Eclipse vs NetBeans for PHP Development

I was happy Eclipse fanboy for quite a long time, and I can say that I still am. I like to try out new things, but this IDE was doing perfect job and I stick to it for PHP development. But few months ago I have tried NetBeans 7.0, and boy, after few hours it felt like home. At the end of the day, with all respect to Eclipse, I decided to switch.

I will try to compare this two, but before we start I must say that they are both very good at what they do, and no matter which one you choose it will do great job for sure.

Eclipse VS NetBeansFor this test I used:

  • Eclipse for PHP Developers (Helios Service Release 2)
  • NetBeans IDE 7.0

Getting Started

They are both simple to install and run (maybe because they are written in Java). They are free and they both work on Linux, Mac OS X and Windows.

You can download Eclpse from, copy it and run, no installation required.

NetBeans on the other hand requires installation (download), but it is a simple wizard.


One of the Eclipse big advantages is configuration. It’s very configurable and you can adjust almost everithing. A number of options are available and many of them can be overriden on project level. Configuration process sometimes can be boring and painful. Useful thing is preferences search so you can easilly find options to configure.

NetBeans options are better organized, but unlike Eclipse there are fewer options to set.  So you can quickly get started and there is almost everithing you need, but some advanced options that Eclipse have are still missing. Great thing is that all settings can be exported into a zip archive!

Eclipse preferences window

Eclipse preferences window

NetBeans options window

NetBeans options window


Eclipse provides solid source editor. It supports code folding, code completion, navigation, mark occurrences, bookmarks, configurable syntax colouring, task tags, code templates…

NetBeans source editor provides you with similar features, code folding, code completion, navigation, code formatting, macros, mark occurrences, bookmarks, configurable syntax colouring, task tags, code templates…

Both editors are great, with tabbed view which can easily be maximized and syntax highlighting for many file formats other then PHP. There are find and replace on file, project and custom level, with regex support. I like NetBeans default syntax colouring, it just looks better, but that’s more a matter of taste, you can roll your own in both IDEs. Eclipse has block comments, which are missing in NetBeans where line comments are available. Eclipse miss macros, they save me a lot of time in NetBeans for example when preparing twig templates for translation. Of course, you can do that with Emacs, but if you do, maybe you don’t need an IDE at all. :)

Code Completion

With eclipse, code completion can sometimes be pain in the ass. For example, if you import existing project (from File > Import menu), PHP code completion will not work (right way is to first create new PHP project). There are also some cases when completion is lost in factories, but that is sort of expected behaviour. Other than that, it works fine, but sometimes have some styling issues for completion description (see picture below). One cool Eclipse completion trick that can’t be used in NetBeans is ability to get completion for short class names, e.g. type “IAE” and you’ll get suggestion like InvalidArgumentException.

One of few things that I liked in NetBeans was ability to define return parameters as array of objects (@return MyClass[]), and then when I call my method and iterate over returned array, I got completion on array elements. It also plays nice with PHP 5.3 namespaces, which is not always the case with Eclipse.

Eclipse code completion

Eclipse code completion

NetBeans code completion

NetBeans code completion


Eclipse provide navigation through PHP explorer window where you can browse project file tree. In navigation menu you can open method, type, resource or task. There are back and forward navigation as well as named bookmarks. In the outline window there are listed methods, properties, html tree… depends on file type. Outline is well highlighted, sortable and connected with editor.

Main navigation in NetBeans is implemented through projects window where source files and include paths can be browsed. From navigate menu file, type, symbol or test can be opened by typing in search popup. There is also back and forward navigation and bookmarks. In navigator window methods and fields are listed, similar to one from Eclipse.

Eclipse navigation

Eclipse navigation

NetBeans navigation

NetBeans navigation

Code Formatting

I used Eclipse for Java development before PHP, and I was very disappointed when I realized that there is no code formatting for PHP. In PHP > Code Style > Formatter, there is only tab policy and indention size setting.

