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Product Review: Zend Studio 4
By: Dan Wellman
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    Table of Contents:
  • Product Review: Zend Studio 4
  • Installation and Interface
  • New to Version 4
  • Low Points of the Application

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    Product Review: Zend Studio 4 - Installation and Interface

    (Page 2 of 4 )

    Installation is quick and easy, and it is possible for any level of PHP developer to jump right in with very little exploratory groundwork. What I mean is that, if you’re new to PHP, you can focus your time and energy on learning to build great Web based applications without wasting effort learning to use a complicated program first. 

    The application is presented in an extremely intuitive and attractive GUI. All of the different panes in the main window can be opened or closed to give you maximum project support, or increased screen real estate. The Zend Studio development environment is a dedicated PHP development tool comprising an Explorer-style file manager, integrated code editor, an inspector pane, a debug pane split into a debug messages and a functions pane, and an embedded output window.

    The file manager organizes your system in a hierarchical tree-style format in much the same way as Windows Explorer, and features a filter set for showing only files of a certain type such as PHP files, HTML files or XML files.

    The editor features everything that you’d expect from a program of this calibre including: syntax highlighting that is compatible not just with PHP, but with HTML, XHTML, CSS and JavaScript too; code completion for PHP and HTML; line numbering; and auto-indentation. The code completion also features extensible templates, a feature which allows you to automatically insert blocks of either predefined PHP or HTML code -- a time saving option that you can add to or remove from extremely easily.  Version 4 also introduces a GOTO SOURCE function: when you move the pointer over an element in the code, a tool-tip appears which, when clicked, will take you straight to that element's declaration, saving you the time and hassle of finding them yourself.

    The debug pane also provides access to the code analyzer, an intelligent portion of the debugger that looks for problematic code and gives suggestions as to how the code can be improved. Think about how powerful the Windows Notepad application would be if it helped you to write better code!

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