CodeLobster for Yii


I've seen CodeLobster mentioned numerous times on Social Media and forums, so was intrigued when I was asked to try it and share my findings.

Download and Install

CodeLobster comes in three versions and this is where I started getting a bit confused.  Their homepage says that syntax highlighting and code vlaidation are available in the free version.  But when you go to the Order Now page, the comparison  of features suggests that some of these are available in the Lite Version ($39.95) and fully available in the Pro Version ($119.95).

I was given a Pro version license so I assumed I should just download the one download and the License string would sort out what I could and couldn't do.  this seems to be the case.

The Interface

Disappointing Code Colouring

The interface is clean and crisp and the fonts come out very sharp.  

The default PHP syntax colouring is not very pleasing and I immediately dived into the Options to change these as much as possible. I didn't, however, manage to get it to colour class methods and class proprietiess differently as you can see in the image on the right.

Code completion is good and understands class context giving you a drop-down with the class properties and methods available.

Code Completion

You can jump to definitions either within the current code or elsewhere within your project and/or libraries.

Find in files is annoying as you cannot right click project explorer, you have to use an Open File dialog that does not default to your Project Home directory!

You can hover over keywords to get defintiones.  This is both a mixed blessing and a pain in the Neck.  For a start, it started showing me Zend defintions in a Yii Project.  And also, it started popping up when I really didn't want them.  At one stage, the tooltip even flowed across two screens!

Shortcut keys seem to be based on old Windowes 95 standards.  Ctrl-F4 to close a document.  I'm now used to using Ctl-W.  Ctrl space doesn't bring up code completion.  Annoying when you're often switching packages.


The are a number of useful looking tools like a SQL editor, hooks into Version control, a code Formatter but I didn't get round to trying them.


In fact, after day 2, I was so frustrated not being able to hop back and forwards between Projects that I swapped back to Netbeans.

I think CodeLobster has potential but has a way to go to catch-up with the competition.  

More importantly, where the competition is free you will have to fork out nearly $120 for the Pro version.  

So, I left wondering who this will be aimed at...

Try it for yourself

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If you're starting a new Yii project and would like some help to get setup and running or you need some help with a particular module or you just need someone to develop the whole dang thing, then just ask ...

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