In mutch years that i developed in php (since 2001), i had experimented very very simple editors like notepad, notepad++, gedit ... !
And i experimented somme very goods IDEs: PhpEd, Zend Studio, Eclipse, Netbeans ... !
I used many times an excelent IDE: Zend Studio, in my opinion its mutch better than PhpEd, and very robust and complete ;-)
Somme years late, i experimented Eclipse to programming in php, but i had heard that NetBeans its realy very good.
I experimented NetBeans, and for programming in php, html, js, css ... its very better that Eclipse, but Eclipse is good, the auto complete, functions and classes overview its better ... ;-)
I used NetBeans until now, with very plugins that it has, and past a months i dont missed falt of the Zend Studio, because NetBeans takes all i want as IDE (Debugger, auto complete, overview, documentation ... )
Manuel Lemos - 2016-03-31 01:13:20 - In reply to message 1 from Josť Filipe Lopes Santos
Free IDEs may not cost money but one difficulty that I always had with free IDEs is the integration with the debugger extension. Often I give up like when I tried PDT which is also based on Eclipse.
Usually you need to have a debugger extension compatible with the PHP version that is running and often you need to do it manually. In some cases it is easier to setup the debugger to run PHP CLI version but for the Web server version it is more complicated.
Manuel Lemos - 2016-03-31 21:57:20 - In reply to message 3 from Josť Filipe Lopes Santos
Yes, PDT is also based on Eclipse. What is hard is to configure the debug extension for the specific version running on the Web server and configure the IDE to make it work with that debugger extension.
When it is too difficult we resort to error_log and print_r debugging but that is not as good as using a single step debugger.