Installing the original Aptana 1.5 PHP Plugin in Aptana 2.0

With the release of Aptana 2.0 the Aptana developers decided to drop their excellent plugin in favor of PDT. The reason behind this move can only be reduced down to huge amounts of alcohol and/or illegal drugs because – one must admit – the PDT plugin is a pure joke. Luckely there is a way to install the old Aptana PHP Plugin into Aptana 2.0 🙂

Saddened by the move to PDT many of the now unhappy users, such as Adam Patterson who has a good blogpost on the subject, have been looking into an alternative yet have found none — at least none which is free. Yes, Zend Studio is a great alternative but that baby will cost you about an arm and a leg; 399 euro worth of arm and leg to be precise. I myself have no problem into buying it myself as it is a great tool, but the technical university I’m teaching at cannot justify total the cost of coughing up the money for the 100 needed licenses as they will only be used for about 3 hours per week during only 1 semester nor can I enforce my students to buy it themselves.

Image by Smashing Magazine

Having sought other free alternatives I ended up most happy with the new Netbeans 6.8. However, it’s not perfect: Netbeans 6.8 clearly has some work to do in order to catch up with the original Aptana PHP plugin, yet I found it better than PDT in terms of use (the ease of creating a new project for example) and features/support (Intellisense/autocompletion and PHPDoc support that work). The – to me – missing feature in Netbeans 6.8 is the lack of an internal debugger. Nearly every time I showcase a bit of code to my students I run it through a debug session. I know, Netbeans 6.8 supports XDebug, but that plugin is a bit too good to the beginning PHP developers: one notice will inject a truckload of HTML with stacktrace and everything related to it — that’s not needed for the newbies as they need to learn to code and debug PHP on a plain PHP install.

Back to Aptana, I’ve used a few Google Coupons and found a way to install the original Aptana PHP plugin into Aptana 2.0. It’s pretty easy actually:

  1. In Aptana select HelpInstall New Software...
  2. Click on the Add button and add a new entry named Aptana PHP Update Site with as Location. Click OK to add it
  3. Select Aptana PHP Update Site from the dropdown and expand PHP Plugin Builds in the list
  4. Check Aptana PHP 1.1 Development Environment from the list and press Next
  5. Click Finish in the next screen and restart Aptana when asked

Screen shot 2010-01-26 at 16.52.12

The method above however is not bulletproof: once the original update site goes down we won’t be able to install the plugin anymore. To counter that we’d need to have a local copy of Aptana PHP 1.1 Development Environment and be able to install that copy. Luckely for us, that all is possible.

Having played around a bit I noticed that the update URL redirects to Typing that URL in your browser gives you a nice page stating you must enter that URL into Aptana in order install the offered package. The page also states that you can download the offered package and install it from your local disk … wow, that’s just what we needed!

Screen shot 2010-01-26 at 16.57.56

Here’s the updated instructions (I have a local copy of the package myself and will post it here if the update site were ever to go down):

  1. Save the offered package (98.5MB) to an easy-to-find location.
  2. In Aptana select HelpInstall New Software...
  3. Click on the Add button and then click the Archive... button, and select the file saved in step 1.
  4. Check Aptana PHP 1.1 Development Environment from the list and press Next
  5. Click Finish in the next screen and restart Aptana when asked

For now this will help us out. Now, let’s hope that the developers of the Aptana PHP Plugin will push their goodness towards PDT and transform PDT into what the Aptana PHP Plugin once was: a rock solid, (nearly) feature complete and free alternative to Zend Studio. Strange though, that the better product folded in favor of the lesser competitor.

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Published by Bramus!

Bramus is a frontend web developer from Belgium, working as a Chrome Developer Relations Engineer at Google. From the moment he discovered view-source at the age of 14 (way back in 1997), he fell in love with the web and has been tinkering with it ever since (more …)

Unless noted otherwise, the contents of this post are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License and code samples are licensed under the MIT License

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  1. Great post! After the announcement of Aptana PHP discontinued I wonder how to create a local copy of this plugin and continue using it. I completly agree that PDT is a joke. Thans for the infos, really!

