When I first heard of Zend Studio, I thought, what's the point in that? There
are plenty of (free) PHP IDEs available. What's so special about this one? However,
when I got down to looking at it properly, I found that Zend was indeed very different
For one thing, it's not really just one package, it's two, aptly named, Zend
Studio Client and Zend Studio Server. The client part is an excellent, easy-to-use
IDE, with integrated debugger, which really helps speed up development times,
whereas the server has even more surprises waiting for you: as well as the debug
server which integrates with the IDE so you can remotely debug your PHP applications,
it includes the Zend Server Centre which will help you get the most out of your
PHP configuration. In other words, it's a web-based front end to your php.ini
file. The server part of the pack includes the Zend Optimizer which inspects
and assists in speeding up your code. Finally, (and pretty much to
be expected), it includes a copy of Apache and PHP, which can both be installed
if not already present. If they ARE already there, then Studio will integrate
with them seamlessly.
Installing Zend Studio
Ok, ok, this might sound really patronising, but this part needs serious consideration. Everyone knows how to install software but it's really worth thinking about before you jump right in. Like
any new bit of software, it took me a couple of attempts to get it just how
I wanted. There are a couple of ways that you can have your system set up:
1. You can have the whole caboodle installed on your PC, including a localcopy of PHP and web server (if you don't already have one, Zend gives youthe option to install Apache). This situation is ideal for lone programmers who don't need
to share work loads.
2. Or, you can install the client portion on your PC and the server portion
on a server. This is more suited for companies or people who work in teams on
their PHP projects.
There are both *nix versions and Windows version of the suite, so you can use
either type of OS for the server and the client.