I have been using Zend Studio for quite a while now as my primary PHP IDE. To get the powerful remote debugging and profiling that comes with the tool you used to have to install Zend Studio Server as well. With the release of version 5.5 however, Zend stopped shipping Studio Server and forced developers to install the Zend Platform instead. This is a commercial tool (free to developers) available from Zend that offers PHP acceleration, caching and other features … that I don't want! I just want my debugging back, without having to bloat my local server with software I will not use elsewhere – especially when the Zend Platform does not support APC, which we run on our servers, and it also broke my web application.
It turns out that we do not need the Zend Platform at all. As part of the PDT Eclipse project Zend has made available a standalone version of their debugger. This can be downloaded from here: http://downloads.zend.com/pdt/server-debugger/
Then you just need to put the .so or .dll file in the correct location and add a few lines to your PHP.INI file and you are away. Here are the lines I had to add to my PHP.INI, which is running inside a Debian VMWare image. Note the commas separating the IP numbers – this took me a few goes to work out as the examples showed spaces or forward-slashes which didn't work for me.
Why did Zend make this so hard to work out? Reading on different blogs and through the Zend forums highlights that this issue has been a source of frustration for many developers. Grrrr…