in PHP

Five Tools I Can’t Develop Without

In 2011, I wrote about the five tools I couldn’t do without at the time. But times change, and so do the essentials we have. While some of those tools still hold true (like issue trackers and the PHP variable output functions), there are other new tools that are essential components of development. Here’s my top five in 2014.

1. GitHub

GitHub has changed the way developers work. It’s such an essential part of my process that I encourage all my clients to create organizations on GitHub for our work. Some choose to use other products, but the version control repository is still the primary means of sharing source code, and using Git has become the industry standard.

2. Composer with Packagist

The advent of Composer has shifted the way PHP applications are developed. All the libraries in the PHP world are now available for us to use, organized in a friendly place called Packagist. I can’t imagine going back to developing applications the “old way”, with copied and pasted libraries ever again.

3. PHPStorm

Some people prefer vim, others a text editor. But for PHP, I prefer PHPStorm. This application has a tremendous number of great features, and it’s improved considerably over the years. The stability, performance and native look and feel makes an IDE something that a developer can rely on for daily development.

4. iTerm

I use a Mac, and I have an application called iTerm that helps me by allowing me to run multiple terminal windows, tabbed terminals, and more. If you’re a Mac user still using the built-in terminal, upgrade today.

5. The PHP Community

Okay, so this one isn’t a tool, but hear me out: not a day goes by that I don’t ask for help or offer some assistance to someone in the community. After all, that’s what it’s there for. In fact, developers in the PHP community are some of the friendliest people in the world. I wouldn’t be able to do half the stuff I do without their help. I couldn’t live without the PHP community.

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