I’ve always been curious about web-development software but I’ve never actually gotten my hands dirty with anything other than HTML or Flash before.

It’s, of course, impossible to have been in software development and not have picked up bits here and there, but I’ve never actually tried to doing anything even moderately interesting web-wise with PHP nor even CSS.

This weekend I spent a bunch of time learning about them ( plus mySQL and the Wordpress API ). I’ve always been impressed by how relatively simple the web-browser is but then how much infrastructure goes into making web sites. I’m even more so now actually having played with it a bit. Its quite simply a whole other world apart from game development.

More than the language of PHP and CSS I’m curious what people’s work flow is like. Just like knowing C/++ doesn’t automatically mean you would know how to write Windows apps well, “knowing” some of PHP and CSS now, I’m curious how people apply that knowledge day by day to efficiently get work done.

Some examples:

  • Do people generally setup development locally and then upload when they are done?
  • Do they work remotely, terminal style?
  • Are most people developing with XWindows or the like to mitigate the terminal pain?
  • Are there auto-complete style editors for PHP? How about embedded Help?
  • How are bugs tracked down in PHP? [ My technique was to simply edit ( in some cases locally, in some cases remotely, in some cases via chris pederick’s awesome firefox extensions ) and see what broke / worked but that makes you miss the compiler error-checking step. ]
  • How in the world do people view the cascade of styles that formats any particular line? Or worse – any particular blank space on a page? ( it took me 2 hours to get rid of 100 pixels… grrr.. ) How are those styles “traced back” to the lines of source that created them?
  • How do you view web-sites, or pieces of them, “flat” ( many pages in one view ) so you can see how changing styles and scripts affect the layout across the whole site?

Note: its been about 10 years since ive actually had to do anything productive with a unix server but I’m happy to say I still remember my way around ok-ish. I wish i remembered my emacs keys though. I think I’m way too bonded to Source Insight for my own good. I’m sitting here using pico and was just about ready to put my eyes out.

I did try out PHP in Eclipse but i have to say – eclipse keeps giving me strange errors. I love the RCP concept but eclipse *is* rather unfriendly to get setup. It hasn’t for me run right out of the box. I wanted to try out PHP in NetBeans as well but it didn’t seem to recognize the language – maybe I was missing a plugin?? I will say, although Source Insight’s parsing of PHP, especially HTML embedded PHP, sucks horribly it was still better than Eclipse – at least I could look up / jump to functions without having to get my PHP interpreter properly configured.

That’s it for now.