There's been a fair bit of talk about PHP IDE's of late. That's not surprising given how useful they can be. (Really, folks, vi can only take you so far.) Most of the attention has been focused on the big boys: Eclipse and its derivatives (both free and commercial), Komodo, and NetBeans. Eclipse and NetBeans are both Java based, and Komodo is based on Mozilla's XUL platform (which also runs Firefox and company). I've been bouncing between them for a while, and haven't really been satisfied with any of them. I usually refer to Eclipse as the one I hate least. :-)
There's a new contender to keep an eye on, though, that is worthy of notice: KDevelop.
Yes, KDevelop, the KDE IDE. Although it focuses mostly on C++/Qt development for developing KDE itself, it does have language bindings for a number of other languages. While PHP has generally not been one of them, one of the KDevelop developers (Milian Wolff) has been working on PHP support for the upcoming KDevelop 4. It's already looking pretty far along, too.
More to the point, Milian has graciously posted detailed instructions on how to download, compile, and use the bleeding edge code. There are some gotchas along the way, but even as a non-C++ developer who avoids compilers like the plague I was able to get the dev versions of KDevelop and the PHP plugin running without too much hassle. (Be sure to see the comments in that thread; they're very helpful.) So far I'm reasonably impressed. It's very clearly still development code and has a ways to go yet, but it's usable development code.
So where do you come in? What's the resource in the least supply on most open source projects? Testers! Even if you don't know C++ or Qt the project could use people trying out and testing the code. Find and report bugs, file feature suggestions, and even post patches if you're one of those strange people who is fluent in both PHP and Qt. (I know there's a few of you out there in Drupal land, and Milian is a Drupal user himself. Time for some inter-project cooperation!) All those things we are always begging users and testers to do on our projects, let's try and do (and do well) for this project.
Why is KDevelop PHP support so important, when we've already got so many PHP IDEs out there? Well for one, to be honest they all suck. Zend Studio 5.5 is the only PHP IDE I've used to date that I don't actively dislike for some reason, but it's effectively dead at this point. For another, KDevelop is written in C++/Qt and compiled to native code. OK, OK, I know the old "Java is slow!" arguments have been largely answered over the years, but let's be honest; Eclipse is still dog slow, and when last I used them Komodo and NetBeans were not much better. Whether due to the language or not, a faster IDE is always a good thing. For me in particular, I use KDE as my main desktop so having an IDE that uses all of the GUI tools that I already have loaded rather than loading up the entirety of SWT or XUL is good for performance as well, and gives a much nicer UI and integrated desktop experience.
And because open source survives by active support, and projects that support PHP should be actively supported. :-)
Let's see if we can help the KDE project help us.