In NetBeans formatting works right away, no additional settings required. And it worked just like I need it. It’s default coding style exactly matches my needs. And more then that, it is pretty configurable. Options are devided into several categories: tabs and indents, alignment, braces, blank lines, spaces and wrapping. So, you can change almost everything.

Eclipse code formatting setup

Eclipse code formatting setup

NetBeans code formatting setup

NetBeans code formatting setup

Hands on Keyboard

Eclipse have very configurable keyboard shortcuts, but a bit strange default keymap profile. You can choose between Eclipse default schema and Emacs.

In NetBeans they go a bit further, there is even Eclipse keymap profile. :) Looks like they want to make switch for Eclipse users easier. Personally I prefer NetBeans shortcuts. There are also Emacs and Idea profiles and you can come up with your own.

Version Control

By default,  Eclipse have build in CVS support. But there are plugins like Subclipse and EGit. I never liked those plugins. What was especially annoying is ugly diff viewer. Other dark side of Subclipse plugin is that it always runs commit with –force option.

On the other hand, NetBeans have built in support for Subversion, CVS and Mercurial. There is also plugin for Git. This is second feature I liked in NetBeans and I use it every day. Especilly diff view which simply rocks. Whenever you change file, there is a marker on the left side which you can click for quick diff view. Commit window also have “Update Issues” option which you can use to close or update issues in bugzilla or JIRA, all within one window.

Eclipse diff viewer

Eclipse diff viewer

NetBeans diff viewer

NetBeans diff viewer


Eclipse supports Xdebug and Zend Debugger (never tried last one). They both support local and remote debug. To setup Eclipse for debugging please check this article. Setup is a bit complicated and I find it very boring. But after you make everithing work, you will probably like it. There is a debug perspective, which will initialise all necessary windows with most common debug information.

NetBeans supports only Xdebug, but it is very easy to configure. There is an excellent debugging instruction on Debugger is pretty stable and it works fine. One problem I noticed with it, is that it cannot step into call_user_func for example. Other then that it works just like one from Eclipse.

Eclipse debug session

Eclipse debug session

NetBeans debug session

NetBeans debug session


If you like test driven development, it is a good productivity trick to integrate PHPUnit into your IDE. Running tests with keyboard shortcut will save you time and depending on IDE of choice you can have some other advantages.

If you want to integrate PHPUnit into Eclipse IDE, I suggest to take a look at this article. As you see, no native PHPUnit support, but you run it as external tool. You can run tests and get output in Eclipse console window.

NetBeans have native PHPUnit support and you can configure it from project properties. Test results window has nice coloured output with status icons as well as text output in console window.

Running tests in Eclipse

Running tests in Eclipse

Running tests in NetBeans

Running tests in NetBeans


You would probably need one more life to install and try all Eclipse plugins available. There are really many of them and that is the big advantage of Eclipse above other IDEs. Starting from version control, database tools, code management to UML and web services zillion of plugins are available.

NetBenas also have a plugin support, but there are less plugins available. On the other side there are more things working out of the box then in Eclipse, so basicly question is will you ever need a plugin. The only plugins I used with NetBeans are twig and git plugin, which will probably be shipped together within default installation of NetBeans in the future.


Eclipse have startup time of 20 seconds, after that time it gets about 150MB of your memory and counting. I had troubles on Windows, it use to freeze frequently for no reason. I spent hours tweaking it and disabling some of its validators. This problems are visible on big projects only. Looks like it performs better on Linux (for me), it’s more responsive then on Windows.

NetBeans gives impression of lightweightness with 15 seconds startup time. But it also gets about 150MB of memory. After startup it needs less then minute to initialize, index…and after that it’s blazing fast. Some say it can make problems on big projects which can be solved by disabling scan for external changes, but I didn’t notice such problems with multiple big projects opened at the same time.

Which One is Better?

