Eclipse Helios

PDT: Providing PHP Development Tools for Eclipse

Jessica Thornsby

JAXenter speaks with PDT team leader Roy Ganor, on PDT version 2.2.0.

Development Tools
(PDT) 2.2.0 was released as part of this
year’s Eclipse Simultaneous Release. JAXenter caught up with
project lead Roy Ganor, to find out the latest PDT features and
what’s been going on at camp PDT, since last year’s Galileo
Simultaneous Release……

JAXenter: PDT is one of the most popular
Eclipse projects. What is the project’s main focus?

Roy Ganor: The Eclipse PHP Development Tools
(PDT) is an Eclipse project under the “Tools” top-level project. As
such, we provide a set of tools that leverage the Eclipse platform
to enable PHP development. The project’s scope is to provide
fundamental capabilities such as project management, source
editing, debugging and code navigation. PDT has become very popular
thanks to two factors: first, PHP has become the preferred platform
for building Web applications; second, more and more enterprises
have come to realize the benefits of open source software. PDT can
be also viewed as a platform that companies can leverage for their
own PHP specific development IDE. A good example is the Zend
Framework/Zend Studio case, I hope to see more and more companies
that extend PDT in the future.

JAXenter: What’s new in the Helios version of

Roy Ganor: Noteworthy PDT features in Helios
are mostly around the debugging and source editing features. For
example, this year we aligned with the Eclipse coloring standards,
we added even more coloring rules so people get richer PHP editor
that highlights the content according to its semantic. We also
caught up with other Eclipse editors with features like “Inspect”
during debug, drag and drop in the editor, decorated hover
information box and more common features that were previously
missing. The PDT community voted to improve the quality and
stability of the product. We have solved more than 400 issues and
prioritized the tasks left for next year.

In addition, the project benefits from the Eclipse platform and
other project improvements. For example, we see great value in the
JIT extension, Windows 7 support and the Market Place which
emphasizes the advantage of the Eclipse eco-system over other

JAXenter: How has the coordination and
integration with other Eclipse projects, such as DLTK and WTP,
evolved since Galileo?

Roy Ganor: This year the coordination with
other projects such as DLTK and WTP was even tighter than in
previous years. The great abstraction made by the DLTK team for
dynamic languages made it even easier to extend. This project is
very active, so we also contributed back the new H2-based indexing
improvements that we built for the PDT project. The WTP team was
also very communicative and made significant improvements to Web
development tools. We adopted features such as JavaScript/HTML and
CSS source editing. Overall, the communication between the teams
improved this year in comparison to previous years. We shared
problems ealier, we used several channels such as mailing lists,
forums and…Twitter.

JAXenter: The concepts of multi-language
programming and distributed development are becoming more and more
popular. How does PDT support these approaches?

Roy Ganor: First of all the Eclipse platform,
and PDT in specific, are enablers of such methodologies. It is
increasingly common for Java developers to build the Web tier of
their applications using PHP. We’re seeing many Adobe Flash/Flex
developers now turning to PHP for developing their backend. One of
the key benefits of Eclipse and PDT is that developers can use just
one IDE for building multi-language applications. Developers are
more comfortable and open when developing their applications with
multiple technologies: Eclipse is just one platform to rule them
all. Also, I am happy to say that the Eclipse community takes a
leadership role in Cloud deployment with a new “Cloud Deployment
Toolkit” project, which makes the deployment of applications to the
cloud very easy. We will continue to contribute to this project and
will try to integrate to these tools.

JAXenter: What are the next steps for PDT?

Roy Ganor: There are two kinds of tasks in our
backlog. The first kind is to enhance our already existing source
editing capabilities. For example, we want to enhance file analysis
and provide even richer information for developers, such as quick
fixes and more. The other kind of task is tighter integrations with
other projects in the Eclipse ecosystem. For example, the ATF (Ajax
Tools Framework). Also, as mentioned above, we aim to provide
better tooling for deployment with the Cloud Deployment Toolkit

JAXenter: If you had to pick which football
team most closely resembles PDT, which football team would it

Roy Ganor: Our strategy is definitely “team
work,” the developers share their thoughts and let the community
the vote to influence. We also don’t allow anyone to distract us
from our main goals so new, irrelevant features are deferred. Last
but not least, we have great defence – our QA team goes over each
of our fixed issues and make sure no holes are left: this is a
major advantage. So I think that we are most likely to be

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