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.

PHP 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 PDT?

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 platforms.

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 project.

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

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 “Brazil.”

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