  2. Thanks a lot!
    I can’t understand why Aptana decided to leave PHP behind, since it’s the most popular web language amongst the others.

    I really hope that they can improve PDT, working together with the actual devteam, but, without doubts, Aptana 1.5 PHP support was way much better than PDT.

  3. Thanks for this great information. I was pulling my hair out trying to figure out the next best PHP editor than Aptana.


  4. So bad it isn’t supported anymore. Aptana said they will contribute to PDT development, but I cannot find features as “Create -> New PHP Class” or “Generate Getters and Setters” on PDT. I don’t remember if phpdoc is well explored on PDT, it is great on Aptana PHP. Bad thing is, PHP 5.3 is up and Aptana PHP won’t run to it. =/ sad

  5. hi, i have installed fresh Aptana 2.x and when i tried to install AptanaPHP, it’s failed due to missing dependency “ 0.0.0” … any quick fix to solve this issue? thanks in advance

  6. I have played a bit with Aptana 2.0 and I did want to return to 1.5.
    Didn’t find any info about PHP plugin. Now I have a fully functional 1.5 + PHP install 🙂

  7. Supersweet. You saved my day. PDT didn’t work for me at all, and the old plugin now works like a charm! I did have to reinstall Aptana however, but it was worth it.

  8. You rock!

    I wanted the code assist to work with PHP. The PDT doesn’t even have that! I looked and looked but couldn’t find the PHP plugin that everybody was referring to.

    Then finally found your blog entry and downloading the ZIP file and installing it worked like a charm!


  9. Yes, amazing. Thats exactly what I was looking for.

    I couldnt get PDT installed at all.. Now I have a working IDE again which saved me aptana as an IDE.

    Thank you!

  10. You know, PDT can be installed on Aptana 2.0 (if you’re lucky) but essentially you can’t configure it to get it to work. Which means the Aptana team has dropped PHP support completely (I guess they wanted to focus on RadRails) and just left some breadcrumbs so nobody could deduce immediatly that this was the case. These breadcrumbs (aka “the mess” aka PDT) could be installed the whole time anyway, given the Eclipse base of Aptana. And you know that all this bs about collaborating with the PDT devs is just deceiving… nothing will come from it. I don’t know about you but I have lost a lot of respect for Aptana. And I have paid for the Professional version twice because I thought it was that good.

  11. Thank you very much for that.

    I was coming back to Aptana after many years and installed 3.0 beta, but a lot of things are not functional/incorporated there yet — but it looks very very promising, so put 2.0 on as well, and found PDT wasn’t working properly and was missing so many features for php, not even text drag and drop worked inside php editing (I checked all settings). Now I have got one of the best php editors working again thanks to your blog.

    Aptana have done such a great job, shame they missed a beat on php with version 2.0, put a lot of people off. Now I know what everyone was on about.

    They have got so much right, very professional, and 3.0 is looking like it is shaping up really well, its hard to imagine why php was ever dropped?

    I sincerely hope they don’t drop it again, but why is this information not more obvious on the Aptana site? Php is such an integral part of web editing for so many people. The person who only ever writes css js and html alone would be in a rare situation.

  12. Thank you for this fix for Aptana and PHP! It is a lifesaver as I love the Aptana PHP Environment.

    There’s nothing like a free IDE that works just the way you want it!

  13. Thanks so much for this info, I’m wondering does anybody know if you can install the Aptana PHP plugin over the top of PDT, or will it create a conflict? Does the PDT and debugger have to uninstalled?

  14. Hi…I’ve just installed the plugin…but I’ve no autocompleation neither formatting neither keyword-color…I work on Ubuntu 10.10…All the right voices in Preferences>Aptana>Editors>PHP>Editing seems right…I’ve to remove the Php PDT first??
    Help please! Before formatting and reinstalling the OS everythings work well! 🙁

  15. Doesn’t work for me 🙁

    Cannot complete the install because one or more required items could not be found.
    Software being installed: Aptana PHP 1.1 Development Environment (
    Missing requirement: Aptana PHP 1.1 Development Environment ( requires ‘com.aptana.ide.core 1.5.0’ but it could not be found

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