Aptana Review


Sometimes, when you’ve got a job to do, you want to reach for the fancy, expensive tool that can only do one job but can do it like nothing else can. And sometimes you just want to give something a whack with something big and heavy, and the first thing to hand will do: a hammer, a brick, the bottom of a shoe.

Aptana is a combined hammer, brick and bottom of a shoe. Other development tools will have more bells and whistles. Their live editing might work faster. Their UI might be easier on the eyes and simpler to customize. Their autocomplete functions might be smarter and they’re like to do a better job of flagging flaws in code and suggesting ways to fix them. But they’re unlikely to do it all with the simplicity of Aptana, and they’re certainly not likely to do it for free.

Aptana contains all of the core features that you’d expect in a development tool. You can use it to create HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP and Ruby. Deployment protocols include FTP, SFTP, FTPS and Capistrano. The integrated debugger won’t have you churning out perfect code every time but it will inspect your variables, control execution and set breakpoints.


There’s a built-in terminal for command line executions and the integration with Git works fine, so you can deploy your work and collaborate easily with team members. It’s also customizable. Aptana ships with a long list of commands but you can also script your own. The repository of add-ons isn’t comprehensive but it does offer a good range of options that let you expand the program in most of the ways you’d want.

It’s not the fastest application in the world, and can suck up your resources much more than you’d like. (Though both of those downsides are true of PhpStorm too.) It can also be a bit quirky, especially when it comes to indexing, navigation and code-hinting. Updates have been infrequent, though hopefully that will change now that it’s been bought by Appcelerator.

But the Aptana’s biggest sales point remains the fact that it’s open-source. That’s not just because paying nothing is better than coughing up the 50-odd Euros a year that you might have to pay for a rival development tool. But it’s also because when you haven’t paid for a product, you’re more likely to forgive its shortcomings, and Aptana has its shortcomings.

It is, however, very effective, very useful and an excellent choice for small studios with small budgets that just want to get the job done. Aptana Studio runs on macOS, Windows and Linux.


Aptana will never win any awards for comprehensive functionality but it will help you to do most of the things you want do.

Usability: 7 /10 Speed: 6 /10 Features: 7 /10 Support: 6 /10 Pricing: 10 /10

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