One of the thing I enjoy about my profession is the dynamic aspects of creating new sites and systems. There is never a dull moment. Things are always changing. My tools are the backbone of my work and I’m always looking to improve them and always open-minded to change for the better. That brought me to looking at CodeLobster.
CodeLobster is an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) with many avenues of support. Whether you’re a WordPress, Drupal, or Applications developer, CodeLobster has something for you.
Let’s break this down.
A Comfortable Setting
The very first thing I always do with a new IDE is to look through the color schemes and themes. It was no different with CodeLobster. I had a choice of multiple styles of color schemes. White backgrounds. Dark backgrounds. I even found some familiar IDE schemes such as Zend, NuSphere and Sublime.
What better way to attract people than to make it familiar? I also found some other familiar features.
I often times will highlight a word to see where else it is. This has saved me from missing a typo more than once. When you highlight a word, or group of letters, it will highlight all the matches in the current file.
I was able to delete and duplicate lines and highlighted blocks of code.
Code folding is there. It picks the usual places for your to fold. Functions, classes and control structures.
Code completion is almost a must. The designers did a great job of incorporating an Intellisense system into the editor. I was able to hover over functions and classes and get a full explanation of the layout with a description.
Bookmarks and comments are something I use on occasion. CodeLobster offers both.
These are just a few of the many features CodeLobster has to offer.
File, Class, and Project Explorers
Something I find a must is a project view. Loading up a folder for my project and having an isolated tree is a must. I was not disappointed. Aside from the ability to load and save a project, I could also deploy a new Magento site, WordPress installation, Drupal Installation, and much more.
The class view was a bit more than I expected. I thought I would see the class breakdown for the current file. Instead, I was given a breakdown of the entire project functions, classes, variables, traits and interfaces. It was a nice surprise.
The file view has all your variables, functions and classes for your current file.
Other views also include an Explorer, SQL, Drupal and more.
Debugging is something that is a must. Even if you’re building a small web site, sometimes it helps to see what the web server is seeing. CodeLobster has debugger support. There are break points, stepping, and the play/stop controls.
Version control is also something that is a must. You’ll find support for GIT, SVN, TortoiseSVN, and Mercurial. Simply head to the settings and you can set up your basic version control settings. I had the GIT command line tools installed, so I just pointed it at those and things worked fine.
A few years ago, I got use to Sublimes map on the right. I find it very convenient with larger files to jump down to sections of code. I didn’t expect to see that in CodeLobster, or any IDE, but there it was. It’s a bit different from what I am use too. Instead of having a highlighted area to drag around, you just point to a portion of it and it jumps to that line.
I miss Beyond Compare. I found it to be a very useful file comparison tool. Unfortunately, I do not have a license at the moment. CodeLobster stepped in and helped with that as well.
Now and then I invent new words for myself. Configurability is one I came up with a while back when I was talking to a coworker about how flexible an application was. CodeLobster has a lot of views, windows, boxes, blocks, panes, etc. The Project/File/Class window has a plethora of other options as well. There are To-Do windows, Debugging, Errors, Logs, and more. To the right is your Map, References, Help and more.
You can float windows, dock them, close them and move them around a bit. I was able to easily put together a comfortable work environment for myself with little to no constraints.
Plugins and Language Support
I was happy to see WordPress, Magento and jQuery on the list. Those are the frameworks I use the most. I was also happy to see a handful of other familiar frameworks. Joomla, Drupal, Laravel and AngularJS.
I’m use to either dishing out $200+ and so much per year, or having to pay monthly for a license. CodeLobster comes in a bit cheaper and maxed out at $99. There are three levels to choose from:
Free – Basic editor functions.
Lite $39 – Gives you more IDE functions.
Pro $99 – Gives you plugins that give you framework-specific IDE functions.
You can even upgrade from Lite to Pro.
They have a support link and a forum on their web site. The forum seems active and they do respond to inquiries, help requests, and even feature requests.
Areas for Improvement
The 4K screen support isn’t bad, but the icon sets need updating. They said this will happen this year. You can navigate around and work just fine. The toolbars are a challenge at times, but the tooltips fix that.
The errors window is great, but I’d like to see a more intuitive error handling/reporting mechanism inside the editor itself. It highlights things, but you’ll need to refer to the errors window for more information.
Should I purchase it?
If you’re looking for a good IDE that works well with a few of the standard frameworks, CodeLobster is a great choice. It is complete and fits any budget. You’ll find it comfortable and familiar, ready to use “out of the box”.
You may want to start with the free edition and see if the editor fits in your comfort zone, but I think you’ll find it covers all your needs.
CodeLobster has a strong foundation of things every developer will want and need. You can preview, debug, manager your database and manage your repositories. Its a winner that is well supported and well developed. I would put on the list of winning IDE’s without hesitation.