The ultimate text editor for any PHP developer, Sublime Text is full of helpful productivity tools right out of the box.  You can do multiple columns/rows/windows per project, multiple cursor placement, custom key-bindings for everything, and much more. My absolute favorite feature is the package manager, which allows you to easily install and manage third-party plugins with a wide variety of functions.

Here’s a few packages I’ve been using (find more at

  • phpDocumenter (create professional, robust php documentation using PhpDoc)
  • Alignment (easily align your variables and values in an aesthetically pleasing block)
  • PHP Completions Kit (forgot the parameter order for explode() again?)
  • Automatic Backups (keep a backup of everything you type, save, or open)
  • Retro Computer Themes (currently using the Nintendo scheme)
  • Bracket Highlighter (highlights opening/closing brackets and tags)
  • LastModifiedIndicator (a clear visual indicator of where you last edited a file)


This dependency manager for PHP is a “must have” for projects using multiple third-party libraries.  Simply create a composer.json file in your project root, run a single command, and all your dependencies are downloaded ready to use.  Thousands of packages are available through

Git/SVN/Version Control

This is a no-brainer–every development team should use some form of version control.  Collaborative coding becomes much easier when you’re not stepping on each other’s files, and being able to roll back to any old version you might need is a lifesaver.   I recommend Git for ease-of-use and shallow learning curve, but any version control is better than none!

PHP Debugbar

Send your debug information to the browser’s console window.  Quit var_dump()ing everything already — looking at you, Jpop.  This is similar to FirePHP but does not require FireBug and is quite a bit easier to get up and running.  Honorable mention to Monolog, which lets you send your PHP debug information anywhere you can imagine, though it is quite a bit more complex.


A handy and well-written PHP class full of fake data for you to use — names, addresses, Lorem Ipsum—the works.


Very useful PHP Geocoding library that hooks into multiple Geocoding providers, such as Google, Bing and MapQuest.


Directus is a content mamangement framework built in PHP that can change the way you receive, strategize and organize content. Build your content tables in SQL as you normally would and Directus does all the work. You could even build a front-end around this and use it as a simple PHP CMS.

Authorize.Net Abstraction Class

This is a very well written class for handling payments with PHP using their AIM API.  It only does AIM, so while limited, it’s very straightforward and easy to use.

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