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Recommended Software

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PHP Programming

IDE: Zend Studio
Although not free or open source, Zend Studio is the definitive PHP development environment. As well as all the normal features you'd expect from an IDE with built-in debugging and excellent code completion, it comes with an extremely useful code analyzer that picks up potential errors or problems in your code that you may have missed, and phpdoc (see phpDocumentor below) support that helps you to document your code. Well worth the money.

Code Documentation: phpDocumentor
Now supported by Zend Studio, as well as usage in the PEAR archive, phpdoc is the definitive code documenting format for PHP, based upon the tried and tested documentation format used by javadoc and its many counterparts for other languages. phpDocumentor allows you to quickly and easily generate easy-to-read documentation for your code that is ideal for use as a reference, for yourself or for others working on the project.


Web browser: Mozilla Firefox
Firefox's tabbed browsing and easily switchable themes make it ideal for anyone to use, while its extensions and support for recent web standards make it ideal for more advanced users. Popular extensions include a Google toolbar, web development toolbar as well as advanced ftp and irc chat clients.

Email / News client: Mozilla Thunderbird
An easy-to use email client with built-in junk mail detection, mail filters and everything else you'd expect from a top class email client. As with its sister project Firefox, its themes and extensions make it ideal for anyone from a first time user to a heavy user.

IRC Chat client: Xchat
An easy to use IRC client with easily configurable color schemes, Xchat also includes support for several popular programming languages that are easy to learn and use (unlike the scripting languages of some IRC clients).

Operating System

Debian Linux
An excellent Linux distribution with an easy to use package manager, Debian is my chosen distribution because its Testing release is an enjoyable balance between a stable system with the latest packages available. Its longer than usual release cycle is testament to its preference of stability, security and freedom over getting people to buy another boxed edition.