A good, well designed, development tool can provide a huge productivity 
boost over an editor if it's used properly.  And I don't mean 
auto-generated code by this either.

Right off the bat, any good development tool will have code completion 
abilities, which are basically the programmers version of nix consoles tab 
completion.  This little feature alone helps save time by reducing the 
amount of typing required, not to mention can virtually eliminate type-o's 
in function or variable names.

Another basic feature any good IDE will have is a built in library of all 
php functions so that you can view the function along with all its 
arguments while your typing.  Need to use a rare function and can't 
remember the order of the arguments it requires? Having this feature 
eliminates the need for you to go look up the function to check this 
trivial item.  Additionally a good IDE will automatically read in the 
definitions for functions and classes you have defined in the current 
project and automatically add them to the above mentioned items.

These first two things are immediately obvious to even first time users and 
will speed things up, but the real benefits come from other items such as a 
integrated debugging tools, performance analyzers, a good class browser, 
and built in database connectivity.  If you're working in a team 
environment having an IDE which has built-in support for a content 
verification system can also be a huge advantage.  Again, these features 
will only benefit someone who knows how to use them.

Unfortunately I have yet to find a truly good PHP IDE.  The two best I've 
found to date are NuSphere's PHPEd 3.0.0 (which unfortunately has dozens of 
minor, but annoying bugs) and the Zend IDE (which is very nice, but it 
crawls on anything but the fastest systems).  If either of these fix the 
for-mentioned issues I'd be the first in line to purchase them.

At 06:07 PM 7/10/2002 +0200, Uwe Birkenhain wrote:
>I think that - on windows - nothing is better than textpad
>Simply the best editor the world has seen so far!
>What makes development tools better than a good editor? (serious question)
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