Friends, I'm sure the post would be a heck of a lot funnier if instead of "How" I would write "Why", but I'm sticking to "How" for .. now ;)
The Eclipse Platform is an open extensible IDE for anything and yet nothing in particular. The Eclipse Platform provides building blocks and a foundation for constructing and running integrated software-development tools. The Eclipse Platform allows tool builders to independently develop tools that integrate with other people's tools so seamlessly you can't tell where one tool ends and another starts.
The cool words here are "Extensible", "Anything" and "Nothing" which is great news all over for generic lovers everywhere :) . So we can use the Eclipse IDE to write Java out of the box but there are projects that allow us to write things in other languages (like C/C++, Python, Perl, Ruby heck, even Gramps) , but what I'm really interested in is, obviously PHP and that's taken care of.
What they say :
The PHPeclipse project aims to create a full featured PHP IDE with features like internal PHP parser, debugger, code formatter, outline view, templates and much more.
And it works too :) , the installation is a breeze, especially if you go with the Eclipse Update Manager, which installs the current stable version of PHPEclipse (instructions are here), but it's equally easy to install the latest CVS builds, you just download them and unzip them all over you Eclipse dir ... how nice is that ;)
What has it done for me ? Well, I code faster, I actually write more comments (even if mostly to say bad things about my code, or how cool things could be if I had more time, etc etc), Eclipse helps me manage the gazillion files my projects usually generate and, if one day I get off my chronically lazy bottom, it will even help me, gosh, this is so exciting, DEBUG my apps (var_dump, I'm gonna miss you ;) ), although, ever since PHP 5.0 came out, my debugging needs have dropped tremendously, mostly because I really enjoy my Objects and PHP 4.0 made SUCH A MESS of references that you could write a book on the subject of sleepless nights searching why the hell a certain object was, apparently, forgetting WHAT it was ... ufff, thank you PHP 5 and can I have PHP 6 now (damn namespaces, I need you :) ) .
Well, I use the Subversion plugin (One Click Commit (tm) ;) ), JSEclipse plugin, XMLBuddy, errr, what else, I have AnyEditTools, the C/C++ Plugin and I've recently installed the Web Standard Tools and I've been meaning to try the UML plugin, but then again, I've been trying to use UML for a long time but keep falling back to SAAOP (Squares and Arrows on Paper) every time, so I guess it's just one of those things ;) . As a simple note, everything EXCEPT XMLBuddy can come through the Eclipse Update Manager platform, so it's easy to install and update ;)
I know a blog is not the best place to discuss things, but post a comment or better yep, a post on your blog with tracking back here saying either how you use Eclipse or how you write your PHP (yeah, notepad works great , very l33t of you ;) )