A complaint that I have with pretty much every programming language manual I’ve ever read, is that they almost never start by telling you how to get the tools you need. Sure, they tell you how to install the basic compiler or interpreter for the language, information you could easily discover by following the first Google result. But they don’t tell you where to find the tools that every experienced user knows about and uses every day, but which don’t come with the standard language distribution.
Today, as part of my ongoing notes on learning PHP, let’s talk about a few of those essential tools for PHP. I’m going to give Windows installation instructions, not because it’s my favorite, but because that’s the one platform most “how to install” pages seem to skimp on. If you’re on MacOS or Linux you should have no problem finding equivalent instructions.
First off, you need a PHP runtime. You can get this as part of an all-in-one package including a Web server, databasek, and the kitchen sink, such as XAMPP. But you don’t need all that just to start fiddling around code examples.
Using Chocolatey to install PHP is as simple as:
> choco install /y php
You should now have a command-line PHP executable.
> php -v PHP 7.1.4 (cli) (built: Apr 11 2017 19:54:23) ( NTS MSVC14 (Visual C++ 2015) x64 ) Copyright (c) 1997-2017 The PHP Group Zend Engine v3.1.0, Copyright (c) 1998-2017 Zend Technologies
Now you need a package manager in order to easily install open-source PHP libraries and tools. The de-facto PHP package manager is called
composer. It is the equivalent to
pip for Python.
> choco install /y composer
> composer g require psy/psysh:@stable
On Windows you’ll probably need to start a new terminal window before you can use the
> psysh Psy Shell v0.8.3 (PHP 7.1.4 — cli) by Justin Hileman >>> 1 + 1 => 2
And that’s it for now: PHP, package manager, and REPL. If you know of any other “must-have” dev tools for PHP, let me know in the comments!