NetBeans for the PHP developer
September 02, 2016

NetBeans for the PHP developer

Andy Erickson | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source

Overall Satisfaction with NetBeans

I use Netbeans as an individual for PHP MySQL code development to maintain scheduling and data entry systems. I have the program installed on my work laptop as well as my personal computers for private projects.
  • Great code completion, just start typing some code and the program will fill in the code.
  • Find/Replace is a key feature and works through whole projects as opposed to just a single file.
  • Side by side code comparison right in the interface allows me to update similar pages.
  • I appreciate the ease of using variable highlighting, with a wave of the mouse you can see visually where a given variable exists in your code.
  • Sometimes the code hints are a little intrusive and need to be 'turned off', I like my code to pass inspection but situations like 'too many nested blocks' prevent previously functioning code to pass new versions of the program hints.
  • If you have too many projects open, Netbeans takes quite a while to load. I need to go grab a cup of tea and come back. As a result, I jealously guard how many projects are open at a time.
  • Code completion and PHP platform function helps can occasionally be more of a curse than a blessing. Constant 'pop ups' of hints, suggestions make coding a bit aggravating, I do not actually turn it off, but am tempted.
  • Since Netbeans is free, any use is a plus on the bottom line.
  • Netbeans just gets the job done so I can crank out the projects.
  • Program updates can cause some admin time to get hints and program features back to preferred settings, this is a pain.

I originally began coding with Eclipse, but found debugging to be difficult to implement; switched to NetBeans and never really looked back. When coding for specific projects (for instance Android or a Java class ) Eclipse seems to have a better foothold on integration of multiple program types. I prefer the clean interface, project setup and reuse of NetBeans over Eclipse. Some of this might be familiarity, but I have a hard time finding how to do xx in Eclipse that I commonly do in Netbeans.

For pure text based coding, Notepad++ can not really be beat. I regularly keep it running and use its powerful find/replace dialog that hovers over my work. I love the Alt-click column select and tend to use it as a clipboard to fix code outside Netbeans and paste it back in. This allows me to use the strengths of each program.

Netbeans is free, which allows me to get my work done without having to get IT or accounting involved to get new versions and use the program. The user base is large and program updates seem to address any potential bugs, although I have only occasionally encountered bugs.

I use Netbeans for full projects setting up a complete project by clicking 'add new project' and following the wizards. If I am just coding up a test page, it is less involved to use Notepad++. Netbeans has full database connectivity and I rarely use it, but it seems to work well when I do, I prefer a dedicated database program for that aspect of my work.

Running find and replace on an existing project is great, the interface allows you to include or exclude files and lines with checkboxes. I have tried other solutions and always come back to Netbeans for this feature.

I like the side by side file comparison and use it regularly, the only downside is that it is a one way transfer, left to right. Other programs like Winmerge allow updating either way.

I have previously used the in program browser, but find it to be a bit buggy after program updates, so I quit trying to use the browser and keep an instance of FireFox running to test the code. The same goes for the debugger, I use it occasionally and probably could try to use it more, mostly I use something like FireBug to debug the final code problems.

Using NetBeans

Netbeans enhances my coding work, shows me where I have errors and helps find variable instances. I would be lost without find/replace in projects functionality as I use projects as templates for new projects. Occasionally the code hints aggravate me, but I understand that it is actually making me a better coder, working to get the 'green light' of a clean file with no errors or clumsy code.
ProsCons
Like to use
Easy to use
Technical support not required
Well integrated
Feel confident using
Lots to learn
  • Code completion.
  • Find/Replace either in a file or full project.
  • Variable highlighting is easy, just wave the mouse over a variable and the color codes show all instances along the right.
  • Validation of code works well, if the box is red, the code will fail to run, usually highlighting the offending line.
  • I love the history tab to roll back code to a previous working copy and see where changes occurred.
  • Source formatting is just a click and voila, my code looks like I know what I am doing!
  • Program updates are a pain, usually requiring some admin time to get things running correctly again.
  • Side by side comparison should allow code copies both ways, not just right to left.
  • Occasionally 'find in projects' has a bug and does not locate code that I know is there, even requiring restarting to get it back.