As I said at the beginning, they are both very good and picking one over another will probably be the matter of taste, rather then any specific criteria. If you like robust and powerful IDE you will like Eclipse. NetBeans goes for simplicity and lightweights. I prefer NetBeans because it gets things done, everything just works without configuration and additional setup, so I can focus on coding rather then dealing with IDE.

Final Word

This was a small comparison, I skipped many advanced features, many things are just mentioned, some of them still not tested, and there will be new stuff in versions to come. I switched from Eclipse to NetBeans, that doesn’t mean that it’s better, I just find it more suitable at the moment, especially PHP 5.3 support for my new projects.

No matter which IDE are you using for every day development, I encourage you to install and try Eclipse and NetBeans. They both have hidden treasures which can make your development easier and more agile. Feel free to share your impressions in comments, which IDE do you use, what are their benefits, maybe some other then this two. I heard best about phpDesigner, PhpStorm, Komodo…but many of them are not free.

That’s it, thanks for reading and feel free to comment and share tips about your favourite IDE.

  • Skatox

    I switched from Eclipse to Netbeans since NB 6 (like 2-3 years ago). I like how netbeans is simple and does things right, i found netbean’s code completation more intelligent than eclipse and Xdebug is easier to configure.

    I recommend Netbeans over eclipse but it’s just a personal preference.

  • Jesús David Zapata Betancourth

    I use netbeans long time ago. Yes, it is slow for big projects, and should not be used in netbooks, or not too powerfull laptops/pcs. I use it for PHP projects, using Zend Framework and it is amazing. Some times I give a look around for some other PHP IDE in order to get a better support for Zend, or improved performance, but I just can’t find another, at least not for free.

    Anyway, I feel glad with netbeans.

    I’ve used eclipse for some android development. I tried it for php/zend framework development, but it feels strange when you come from Netbeans… the run configuration seems a little bit complex… well, I guess I just need to get used to it. But I feel eclipse has better performance, it starts fast enough with big projects, and its indexing feature does not freezes it.

    • Borisbadinov51

      I’ve tried a lot of PHP IDEs. I bought PHPDesigner, but somehow could never really get used to some of its quirks. I tried Eclipse, but it was just oo big and too complicated – and too slow. I used Netbeans and really liked it. But then I tried PHPStorm and have found that it does everything I need, does it fast, and is easy to use. Highly recommended.

      • Manu Ashok

        i am a PHP newbie trying my first implementation through Netbeans. Can anyone help me with how to create/publish a wsdl file in netbeans. All i could gather so far is that netbeans allows us to create wsdl of .java files only.
        Please Help!

  • Sal

    I switched from NB to PDT for 2 main reasons:
    1. It doesn’t have any key to load php online manual. With version 6.7-6.8, i created the php manual search plugin, but i can’t keep on updating it on every version of NB.
    2. It still has bugs while debugging.

    With PDT, i have all that and more!

    From version 6.9, NB has returned to be a valid Java editor and it seems that the developers have abandoned the PHP side (the originale php developer aint working for sun/oracle anymore). If you look at the last versions changelog, you will notice that they only added frameworks to the installation package and really no big improvements.

    • Anonymous

      I respect your decision, but I must disagree in two things:

      1. When you type a PHP function in NetBeans, you get function description with reference to (see images attached).
      2. I posted four bugs to NetBeans issue tracker, all of them were fixed within several days, I was impressed.

  • Gafitescu Daniel

    I use switched from Eclipse to Netbeans some time ago and never look back.

  • a b

    Similar way to mine, but I’m on the next stage – just switched to PHPStorm from Netbeans. This is really how PHP IDE should look like.

    • Anonymous

      I heard good things about PHPStorm, but it is not free :)

      • Arvids Godjuks

        Actually there is a way to use it without paying for it – the Early Access Programm:
        Ofcourse there is a downside – you essentially become a tester and you have to update it all the time. But hey, I have been on EAP for 7 months before I have bought the licence and never had an issue with the IDE witch prevented me from doing my work (especially if you do not update the instant new EAP is out and wait 2-3 days).

