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This is a guide for NetBeans users coming to PhpStorm. It provides an overview of the key differences between PhpStorm and NetBeans, and helps you get accustomed to PhpStorm quickly.

Getting Started

What configuration is needed before start?

A lot of PhpStorm features are available without any configuration right after you launch it. Still, to take full advantage of running your PHP application, you need to configure a PHP interpreter & server.

If you plan to launch the application locally, you need a PHP engine installed and registered in PhpStorm, as well as a Web server installed, configured, and integrated with PhpStorm. You can install these components separately or use an AMP package. Read more about initial interpreter/server configuration.

If you are going to run and debug an application directly on a remote host, the only thing you need is register access to this host in PhpStorm to enable synchronization.

Please refer to the QuickStart Guide for more information on getting started.

How can I open a NetBeans project in PhpStorm?

In most cases, moving a project to PhpStorm is not too complex. Create a new project from existing sources using the File | New Project action or from the Welcome screen. PhpStorm can use the same directory as your NetBeans project is using. PhpStorm then adds an .iml file (idea module file) and an .idea configuration directory. The NetBeans .nbproject directory and build.xml remain untouched, so you can continue using PhpStorm along with NetBeans.

Some common steps required during import include: deployment to remote host, configuring and using debugger. These steps are described in the FAQ entries below.

There is a directory-based project format available in PhpStorm (similar to the one in NetBeans) which is now used by default. See the Project concept for details.

How do I start with deployment to a remote host?

If you've checked out your project from the remote host, the deployment server is already configured. Otherwise, you will need to get it configured (it can be FTP/SFTP/FTPS server or mounted/local folder) in Settings / Preferences | Deployment.

Remote host tool window is available on the right-hand side of the PhpStorm window, which can be handy for browsing through your remote server and performing various actions.

Check out the full tutorial on deployments in PhpStorm.

How do I start debugging?

PhpStorm comes with support for both Xdebug and Zend Debugger for debugging and profiling. There is a zero-configuration debugging workflow available, which means that the only things you need to do are:

  • Press Start Listening for PHP Debugging Connections button on the toolbar of the IDE.
  • Put a breakpoint in the file (clicking on the left gutter next to the line).
  • Start debugging in the browser using a plugin or browser bookmarklets.

The Run button is disabled when I start a new project. How do I run my application?

The reason your Run button is disabled may be that there is no Run/debug configuration defined.

The Run button will be available as soon as you configure run/debug configuration using e.g. PHP Built-in web server or remote server.

Use the action Run | Edit Configurations or use the Run Configurations box in the IDE toolbar. Use the + sign to add a new configuration and choose how you want to run your application.

How do I start with VCS integration?

Most of the popular Version Control Systems are supported by PhpStorm, including Git, Subversion, Mercurial, Perforce, CVS, TFS, and more. VCS integration for your project can be configured in Settings/Preferences | Version Control.

Read more about Version Control Support in PhpStorm.

Where can I find the "Close project" action?

As a NetBeans user you may be used to closing projects from the Projects window. The workflow in PhpStorm is a bit different. Each global PhpStorm window instance represents a single project. So if you want to close the opened project, you need to run the global Close Project action which is located in the main menu as File | Close Project.

Refer to the section Opening, Reopening and Closing Projects.

How can I open several projects in PhpStorm simultaneously?

It's possible to work with multiple projects simultaneously using PhpStorm. To achieve this you only need to open a project, while another one is already opened, and choose Add to currently opened projects.

Where can I find the "Options" dialog?

The options dialog is called Settings/Preferences dialog in PhpStorm, and is invoked from File | Settings | PhpStorm | Preferences. You can configure global PhpStorm settings here, as well as many project-related settings. Note that you can use the search functionality to quickly find an option — this is very practical as there are many options to configure.

Editor-related questions

Can I use NetBeans key bindings in PhpStorm?

Yes. There is a NetBeans keymap available. To activate it, go to File / PhpStorm | Settings / Preferences, then IDE Settings | Keymap and choose NetBeans 6.5.

Please refer to the section Configuring Keyboard Shortcuts for details.

We would also recommend getting acquainted with the PhpStorm keymap, for example by printing the default keymap reference.

Can I enable "mark occurrences" in PhpStorm?

Yes. You can enable this feature by going to Settings/Preferences | Editor and selecting the check-box Highlight usages of element at caret.

Refer to the section Highlighting Usages for details.

Is there a difference in how the Local History feature is implemented?

In PhpStorm local history tracks user actions. It is more granular and you can see which activities you performed in the editor, including VCS operations. More detailed information is provided compared to NetBeans, where you can only see text-based changes to the individual files. For details please refer to the local history concept.

Plugin-related questions

To learn more about PhpStorm plugins, please click here.

Where can I find useful plugins?

You can install plugins right from the IDE using the Settings / Preferences dialog. In the IDE Settings section, open the Plugins page to view the currently installed plugins. Click the button Browse repositories... to see which plugins are available in the online repositories. Click the button Install JetBrains plugin... to use plugins from the JetBrains repository.

Please refer to the section Managing Plugins for details.

Is there a platform similar to NetBeans platform available from JetBrains?

Internally, JetBrains uses IntelliJ Platform for its IDE products, including PhpStormWebStormRubyMine, PyCharm, AppCode, CLion, and MPS. You can also use IntelliJ Platform to build your own applications.

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