What Developer Tools we use at Sugar

sugarcrmdevelopers —  September 7, 2011 — 6 Comments

One question I’ve often been asked is what tools I use in as a part of developing SugarCRM. A developer’s choice of editor or IDE is almost like a motorhead’s choice of car; everyone has an opinion and each opinion is valid for one reason or another. It’s always interesting how one comes to that choice; sometimes it’s ease of use, sometimes familarity, other times it’s how much time it saves you, and even once in a while it’s because some tool has burnt you in the past and you swear off using it for good. Whatever the choice is, rest assured there’s always an opinionated reasoning behind it.

We are Sugar are overwhelmingly a Mac shop, and we use Git ( and GitHub ) for version control, but past that we don’t put any restrictions on what tools our development staff uses on a daily basis. Recently an e-mail thread went around our technical teams asking what editors or IDEs they use. Here’s what people said:

I recently dropped my beloved Zend 5.5.1 for Netbeans.  I went with Netbeans because after 3 months of testing it proved to be the most stable and fastest between Eclispe PDT, Aptina 3 and Netbeans.   I didn’t test any commercial ones however. 

In my opinion Netbeans

  1. Was the best for debugging, I generally don’t like debug as much as zend_debug but netbeans uses debug best I thought.  It exposes all the underlying parts of debug and it has a FireFox plugin so its very easy to start and stop debugging and conditional breakpoints were very easy to code.
  2. had a GIT plugin (that I really haven’t figured out completely yet)
  3. had a really nice smarty plugin that adds syntax highlighting to smarty templates (t/l files.

PHPStorm is what I use, and know many others as well.  Here’s a helpful getting started on debugging with PHPStorm: http://blog.jetbrains.com/webide/2011/03/configure-php-debugging-in-phpstorm-2-0/

I’m using Zend Studio (eclipse-based) but PDT with either ZendDebugger or xdebug should work just as fine. Another alternative would be using PhpStorm/xdebug which should be fine too.

Full fledged IDE:

+1 for PhpStorm with debugging on Mac and Windows

I also use PhpStorm for remote debugging on Linux Vms with both Xdebug and Zend Server.

I don’t know about Zend Studio but I have also used Eclipse with PDT and Netbeans. Both do work fine but are relatively slow and I haven’t seen the productivity of PhpStorm. PhpStorm’s GIT integration is also very useful.

Quick edits and var_dump/die debugging:

Mac: TextMate (or vim in-terminal)

Windows: Notepad++

Linux: Geany (or vim in-terminal)

IBM I-series: hammer and chisel (closely followed by an archaic version of vi)

And for me? I’m a big fan of jEdit for it’s powerfully simplicity, syntax support for just about any language on the face of the planet, and it’s ability to run easily on any platform I work on. It even runs well inside a VM, which I often use for working under various versions of Windows and Linux distros.

How about you guys? Feel free to sound off in the comments on what you are using and why.

6 responses to What Developer Tools we use at Sugar


    I’ve run Eclipse and Zend Studio, where the debugging interface felt clunky. I had some minor issues debugging in Netbeans, but the editor itself was very fast and clean. I use NetBeans in my Ubuntu VM from time-to-time.

    Main editor is PHPStorm, which I picked up after seeing a handful of Sugar folks using it at SugarCon this year. It’s been great, and I have only a few nit-picky complaints that don’t affect usability. Notepad++ for quick edits where I don’t need debugging.

    I will say that while the GIT integration in PHPStorm is very good, I’m inclined to use a more native console-based GIT tool for certain operations (git init, git add., checkouts, branching), I feel there is better control and it’s definitely faster.

    I’ll mention my dislike for a particular IDE, the Windows-only PHPed never impressed me.


    My IDE are both Eclipse and NetBeans (the latter is actually for Java development), but I use them only for debugging purposes.
    On Linux, for PHP development I use GEdit (but at this point I’m going to test JEdit) and SVN (where we store our packages) with rapidSVN as GUI interface.
    On Windows I use Notepad++ (for PHP, usually when I connect to Customers via RDP) and Visual Studio when I work on C#.
    When I work on SugarCRM’s repositories on gitHub I use CLI (from my Linux machine), editing files with GEdit (maybe JEdit, in future !).

    My physical machine runs Linux (Ubuntu 10.04 x64, I’m too poor to own a Mac !!!) : here I only manage mail and documents. All the development stuff is distributed in a number of Virtual Machines (both Linux and Windows) managed by Virtual Box.


    I currently use Sublime Text 2 for Mac. It is really proving to be an excellent editor. The main thing I like about it is the code scroll preview and the fact that it imported all of my TextMate snippets and bundles with ease.

    I am going to check out PHPStorm though for debugging. I just wish it was more mac native and not java. But, I guess we can’t win them all. 🙂

    Sublime Text 2 gets my vote for a quick editor though. I’m liking it more and more every day.


    TextPad. Simple but gives me the must haves.


    Currently i use Codelobster PHP Edition – http://www.codelobster.com

    It is free PHP IDE with all necessary abilities including support of many frameworks.


    I use Netbeans with git plugin. Switched from Eclipse to Netbeans out of reasons I’ve forgot 🙂

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