        But really, it costs less that 100 EUR for personal use and there is free licencing for open-source projects and education facilities. And they have 50% discounts for all major worldwide holidays (3-4 times a year) – had my for 46 EUR and licence update costs around 50 EUR – that’s cheap as hell for that kind of product.

        • Anonymous

          Thanks for all the info. That sounds really great. However, the goal of this article is to compare two major free IDEs.

  • Ben Wallis

    I prefer Nusphere PhpED – version 6 just released today :)

  • Nebojsa

    Netbeans is great, only thing I hate is ugly java gui

  • Polyanin

    remote system explorer in netbeans needed

    • Anonymous

      You want to access files from remote location in NetBeans? Wouldn’t that slow down things? Why would you need that feature?

      • Polyanin

        for fast execution of minor works that do not require the creation of the project

        • Anonymous

          Ah, that is ok. I use text editor for that.

  • Chad Kieffer

    I switched from Eclipse to Netbeans for similar reasons. At the time I switched, Netbeans was superior to Eclipse for JavaScript development and provided out-of-the-box support for YUI and jQuery code completion. Netbeans was slow to fully embrace Git support, but I’m happy with the plugin that’s available with version 7.

    Also worth mentioning is Netbeans Rename feature which makes renaming variables and functions a snap (even updates phpDoc @params). Integration with Zend Framework and symfony is also quite nice.

    • Anonymous

      Oh yes, variable rename is killer feature, I like that one too :)

  • Miha

    thanks for this article, very nice comparison! i too switched to netbeans a few months ago because eclipse was annoying and very slow sometimes. i love netbeans because of its configuration and code completion. one thing i did not manage to do is to setup phpdocumentor in netbeans( i have it working in eclipse)….

  • Rabab3h

    some of developers in our team use Eclipse but i use Netbeanse with subverstion
    NOW the problem when i comment my code the formatting of code one the netbeans is defferent on eclipse

    do you have a solution to be the formatting on tow IDEs the same

    • Anonymous

      I guess you are talking about whitespace control. I suggest you to make a convention in your team. For instance, specify to use spaces instead tabs, and that tab expands to 4 spaces. You can have control over that in both IDEs.

  • Anthony W.

    You are all chumps, VI for the win.

    • Anonymous

      VI is nothing more then a text editor, we are talking about IDEs here.

      • Mschnide

        VI is also a PHP-IDE, if you could configure it:

        • Anonymous

          Wow, that’s cool. But still @Anthony said VI, which is far from Vim which is again an text editor by definition On the other hand, Vim on steroids can be called an IDE :)

          • Mschnide

            About your arguments: Netbeans without php-plugins is also only a text editor for php.
            Today VI means always VIM and not a extended ED or SED. You could also use jedit or notepad++ … my 0.5 cents …

          • TheGooch

            I admin Solaris 10 fairly these days, and trust me, VI doesn not always mean VIM.

    • Carles Codony

      Vim and Netbeans user here. I agree, you can use vim as an IDE, but code completion for custom classes in Netbeans is a big help, and it’s something that I don’t see any vim plugin is able to do. If it wasn’t for that and Netbeans integration with phpunit and xdebug I would use vim over Netbeans.
      Still, if you want to edit text the vim way in Netbeans there’s a plugin called jVi that can help a lot. Be careful though, there can be conflicts between Netbeans and jVi shortcuts.

  • Lyn_s_scott

    Good, I like netbeans for PHP, Better look and fast… plus support for frameworks (symfony and Zend), I hope they add Yii and Codeigniter support too..

  • Ahmad Shukr

    recently i use Netbeans with openjdk it was too slow( on ubuntu ) , but i change the JVM to sunjdk , the performance of the Netbeans change to better , today i feel it like using gEdit in performance !

  • Grzegorz Drozd


    I think you should try PHPSTORM. It has all the best features of Eclipse and Netbeans. I know that is not free but private license costs only 84 euros and very often you get the promotion on their website. If you are programming in PHP professionally, it’s not a big price for a professional editor to accelerate your work.

