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July 16, 2014

Installing PHP Storm for Development

Thought by FFW,

I’ve been searching for the “perfect” IDE for a very long time now (more than 20 years), I’ve seen some that were really close but not cheap, some were free (eclipse) but lacking, I was looking for everything but the kitchen sink. Well, I believe Jetbrains has come as close as anybody has so far with PHPStorm, still can’t turn on the hot water but almost anything else you can think of is here. It boasts version control integration, a debugger with logging and a profiler. If you’re running Php5.4 it can launch the built in web server for debugging, ftp capability, a database browser, as well as a terminal and ssh sessions, an event log, Vagrant and Composer integration, deployment capabilities, a tools window, and lots of editor tweaks and configurable key maps, it’s also phpunit aware. At only $99 for individual developers, what more could you want?

Installing it may be a bit daunting, so I hope this discussion will help you tip toe around any gotchas, there are a couple:

Go to and download the free trial Click on the PhpStorm-7.1.3.dmg file in your downloads folder to mount the disk image Click and drag the PS icon into the Applications folder as you would any mac application.

I usually drag the app to my system tray as well which allows me to launch the app just a little faster when I'm working. When you first launch an app under Mac OSX, you get a warning, " is an application downloaded from the internet. Are you sure you want to open it?" Just click open and the app will present you with a dialog allowing you to import settings from a previous version of PS. Since we don't have a previous version, we're simply going to click on the second choice which is, "I do not have a previous version of PS or I do not want to import my settings."

Now we are presented with a license dialog with the following choices:

i.) enter license data

ii.) enter license server address

iii.) evaluate for free for 30 days

We are going to choose the 3rd option for now and click “ok”. Then we are presented with the license agreement screen, click the checkbox to “Accept all terms of the license" and click “ok”.

Now we are presented with the PS initial configuration dialog. For the Keymap scheme you have the choices:

i)Mac OS X 10.5+

ii)Intellij IDEA Classic - MAC OS X


iv)Visual Studio

v)Eclipse vi)Eclipse (MAC OS X)

vii)NetBeans 6.5

Choose whichever you're most familiar or comfortable with.

The next select box allows for the IDE theme selection, either Default or Darcula. Darcula has preset editor colors and fonts. If you select Default the next selct box offers:











To help us select what we would like there's a link to "Click to preview". Let's click on that to help make our choice and we can choose the one that appeals to us the most. Clicking on each of the the above color/font schemes will give us a preview in the window just below if you've clicked on the "Click to preview" link. Default is the only version that's colors on a white background, all of the others are a dark background. I personally like Cobalt, so that's my choice. You can also use the app's preferences menu item to change your selection later so it's not going to be a major problem if you decide later that your original choice stinks.(It happens to the best of us.)

There's also a checkbox for "Enabling opening files and projects from the command line", which is probably a good idea. Then it asks for a script path which is a symlink that PS will create to provide the ability to launch the app from the command line, it reads "/usr/local/bin/pstorm" on my instance, it may be different in your instance. You could change it now to however short you'd like but ps is NOT a good idea because on linix/Mac ps is already a very valuable utility and you will get it instead of PHPStorm, so pstorm (what it suggests) is short enough for me.

Now we are presented with yet another dialog box that declares "IDE appearence settings will be applied after restart. Would you like to restart now?" Let's click “yes” now and see what our IDE looks like the way we chosen to have it configured.

Finally, we are presented with the PHPStorm start screen (with the theme we selected applied). Recent projects will be empty as we haven't done anything with it yet. The quick start part of the dialog contains:

Create New Project

Open Directory

Create New Project from Existing Files

Check out from Version Control


Docs and How-Tos

Let's explore each of these choices by the numbers:

1) Create a new project presents us with a dialog to name the project, asks us for a directory to store our new project in, with a browse button next to it to help us, and what kind of project it is.

This last select box has the following:

Empty project

Composer project

Drupal module

App Engine project

HTML5 Boilerplate

Twitter Bootstrap


It asks for the project name first and offers a dialog to browse to the folder you would like the project to live in.

2) Open Directory does just that, it presents a window to choose the directory to open.

3) "Create New Project from Existing Files" gives you several options, such as:

Web server installed locally, source files located in the webroot

Web server installed locally, source files located elsewhere

Web server is on remote host, files are accessible via network share or mounted drive

Web server is on remote host, files are accessible via ftp/sftp/ftps

Source files are in local directory, no Webserver is yet configured

4) Check out from Version Control asks from which type of version control to check out from:






5) Configure slides to the right and gives you the options for:







6) Docs and How-Tos gives the options for:

Read Help

Tip of the Day

Default Keymap Reference

In conclusion, it may be a bit intimidating to install PhpStorm, but I think it’s worth it, especially if you’d like your IDE to be all inclusive, like the integration that this one offers.