For people who are lazy to read, the answer to the question, “Is it worth to try NetBeans 6.8?” is Yes!
As you may know I try to migrate my development to the NetBeans environment and while doing so, I’m trying to unify all my development needs to it too. This includes subversion, coding, issue tracking, web server, project specific “wizards” and tests. As of NetBeans 6.7, we had unified subversion, coding and testing environments. With PHPUnit, code coverage and test results support, this integration was pretty flawless, even there were some lacking points. For example, I had to include my library path to the php include_path in order to make require_once commands work. PHPUnit has support for a bootstrap argument for bootstrapping the required attributes. As of 6.8 M1 this function works really well. But the improvements on PHPUnit support does not limited to this. It also includes some changes to the code coverage info. Instead of looking to executed line counts, it counts the executed statements, which gives you a better view of your code coverage. Check here for the full details.
So from now on I have started to look for issue tracking integration. Sadly I’m not using Bugzilla, so I cannot use the inbuilt issue tracking system of NetBeans. But just like Ecplise has Mylyn, which is pretty cool, NetBeans have Cube°n! Currently you can create a local task (or ticket) or connect to Jira or Trac. Connections are pretty easy (however you have to install trac’s xmlrpc plugin in and allow privileges in order to use this plugin) and It’s just like trac, on the comfort of your IDE! I was not able to find how to save queries however but I’m sure that this is something I was unable to find. Just a note, you can also install Cube°n to 6.7 too.
Another thing was wizards! Oooh, yes, wizards! Such cool things! Currently, Netbeans has only support for PHPUnit wizards. As of 6.8, we will see the Symfony integration (the most voted framework!!!???). Even I’m a Zend Framework user as you may have noticed, even if I try to push the netbeans guys to support ZF too, ZF support is on hold. However ZF has it’s own wizards the only thing missing is the IDE integration. If you want to see ZF supported in NetBeans and don’t want to pay a lot of money to Zend Studio 7.0 please vote here.
Also some more notes, Netbeans also contains PHP 5.3 support including closures, lambda functions and namespaces. That’s a good step too as the new version includes really huge improvements (just like we have entered into a PHP 6 early stable dev release). I suppose the coming months will take a lot of times to implement namespace issue to our code legacy code base and migrate old web sites to new PHP settings.
Anyway, that’s it for now, I know it was not much and very deep but it’s better than nothing. I suppose NetBeans will be far more better with each passing months and as the release date of 6.8 is approaching (end of november), I will keep using the new milestones and try to keep you up to date on my experience with NB 6.8 (Also I may add some comparison to Eclipse PDT too, as I have liked a lot Mylyn:)