    Best Regards

  • thiromi

    Netbeans doesn’t requires instalation at all. Just select “OS independent ZIP” and be as happy as with Eclipse

  • Stas Ustimenko

    I prefer Codelobster PHP Edition (
    It is free and fast PHP IDE that has many plug-ins for many frameworks: Drupal, Joomla, CodeIgniter, Yii etc.

    • Anonymous

      It only works on Wnidows and plugins you mentioned are not free.

    • Anti-codelobster

      This codelobster guy is a spammer. He posts on every page talking about php IDE. He’s like a f*cking bot ¬¬

  • KR

    In most cases (for Java development) I end up using NetBeans for reasons similar to those you outlined in the end – being more productive, getting stuff done. The only thing I disagree with you is RCS support: On one side, Eclipse (3.7) comes with Subversive which just works out of the box. And, another feature, I then and now in Eclipse make use of the “compare to…” – feature which allows for comparing virtually everything to everything else (local projects to working copies, in example). This somehow works in NetBeans, but compared to the Eclipse tooling it’s rather clumsy and not really usable.

  • Guestos

    thank u for the objective comparison.

  • Sidney

    Great article.
    NB is the best for PHP. (IMO)


  • Ventzy

    After few years of using Eclipse, I switched to Netbeans. I didn’t wanted, but my Eclipse started to crash and slowed me down as my project grew. I was skeptical about Netbeans, I have been tried NB before and didn’t liked it. Now, I am using NB 7 for few months and don’t miss Eclipse. At this point Netbeans is better choice for me.

    And my fear that “conversion” from Eclipse to NB will cost me time and effort was not true. Sure, there were few google searches and some differences to get used, but it was surprisingly easy. I continued to develop minutes after Netbeans installation.

  • Horsarias


    have some one used embarcadero rad php ? I have not but it seems to have visual gui creator (vast toolkit) and an excelent primate framework

  • Kotmus2002

    I always had a problem for adapting to an IDE, tried many but nothing worked. I used Notepad++ for PHP development for almost 4 years and was very comfortable with it. But just 5 months ago I switched to Netbeans and I have never looked back. Its very comfortable to use and it provide all the features which suits my needs. So again, its matter of taste.

    Highly suggested to try it once.

  • lekat

    Great article! I’m installing Netbeans now on my Ubuntu machine. I’m using CodeLobster in Windows by the way.

  • lekat

    Great article! I’m installing Netbeans now on my Ubuntu machine. I’m using CodeLobster in Windows by the way.

  • lekat

    Great article! I’m installing Netbeans now on my Ubuntu machine. I’m using CodeLobster in Windows by the way.

  • Michael O’Connell

    I haven’t spent a lot of time with netbeans, but I just switched to phpStorm from Eclipse and am really delighted.

  • hotrod

    Thanks for the CodeLobster tip. I love NetBeans, but have a situation where my code base is on a remote file system, and it takes forever for NetBeans to scan the files (actually, it has never finished performing a scan), and without the scan NetBeans is little more than a heavy editor. Under identical conditions, CodeLobster started up quickly, provides most of the same functionality as NetBeans. It does what I need it to do, so I’m a happy camper with CodeLobster. Prior to reading this post, I had not heard of it. I like it so much, I may actually purchase the Pro version, and I seldom do that.

  • John_vales

    Why do people tend to ignore the big elephant in the living room. It seems to me this whole article revolves around “FREE” php editors which is not fair because it shouldn’t even be an issue; the issue should be just straight out what’s the best editor. But the big elephant is called TORRENT. I’ve used Zend, Dreamweaver, all of them and I am kind of settling with PhpDesigner. You don’t need to spend a dime to use these. How can you guys call yourself computer (or programming) gurus if you don’t know how to get [important] things for free (even more so.. COMPUTER! software)? I don’t care how much Zend costs, I think you have to compare it evenly against Netbeans and Eclipse. Anyway, I think Netbeans is better than Zend studio, but PhpDesigner is probably better than both of those. Like Mr. umprisky said, its a matter of taste, I guess.

