PHP Development on a Mac

On October 18, 2008, in Articles, by Michael

Earlier this year, I made the transition from PC to Mac and can honestly say that I wish I would have done it sooner. Having been a life-long PC user, I seriously doubt if I’ll ever “want” to purchase another PC again. The scary thing is, I know that I am not alone. It’ll be very interesting to see how the “Mac vs. PC” war unfolds for future generations. (For the record, I have two kids, both of which know how to use a PC & a Mac. While we would like to encourage one over the other, that in itself may prove to be a handicap in the future. )

Also, I still run a copy Windows on my Mac (Thank You Parallels!), primarily for MS Money since there is no Mac version and there really is no viable substitute in my opinion. Having Windows around is not a bad thing either when you need to do some development testing. :)

Which brings me back on topic…Mac & PHP Development…and yes, it is pure development bliss!

Now don’t get me wrong, PHP development on Windows can be done well, and when you have everything working together seamlessly, it is pretty satisfying.

These are the applications I commonly used when I developed in Windows:

  • Nusphere’s PHPEd (Probably the best PHP IDE for Windows)
  • Web Server (On Windows, I usually just installed Apache & MySQL by themselves. However, there are many packages available today that can do this for you; Nusphere TechPlatform, WampServer, XAMMP. etc.)
  • Cygwin
  • Putty
  • Navicat (The best MySQL GUI)
  • WinCVS (A really good CVS GUI)
  • Python (Used by WinCVS for some of its macros)
  • CSDiff (Hooked into WinCVS for great looking diffs)
  • …and a small collection of other applications that I can no longer remember…

And these are the applications I currently use in Mac:

  • Coda (Everything I wanted in a PHP IDE)
  • Web Server (While Mac has a built in web server and even more granular control of the applications you install, I chose to use XAMMP for it’s simplicity.)
  • SmartSVN (An excellent SVN GUI. They also support CVS with SmartCVS)
  • Navicat (The best MySQL GUI)
  • Transmit (The best FTP / SFTP client)

Even though I needed a lot Windows applications to setup a good development environment, it served me well for many years. Most of the ModernBill versions and the early stages of dnZoom were developed in this environment.

That being said, now that I have had the chance to do develop in a Mac environment, I really do wish I would have made the switch sooner.

Now I know. :)

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2 Responses to PHP Development on a Mac

  1. Delighted i ran across this amazing site, will make sure to save it so i can check out often.

  2. Paul Hudson says:

    Everyone seems to be using coda… It has some little annoyances for me. Like the key combination to publish to http://FTP... option+cmd+p – I don’t seem to be able to change this.  Also, there isn’t a open file window when defining the url in backgroud css tags so you have to enter it manually.

    That stuff might have options to work round but I can’t seem to find them :-(

    I’m still looking for alternatives to coda.

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