

#6 – PHP_Debug

It provides assistance in debugging. It is an open source tool and capable of providing variable dumps in graphical form. Therefore, a lot of PHP developer prefer it for more visual output than code lines.

It gives output times of PHP and SQL as well as help in checking the performance of particular code blocks in visual formats.

#7 – Xdebug

It is highly popular PHP extension for debugging because it gives tons of data to find bugs in code quickly. It comes in PHP Eclipse and PHP Designer IDE as a built-in debugging tool.

D – Testing and Optimization Tools:

Testing is a significant part of QA hence, of quality maintenance. Without powerful testing tools, we cannot devolve into quality Assurance process.

#8 – PHPUnit

It is a port of JUnit testing suite for PHP. You can test stability and scalability of your PHP application with PHPUnit tools. It makes writing test cases within PHPUnit framework easy.

E – Security Tools:

Today security is a critical aspect of any PHP website where sensitive data exchanges and financial transactions taking place. Therefore, familiarity with some good security arsenal may prove useful for you.

#9 – Securimage

It is an open source PHP captcha script. It generates complex images and captcha code to avoid spam and abuse of your PHP website or a web application.

#10 – PHP-IDS

It is an intrusion detection system tool with simplicity in use and well-structured. It is fast in performance and has state of the art security layer for the PHP-based web application.

F – Version-Control Systems:

Today PHP developers are working in a collaborative environment and mostly follow MVC pattern. Therefore, they produce different versions of the same project at a time.

It is the case when they need an efficient version control system and subversion system to manage different versions simultaneously. In due course, we have included some version control tools in this post to know it.

#11 – Phing

It can help PHP developers to organize and maintain the different build of the PHP project. It is platform independent and even does not need external dependencies at all.

Its distinct features are file transformation, file system operations, interactive build supports, SQL execution, CSV/GIT/SVN operation, and much more.

#12 – Xinc

It is a continuous build, not nightly builds, so it falls into continuous integration server version-control system category. It is working smoothly in tandem with other Subversion control system including SVN and Phing.

G – Useful Extensions, Utilities, and Classes:

Extensions or Plugins are essentialities in PHP projects thanks to its open source software where developers should refrain from touching the core source code, as it needs to have frequent updates/versions.

Therefore, managing extension, utilities, and PHP classes using efficient tools are mandatory.

#13 – phpMyAdmin

It is excellent tools for the PHP developers who devolve into LAMP environment. It is a web-based tool useful for management, development, EXIM, and exploring MySQL databases. It ultimately eliminates the use of other methods too such as using FTP tools separately for file uploading.

#14 – PHPLinq

If you are going to add native data querying capabilities to the PHP projects by the syntax reminiscent of SQL, PHPLinq is the best components to do it. The mode of the functionality of PHPLinq is to define a set of query operators to use in query project and filtering data in arrays.
It also can apply to the enumerable classes, RDBMS, XML databases, and third party data sources.

H: In-Browser Tools:

Today many PHP developers, in broad sense web developers, are preferring web browsers for coding instead of native IDE. Therefore, modern web browsers have development or programming specific extensions or add-ons with required tools and features to meet the needs of developers.

#15 – FirePHP

It is Firefox add-on to log data in Firebug like debugging, programming, and testing tool. FirePHP comes with a plenty of useful logging features including the capability of changing errors, exception handling and logging errors directly in the Firebug console.

I – Documentation Tools:

Documentation of source code is essential in many situation and helpful as a supplemental document in a software project.

#16 – phpDocumentor

It is a powerful documentation tool to generate documentation directly from the PHP source code. Thus, it enables you to display more information regarding features, functionality, libraries, and performance of source code in comprehensive ways in a user interface.
It has templates and code analysis tools to display info in graphical formats as well as reporting errors in the source code.

J – Image Manipulation and Graphs:

Image optimization is a must to do the task for any web development project to enhance performance. Therefore, code based image manipulation tools are a mandatory requirement in PHP projects too.

Similarly, graphical presentation of complicated data enhances comprehensibility. Therefore, discussing such tools is not a kooky idea here.

#17 – pChart

It creates aliased charts from the data retrieved from SQL queries or CSV files provided manually. It is an excellent PHP class oriented framework with chart libraries free of cost!

#18 – MagickWand for PHP

It is a PHP module suitable to work with ImageMagick API. Thus, you can create, compose, and manipulate bitmap images. It has capacities to incorporate image-editing features in your PHP applications quickly just as a magic wand can do it.

K – PHP Code Beautifier:

Code beauty means highly organized code, compact code, clean code, and comprehensive code, so any developer loves to work with at any time. Thus, following tools can help you to beautify your PHP code and documents.

#19 – PHPCodeBeautifier

It can save you from reformatting your PHP code by spending hours. Moreover, it lets you present your code custom ways. With GUI version you can process files visually.

With its command line version, you can be batched or integrate with other tools such as SubVersion, CVS, IDE, and so on.

L – PHP Online Tools:

#20 – PHP Object Generator

It is an open source tool available online to work with it. It can help you to generate PHP objects rapidly in order to leverage OOP (Object-Oriented Programming) principles in your PHP project. Thus, it eases the life of PHP coders a lot working on OOP projects in PHP.

Final Words

We have seen that how different tools are capable of adding values to the PHP development project at the various levels by contributing in a number of ways. Among these, all tools for PHP, frameworks, IDE, testing and optimization tools are indeed contributing something on the PHP project and ease the life of PHP developers.

20 PHP Tools to Make Developers Work Easier in 2017
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