    • Tommy

      Hi, you’re a douchebag.

    • Jay

      Hey, you should read the article before touting your BS. This article may seem to you to be an “article about FREE php editors”, but it is not.
      Why do you say something like “I don’t care how much Zend costs, I think you have to compare it evenly against Netbeans and Eclipse. Anyway, I think Netbeans is better than Zend studio”?! Why did you bring Zend Studio up at all?!

      People who make their living being computer/programming gurus have no interest in pirated software, that’s for small fries like you.

      • John_vales

        I think you are right… I’m not a professional and I don’t do it for a living. I just program on my spare time for fun. But I guess If you were a professional you wouldn’t be messing around with pirated software. So what are the free ones? Netbeans and Eclipse as full IDE’s, then you got a bunch of good text editors like notepad++ and emacs. I’ve used netbeans and eclipse, and they seem laggy as hell even though I have 4GB of RAM which is standard now days…. eclipse was a little slower I think. I’m a reasonable guy, I think Jay made me realize that I am just small fries lmao that was awesome.

      • derpy


    • Dsfd

      Computer gurus don’t need to pirate software to get work done. Only small time, two bit jerks like you, do.

    • Dsfd

      Computer gurus don’t need to pirate software to get work done. Only small time, two bit jerks like you, do.

  • zzion

    I only know Netbeans 7 and that really is a bad IDE. Slow as hell, refactoring and svn integration is a joke compared to Eclipse. Only stay with it because the glassfish and JSF integration is smooth but I think I’ll switch back to Eclipse when I can’t stand waiting a minute for a code completion anymore.

    • Anonymous

      Which machine/OS? I find Netbeans faster then Eclipse.

    • A name

      you have good experience

  • AlexanderG

    Working with Netbeans for Java, PHP, JavaScript and CCS (+MySQL data viewing). It is amazing.

  • Ssda


  • Fernando

    Awesome! it’s very clear and easy to under stand,thanks..

  • Fernando

    Awesome! it’s very clear and easy to under stand,thanks..

  • Fernando

    Awesome! it’s very clear and easy to under stand,thanks..

  • Anna Harris

    Thanks for the great information. It’s very informative and inspiring.

  • Xylene2301

    Eclipse is aptly named. The dawn never comes.
    I switched to Netbeans for PHP dev and now I’m actually getting some work done and not just fighting the IDE.

  • PHP Developer India

    Great Post. Thanks!!!

  • kode

    Good and comprehensive look on the both IDEs. I want to add a comparison list of shortcuts for NetBeans and Eclipse.

  • gal

    i’ve been using eclipse for a while (at the beginning for java, and next for php). afterwards i changed to netbeans after testing it – just seemed better.
    A few days ago i actually decided to test PHPStorm. I wasn’t expecting much of it, but now i know i’m not going back to netbeans. The PHPStorm is much faster, especially the autocomplete, which can take a while in netbeans/eclipse. everything seems much smoother, and when properly configured it is the best/fastest option for me right now.

  • Homer Dong

    I switched to Netbean 7.1 weeks ago after being tortured by PDT and Zend Studio for years and I suddenly realised I should have made this move earlier. To put it simple, Netbean is easier to config, if there’s any config needed, much more stable and much much faster. I would never go back to Eclipsed based solution if there’s a Netbean alternate.

  • Collegians AtHome

    netbeans rocks

  • martin kaden

    PHP is a great language for developing websites, and there are a number of ways in which it can be used to create attractive web pages and web applications.

