NetBeans is an excellent, free IDE (Integrated Development Environment) that is well suited for WordPress website development. Coupled with the free or premium version of DesktopServer and you will have a modern, professional IDE setup. Even if you are already using another editor or development environment like Adobe Dreamweaver (great for design, not so great for debugging), you may still want to give NetBeans a try or use it as your powerful secondary editor. In this post I’ll show you how easy it is to get started and I’ll cover the basics of using NetBeans for WordPress development.
But first, why NetBeans? NetBeans is a mature editor with years of refinement under its belt. While NetBeans is a serious and optimized editor for C++, Java, and PHP coding, beginners will appreciate the straightforward and simple features. Hardcore developers will appreciate the lighter runtime and active community support for PHP (unfortunately, development has stalled for the heavier Eclipse editor for PHP). Since WordPress ‘template tags’ are just PHP functions, NetBeans makes working with WordPress powerful yet elegant. It provides code hinting to predict your needs and help correct your mistakes. For instance, it underlines and changes the font color to make errors obvious. NetBeans tries to understand your code, not just allow you to edit it. A built-in navigation panel allows you to walk through HTML elements, CSS elements, and blocks of PHP code to simplify the critical task of just finding things. Code folding makes reading long complex template documents a breeze by summarizing lines of code into convenient rollovers. This makes it much easier on the eyes (and the brain) by simplifying complex document parts into smaller ‘folded’ excerpts. Given the right key combinations, NetBeans will even write code for you. Read more »