PHPBuilder - On The Go Coding with PHPanywhere

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On The Go Coding with PHPanywhere

by: PHP Builder Staff
September 4, 2009

There is a plethora of different PHP Integrated Development Environments (IDEs) available for the developer, with many of them available for free, but not many of them address one issue--the ability to access and use your choice of IDE when you do not have access to the application on your local machine.
PHP developers, just like most IT professionals, are often on the go, working from various locations. You could be working in your office one day, at a conference in a remote location the next day, and from a client's business office the next. When you don't have your trusty laptop with you, even if you have access to someone else's computer, quite often you may not have all the tools you need to finish up a last minute project while you are on the go. A new SAS (Software As a Service) application called PHPanywhere is designed with the on-the-go PHP developer in mind.
PHPanywhere is not just a stand-alone IDE, it's designed with project collaboration in mind. With a built-in FTP client and syntax editor built right in, it makes this tool uniquely appropriate for developer teams as well as individual programmers. Best of all, it works directly in your web browser!
The first thing you need to do is register on the website. It only takes a couple minutes, and you'll need to click a verification link in the email which you will receive a few minutes after you register. Once that's done, you can login and you will be presented with a welcome screen that will allow you to start a new project, add an FTP server and begin working.

Click here for larger image

Once you've added a new project by clicking the Create link in the drop down button in the left hand pane, you'll want to setup the web server that is associated with your new project. In my case, I added a project called WVP, and added an FTP server (in the same way using the drop down button) that contains all the files associated with my WVP project.
The FTP Server feature enables you to change file permissions on all of your files, as well as the ability to add, create and delete directories. All in all, it's a decent browser-based FTP client that's built right into the product.
By clicking the plus sign next to the FTP Servers button in the left pane, I was presented with all the directories on my selected web server (you can add as many servers as you wish using the FTP server feature). I was then able to double click on a PHP file within a directory on my server, and that PHP file was then opened in the syntax code editor in the pane on the right side of my browser window.

PHPAnywhere Project
Click here for larger image

The Syntax Code editor features, among other enhancements:
  • color coded syntax highlighting
  • code indention
  • find and replace
  • "smart indentation" for each language used within the file
  • undo/redo
  • unlimited tabs so you can have multiple files open at the same time
  • line numbers
  • code auto completion
Given that you may be working with a team of developers, PHPanywhere's real-time document collaboration enables multiple developers to work on the same project without having duplicates of any of the files in your project. A handy message window is shown at the bottom of the browser window that tracks the changes that you've made.
The tool also allows you to personalize the look and feel of your PHPanywhere environment, including the ability to use different skins for both the application itself, as well as the code editor. It also allows the developer to select the default encoding, which includes encoding such as:
  • West European
  • East European
  • East Asian
  • SE and SW Asian
  • Middle Eastern
  • Unicode
Each of these encoding formats include most of the associated sub-formats for each main format, including such formats as, for instance, such as Unicode - Unicode (UTF-7).
PHPanywhere is currently available for Opera 9+, Firefox, Camino, Seamonky and MSIE 8, with additional browser support coming soon!
It's free, it's browser-based, can be used anywhere you have internet access using a password protected browser session, and includes project collaboration features. Give it a try and you'll soon find yourself adding this tool to your developer toolbox!
by Scott Clark

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