At least 3 years ago NetBeans started to support PHP. PHP Application Development with NetBeans gives a nice tour of how to simplify development with this IDE.

Disclaimer: I received a copy from Packt for review.

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I haven't seen any title so far that specifically deals with PHP development in NetBeans, in that sense it filled a gap (amazon search). NetBeans has been around for quite some time now. It was one of my favorite IDEs some years ago, but I gradually moved to TextMate, then to Sublime Text, and lately I exclusively use Vim. Yes, these are text editors, which can be expanded to full IDEs. Honestly, I haven't used a full-blown IDE in a while so this was an interesting book to see what's supported these days. This book shows interesting examples in that regard:


  • Chapter 1: Setting up your Development Environment
  • Chapter 2: Boosting Your Coding Productivity with the PHP Editor
  • Chapter 3: Building a Facebook-like Status Poster using NetBeans
  • Chapter 4: Debugging and Testing using NetBeans
  • Chapter 5: Using Code Documentation
  • Chapter 6: Understanding Git, the NetBeans Way
  • Chapter 7: Building User Registration, Login, and Logout
  • Appendix A: Introducing Symfony2 Support in NetBeans 7.2
  • Appendix B: NetBeans Keyboard Shortcuts

I didn't have time to check if the code examples worked on my machine, but I did like the way the author structured and explained them. The book starts with quite some installation screenshots, these could have been moved to an appendix probably. However, when coding started (ch3) the book's pace speeds up and nice features like debugging, building and automating tests make it an interesting read. After all I felt the book reached a good balance between GUI options, programming and development.

One annoying thing was that the code in the epub version of the ebook was not indented. So I switched to the PDF version which was perfect. I guess the printed edition is like the PDF so that should not be an issue.

PHP Application Development with NetBeans is recommended reading if you want to explore the NetBeans IDE. Even if you like to work in the terminal like me this book is a good exploration what an IDE can offer you. It is always good to keep analyzing your tools. I can even foresee a mixture of IDE and editor use in my case.

The PHP and JS code is good, well explained, but I think the takeaway is the easiness with which NetBeans facilitates Unit Testing, Version control, writing PHP documentation, Debugging, etc. In 250 pages a lot is covered, some things only at the surface (debugging for example), but that is inherent to a beginner's guide.

I think the book meets its goal: show how PHP development could be simplified in this IDE.

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Bob Belderbos

Software Developer, Pythonista, Data Geek, Student of Life. About me