  • Jóni Batista

    I usually use Eclipse for JEE and Android development but when it comes to PHP I’ld prefere the NetBeans IDE, it’s more suitable for PHP requirements :)

  • Rafal

    I find it as well more useful to use Netbeans than Eclipse. In my company all of develpers use Eclipse – apart from me obviously. Think is because they didn’t ues Netbeans before.. I did Eclipse i will never use it again

  • Georgi Ivanov

    I Just want to add that the NB IDE is much easier to maintain. Actually I personally never did it, simply because I never had any problems with it. All works smooth and easy. Even the updating is quite simple. You just hit the update button and it does it’s job in the back ground. Next time you start the IDE it loads the new modules (which consumes 3 – 5 seconds extra) and you’re ready. The Update runs in the same time for all the stuff you added as plugins, so One hit = fully updated system. And all for free! The support of the newest JDK’s is always good as hell (I use it primary for java developing, but have also some nice php projects). The thing I loved in the NB IDE, when I first tried it for PHP, was the code completing and tracking. Never though I will have so fast methods to search back code fragments, methods etc. (even in PHP projects that weren’t mine).
    For example I loaded a folder with WordPress files directly from the host. There were also sub-folders for sub-domains with their own WordPress installation. In result I had 3 absolutely the same projects as code, but they were separated by domains. Now just guess what happens when you hit the CTRL+ SPACE combo to auto complete: You get three exactly the same funcs but classified by projects and sub projects which was god damn easy to navigate.

    Now imagine how you edin 3 same projects on different subdomains – edit one and you can easily fix the rest with several clicks. Write once, use everywhere!

    For web developing we should add the testing – you can get testing tools including Apache tomcat which install with 2- 5 clicks. So for no more than 2 – 3 mins you get fully functional IDE with Integrated Testing system and server. So you write the code, then hit the Run button and VOILÀ! the page is displayed in your default web browser fast and easy. You can even integrate it with MySQL for more advanced work. And all this on your local machine.

    Just imagine how you Create, maintain and watch how your site works fine and you are able to fix it fast as hell because you know exactly how to and where to search.

    Last thing to add:
    NB IDE 7.1 now supports file exchanging system which means you can easily connect it to your host (if you do not store your site files on local machines) and upload all changes with one click (sorry – two one right click for menu and one for pressing upload to host). You can even connect the IDE directly to your host, so the changes will affect the files the same moment you hit the SAVE button. Now imagine how this affects your work when you have to be in Tokyo today for a presentation and tomorrow you have to be in London to get some things fixed. Also the Versioning system can be integrated to your host which provides you with code tracking and version control all around the world (if you have internet access ofcourse). May be this feature is not used from all and perhaps is more useful for more advanced users, but for me this was essential. Before I had to use remote connections and some kind of shared services and stuff. Now everything is on one repository and I can navigate, back up, restore, and use it each second I need.

    NB IDE is just the best free MULTI lingual IDE you can get. (C++, Java, PHP, Scripts, CSS, HTML, XML) Imagine and invent!

  • Mircea Stanciu

    Hi, I am using both in PHP and JAVA developing. To be honest, I prefer to work in netbeans.
    PHP debug with NB+XDebug is a pain in the butt.
    Java debug works like a charm.
    Maven implementation on both is very nice done.
    I like in eclipse the flexibility to import a project.
    I had nasty suprises with maven plugin after an update in eclipse. I had to reinstall all.

    I think at the end… it comes to personal preferences. Mine are 60%NB, 40%Eclipse.

  • sheR

    Thanks a lot! It was really helpful and interesting!

  • lorenzosjb

    I switched from NB to Eclipse and I love it. One of the reasons I switched is because there is no support for Zend Server and Zend debugger.

    • Indra

      Hi lorenzosjb do you know how to install zend in windows xp. please if you know please help me.

      • hilo jack

        NB does support Zend debugger!!!!

  • Gbennie


  • soxnboxers

    Thanks for the comparison! I thought about trying out Eclipse but following your explanation I don’t see any real big advantage so I guess I’ll stay with netbeans. Cheers!

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  • HausO

    is something like NB but not based at Java?
    i used Dreamwaver for long time and still using sometimes because it’s much faster.
    Imho this is a cost of java base so i’m looking for something good as NB but not java based

  • AbiusX

    I have 5+ years of Eclipse experience. Used Zend Studio for PHP dev (its based on Eclipse) and Aptana and Eclipse+PyDev for Python. C++/C, Java, Ruby also done in Eclipse.

