CodeLobster PHP Edition: More Than Your Average IDE

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  • Web Tools
  • Sep 14, 2017

Software developers and programmers today have been given tools that just ten years ago might have been impossible to find. The most basic thing they need to do their jobs is the platform on which they code.

What used to be simple plain text editors have now given way to complete Integrated Development Environments (IDEs).

The IDE is where everything is done under one roof, from writing the code to compilation and sometimes even execution. What’s even more remarkable is that these IDEs offer so many functions that extend their power greatly. From auto-complete for code syntax, colour-coded text, to pre-made templates, there’s so much to explore.

You can start either single scripts of entire packaged projects.

For those in the field, today we’re going to take a closer look at CodeLobster PHP Edition.

CodeLobster PHP Edition: What to expect

CodeLobster was designed primarily to deal with scripting, in particular, PHP and JavaScript on Windows systems.

At it’s very heart is the code platform, which the development team then build a solid wall of supporting functions around. Here we’ll go over some of the most basic functions and how these could help.

The main IDE once loaded is quite standard and consists of various panels that deal with different sets of information. These support the main coding canvas that sits in the centre. It’s possible to juggle these around to your liking and of course, you can add more or get rid of some as well.

With so many functions available, we’ll just give a quick list of those that seem most useful.

Colour Coding

Given that there are occasions where script types are mixed in web development, CodeLobster highlights different types of code with their own colours. While this may seem like nothing, when you’re working on a piece of code that’s a few hundred lines long it does come in handy.

CodeLobster offers colour coding for easy reading

Help

Although we’re sure many feel that ‘help’ in programs are seldom helpful, CodeLobster’s help system is context driven. This means that help is easily available for very specific things such as functions, tags or attributes. This is like having an inbuild programming dictionary in the system and can prove invaluable to those who are just entering the world of programming.

Autocomplete

Although common on smartphones and perhaps Google search, this is the first we’ve seen on an IDE. Once your code structure is recognized by CodeLobster, it drops down a list of methods which you can choose from.

Autocomplete of functions comes in a easy-to-use drop down list

Debugger

Useful for both the seasoned veteran as well as beginner, the PHP debugger allows execution of scripts incrementally. As the script runs you’ll be able to view exact values that are being computed and passed down.

The database connection

There’s almost never any code that doesn’t make use of a database nowadays and CodeLobster has built in connectivity for this. The SQL manager can do almost anything you’ll need with a database, even execute queries.

Remote deployment

Once your code is tested and ready, you can make use of inbuilt FTP support to move your code over to a web server. Then, any further changes can be made directly on that server if necessary.

Other nice stuff to have

This includes pair highlighting, possibility of blocks selection, collapsing, tooltips, navigation on descriptions of functions and included files at withholding of the key of CTRL, viewing of structure of files and project, preview in a browser, book-marks, and all other standard possibilities for work with a code.

CodeLobster Supports in WordPress, Joomla and Node.js 

With the myriad options that web developers face today, we will focus on two very popular Content Management Systems (CMS) supported by CodeLobster, namely WordPress and Joomla. Also brought into focus will be support for node.js which is a JavaScript runtime built on Chrome’s V8 JavaScript engine.

1. WordPress

Synonymous with the term blogger, WordPress allows users to focus less on code than on how they want to present their site. It’s free and according to W3Techs, used by more than 28% of all websites.

This is where it gets a little bit interesting. Rather than a simple plugin that gives some WordPress functionality within the IDE, CodeLobster has practically built an entire WordPress environment into their plugin.

From scratch, you can install a local version of WordPress including even the database that you’ll be using, all using a Wizard. Just fill in the blanks.

While coding your site you’ll benefit from the autocomplete feature that offers pop-up function completion. Of course, there’s also that same built-in syntax help so you won’t have to scour the web for assistance.

If you’re not building from scratch, CodeLobster has a WordPress Theme Editor that lets you visualize your site as you’re editing the code. It’s like the WYSIWYG system that WordPress itself offers as previews.

2. Joomla

Next to WordPress, Joomla is another popular CMS that allows users to focus on presentation rather than coding. Naturally this means that it’s also a big thing for developers and also included in CodeLobster’s extensive list of plug-ins.

As with WordPress, the Joomla plug-in offers developers an entire Joomla-specific type IDE that allows for instant local site creation with database support.

Where WordPress comes with widgets, Joomla has its modules which the IDE allows creation of easily. A help wizard drives all of this, so even for developers there’s little coding necessary except for specific design requirements.

3. Node.js

As a JavaScript runtime, node.js has become also invaluable for web developers today. It’s especially well liked since it’s both lightweight and efficient. Given how well it’s received, the node.js ecosystem is one of the largest open source libraries available today.

CodeLobster works well with node.js and offers autocomplete for classes, libraries and methods. It also comes with that useful dynamic help that’s so context specific.

Pricing and the Competition

Many premium IDEs today come at exactly that; Premium prices.

Take as an example Microsoft Visual Studio that’s built for (of course) C/C++, VB.net, C# and F#. Prices for that range from $49 per month all the way to an annual fee of a whopping $2,999 annual subscription.

There are free options available such as netbeans, but none that come near CodeLobster in terms of the number of features that are on offer.

CodeLobster is priced based on a freemium model.

This means that that basic application is free, but more functions can be accessed for a paid version. It comes in free, LITE and PRO versions. The free version comes with the editor, inspector and debugger.

For a slight bump up to LITE at $39.95, you’ll gain access to FTP/SFTP support, the SQL manager, node.js support as well as a few other functions. The PRO version is the real deal and that is where you’ll get the enormous plug-in package.

For $99.95, CodeLobster turns into every developer’s dream IDE with everything included. Every single plugin that supports a variety of frameworks and systems are there and the list is comprehensive:

  • Angular
  • Backbone
  • CakePHP
  • CodeIgniter
  • Drupal
  • jQuery
  • Joomla

  • Laravel
  • Meteor
  • Phalcon
  • Smarty
  • Symfony + Twig
  • WordPress
  • Yii

All prices for upgrades to CodeLobster are one-off payments, it is not based on a subscription model.

Conclusion

PROS

  • Comes in portable format
  • Extensive framework and CMS support
  • Constant improvements

CONS

  • First time users can be overwhelmed

CodeLobster PHP Edition is in fact an extremely powerful and versatile IDE. While it may come on a little too strongly for some, we feel that offering more and giving users the option to just use what you need is far better than making them pay every inch of the way.

According to Stanislav Ustimenko, Project Manager at CodeLobster, the biggest advantage their platform offers is special support for many popular frameworks and CMS – and we agree.

We’ve been tracking the progress of CodeLobster for quite some time now and noticed that this is one IDE that is constantly getting new updates. Not only that, but updates that seem to take into consideration real user feedback such as the inclusion of drag and drop file features.

The guys at CodeLobster have also vindicated this feeling since they’ve informed us that we will be looking at a multi-platform version coming out within the next few months.

In the words of fan and developer Ruslan Kuliev, “I love Codelobster PHP Edition since it is a great free PHP, HTML and CSS editor. It has all functionality needed for my work – tooltips, highlighting and advanced autocomplete. It even has autocomplete for SQL”.

Learn more: CodeLobster.com / Download

Article by Timothy Shim

Timothy Shim is a writer, editor, and tech geek. Starting his career in the field of Information Technology, he rapidly found his way into print and has since worked with International, regional and domestic media titles including ComputerWorld, PC.com, Business Today, and The Asian Banker. His expertise lies in the field of technology from both consumer as well as enterprise points of view.

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