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On The Go Coding with PHPanywhere

By PHP Builder Staff
on September 4, 2009

There is a plethora of different PHP Integrated
Development Environments (IDEs) available for the developer,
with many of them available for free, but not many of them
address one issue–the ability to access and use your choice
of IDE when you do not have access to the application on
your local machine.
PHP developers, just like most IT professionals, are often
on the go, working from various locations. You could be
working in your office one day, at a conference in a remote
location the next day, and from a client’s business office
the next. When you don’t have your trusty laptop with you,
even if you have access to someone else’s computer, quite
often you may not have all the tools you need to finish up a
last minute project while you are on the go. A new SAS
(Software As a Service) application called PHPanywhere is
designed with the on-the-go PHP developer in mind.
PHPanywhere is not just a stand-alone IDE, it’s designed
with project collaboration in mind. With a built-in FTP
client and syntax editor built right in, it makes this tool
uniquely appropriate for developer teams as well as
individual programmers. Best of all, it works directly in
your web browser!
The first thing you need to do is register on
the PHPanywhere.com website. It only takes a couple minutes,
and you’ll need to click a verification link in the email
which you will receive a few minutes after you register.
Once that’s done, you can login and you will be presented
with a welcome screen that will allow you to start a new
project, add an FTP server and begin working.

Click here for larger image

Once you’ve added a new project by clicking the Create link
in the drop down button in the left hand pane, you’ll want
to setup the web server that is associated with your new
project. In my case, I added a project called WVP, and added
an FTP server (in the same way using the drop down button)
that contains all the files associated with my WVP project.
The FTP Server feature enables you to change file
permissions on all of your files, as well as the ability to
add, create and delete directories. All in all, it’s a
decent browser-based FTP client that’s built right into the
By clicking the plus sign next to the FTP Servers button in
the left pane, I was presented with all the directories on
my selected web server (you can add as many servers as you
wish using the FTP server feature). I was then able to
double click on a PHP file within a directory on my server,
and that PHP file was then opened in the syntax code editor
in the pane on the right side of my browser window.

PHPAnywhere Project
Click here for larger image

The Syntax Code editor features, among other enhancements:
  • color coded syntax highlighting
  • code indention
  • find and replace
  • “smart indentation” for each language used within the file
  • undo/redo
  • unlimited tabs so you can have multiple files open at the same time
  • line numbers
  • code auto completion
Given that you may be working with a team of developers,
PHPanywhere’s real-time document collaboration enables
multiple developers to work on the same project without
having duplicates of any of the files in your project. A
handy message window is shown at the bottom of the browser
window that tracks the changes that you’ve made.
The tool also allows you to personalize the look and feel of
your PHPanywhere environment, including the ability to use
different skins for both the application itself, as well as
the code editor. It also allows the developer to select the
default encoding, which includes encoding such as:
  • West European
  • East European
  • East Asian
  • SE and SW Asian
  • Middle Eastern
  • Unicode
Each of these encoding formats include most of the
associated sub-formats for each main format, including such
formats as, for instance, such as Unicode – Unicode (UTF-7).
PHPanywhere is currently available for Opera 9+, Firefox,
Camino, Seamonky and MSIE 8, with additional browser support
coming soon!
It’s free, it’s browser-based, can be used anywhere you have
internet access using a password protected browser session,
and includes project collaboration features. Give it a try
and you’ll soon find yourself adding this tool to your
developer toolbox!
by Scott Clark