    Today I switched to NetBeans. I really love Eclipse and the fact that its for professionals, but on PHP it sucks. Zend Studio is too heavy, it requires almost 1 GB of memory and consumes 30% CPU constantly. It has nice features not available anywhere else, but I’m a geek and I have 10 huge apps running all the time (16 GB memory).

    Also the code completion in Eclipse lags, and it really annoys me. Subclipse sucks big time, I dont use it.

    Oh I’m on a Mac. Eclipse sucks on Linux if you’re using OpenJDK. its damn slow. Use native Oracle Java instead.

    Aside from PHP, I love eclipse. I also use eclipse for php regularly, but the functions I need are in Zend Studio and its expensive and huge. Netbeans is a go.

  • Kawaljeet Singh

    I have been using Eclipse for developing PHP web applications and reading your content i found interesting that Net Beans gives me a better IDE. So i will start using the Beans

  • BartWillemsen

    I use NetBeans for all my Java and PHP development. It’s a great IDE and easy to use and set up. Eclipse confused me with the many configuration options available, it might be a little bit more flexible then NetBeans but I don’t want to search for 1 option for half an hour.

    NetBeans might not have as many supported languages as Eclipse, but the languages NetBeansdoes support are all working very well. It has high quality code completion and other language specific features where in Eclipse this might lack, although this depends on the plugin.

  • Ram

    Thanks for the gr8 comparison!

  • Ayushjain


  • Jereme Thomas

    I have been using Eclipse for Java development for years. I’m on the hunt for a PHP IDE and sounds like NetBeans is worth trying. Thanks for the information.

  • ASP.NET Development Company

    This is pretty important post for everyone who wants to job in a Program Development Company. One of my friends searching job for a while, so I should refer this post to him for his future.

  • GusDeCooL

    After i update to netbeans 7.3, i prefer back use eclipse.

  • CodeLurker

    +1 NB. I used to use Aptana, but there is no web preview. Aptana is based on eclipse, so I tried it. It seemed like with both, it would get really slow when I had a few moderately sized files open. Eclipse has web preview in some EE version, but it’s not very complete. Not that this is a critical feature. I tried Jedit, but it has very poor code completion. NB knocked it out of the park; although I didn’t know if it was serious about PHP at first. Its Web Preview plugin gives you a working PHP server that works both in NB and from an external broswer; once you specify an external php.exe. They are doing interesting things with debugging in Chrome, tho I have been avoiding Chrome. This is a recent development, so they are serious about PHP. Good code completion (although a bug makes you press ctrl-space to get html attributes in PHP currently). The code completion, once you get it, will give you full definitions of tags, like Aptana when you press help. It also gives you excellent HTML and PHP error detection. It has a simple version control system built-in by default, so I really don’t even need version control software; although it supports many. It works with ZenCoding. One needs unrealistically huge files to make it bog down. I would like to be able to specify which files are in a project, but its project manager gets the job done for me. It doesn’t hard wrap lines, but that’s its biggest oversight I’ve seen so far. CSS support appears robust and extensive. Working FTP uploader with initial directory. In short, IMHO, I’ve tried just about all the freeware PHP editors except for getting VIM and emacs greatly customized to do the job on Windows; and I’d say it isn’t even close. NB all the way. I didn’t think I’d like it at first, ’cause I thought it was mostly Java oriented; but the PHP NB package is for real.

  • Dns

    I have used Zend, Eclipse, Netbeans, Dev-PHP, Codelobster, PhpEd, PhpStorm. The best imho is Netbeans from the free alternatives and PhpStorm from the commercial versions.

  • Phuc Tran – Allen

    What is IDE?

    • Johl

      Intelligence Deficit Entity

      • Phuc Tran – Allen

        Why isn’t it Integrated development environment ?