In the new NetBeans 6.1 release, we have an early-access release of PHP editing support. This is very similar to to the process we went through last year, when we were adding Ruby and Rails support to NetBeans. With the PHP support, we're leveraging what we've done already to support dynamic scripting languages in the IDE. We're taking that same functionality, and making that available to those using PHP.
With the Ruby support we provided an early-access version, and received a lot of very useful feedback. That helped us to shape what the ultimate end-result would be, which you can see in NetBeans 6.0. We are hoping that we'll be similarly helpful feedback with the PHP support as well.
With Ruby, we really wanted to support Rails at the same time also, because a lot of developers use Ruby in order to write Rails applications. With PHP, we'll be supporting PHP programming in general. There are several PHP frameworks and tools people use, and we're not focusing on any of those in particular. Rather, what we're trying to achieve is to implement an excellent PHP coding framework that can be targeted to a variety of PHP development tasks. Again, we're very interested in receiving community feedback, because that's how we'll learn what specific focus our PHP support needs to have.
What we're trying to make especially easy with the PHP tooling in NetBeans is a local deploy of the application. We don't yet have the ability to deploy to a remote server, but we're looking at that now. We also don't yet have a way for you to deploy your PHP application onto a Java app server, using one of the Java PHP implementations, such as Coucho, that brings an interesting angle and is analogous to JRuby.
There are also some new features in NetBeans 6.1 that make it easier to work with MySQL databases, a common tool for PHP programmers. The "I" in IDE stands for integrated, and we're trying to make the development workflow simpler with this integration. Technically speaking, that's not part of deployment, but it's part of the developer workflow, of being able to touch things and systems that are outside your code. Starting and stopping the server, creating and managing databases, those are what we provide now. We also integrated the MySQL admin tool into NetBeans as well.
Frank Sommers is Editor-in-Chief of Artima Developer. He also serves as chief editor of the IEEE Technical Committee on Scalable Computing's newsletter, and is an elected member of the Jini Community's Technical Advisory Committee. Prior to joining Artima, Frank wrote the Jiniology and Web services columns for JavaWorld.