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Using Zend Studio for PHP Programming
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In version 6.0, you are initially presented with a welcome screen, shown below. Choosing one of the links to start a new project brings you to the main development window, as illustrated below when running the Debug Demo.



Zend Studio 6.0 - Welcome screen
Figure 3. Zend Studio 6.0 - Welcome screen

Zend Studio 6.0 - Debug demo
Figure 4. Zend Studio 6.0 - Debug demo

With this new Eclipse version, the user interface has an appearance that experienced users will likely consider cleaner and less busy — with initially six fewer toolbar icons than before, although there is one more menu item. The colors are lighter now, and gives the interface an overall more elegant look. Space is saved by locating window-specific toolbar icons in the same ribbon as the window's tab, thereby reducing the icon clutter under the menu bar.

Before creating any project, or working with an existing one, you should probably make an effort at setting your preferences. These can always be adjusted in the future as you learn more about the product's capabilities and how you want to make best use of them. In version 5.5, these are accessed via Tools > Preferences. As shown in Figure 5, you can set preferences for Zend Studio's desktop, editor, code completion, colors and fonts, debugger, Zend Platform, keymaps, file types, templates, source control, dialog boxes, and SQL. For instance, programmers who have already internalized an extensive list of personal keystrokes for the many actions they perform within their favorite editor, will be able to set and save those same keystrokes within Zend Studio's editor. Unfortunately, unlike some editors, it does not support multi-part keystrokes (for instance, using "Ctrl+G L" to go to a line).

Within the Preferences > Dialog panel, you can indicate what Zend Studio dialogs you wish to see. Lastly, the SQL panel allows you to specify such settings as whether to use the LIMIT keyword, the maximum entries per page, and others.

Zend Studio 5.5 - Preferences
Figure 5. Zend Studio 5.5 - Preferences

In version 6.0, preferences are accessed from the "Windows" menu. With this Eclipse version, there are far more preference options — more than can be discussed here. In general, I found the version 5.5 options to be more straightforward and less overwhelming; the significantly greater number of options is no doubt a result of the product being based upon Eclipse.

Zend Studio 6.0 - Preferences
Figure 6. Zend Studio 6.0 - Preferences

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