Although we publish Apeel PHP Code Generator Pro we recognise that it isn't the right choice for everyone. I've recommended competing products to potential purchasers when I felt they would suit their needs better.
Indeed some people tell us they've looked at all our competitors and like our product the best - others consider purchasing our product but find a competing product that fits their needs better.
It's hard to find comprehensive reviews of all the PHP Code Generators available so in September 2011 we decided to take our competitors products through their paces and write detailed reviews of our experience as a service to our customers.
Please Note: these reviews were written in September 2011 using the latest version from the publisher's websites - newer versions are probably available. If you use one of the products and any of the information is out of date then please leave a comment and we will update it.
The best PHP Code generator will naturally depend on your requirements and your level of experience.
Ok lets start by looking at our own product - who might benefit from it and who should look for an alternative.
It's useful for creating a rich, fully functional data entry application from a MySQL database with the minimum of tweaking. Click here for an example we built for the Sakila demo database or here to watch a quick video run-through of how to generate an application.
With our latest price reduction it is currently one of the cheapest on the market and you can even Get it Free. It produces object-oriented code and leverages industry standard open source libraries such as jQuery and Smarty.
It's ideal for example if you've created a database powered website (perhaps with DreamWeaver) and want a quick appliction to maintain the database tables that is a bit more flexible and sophisticated than phpMyAdmin, or perhaps you want to make a MySQL database accesible to a group of people.
If you are a beginner it's easy to use, if you are a programmer it should be relatively easy for you to customise and extend the code if you are familiar with the MVC (Model-View-Controller) design pattern and Object-Oriented code and can save you time by creating the core data entry code which you can manually extend into a bigger application.
User Friendly?: Many users find it user-friendly, some go so far as to say it's the best, but others prefer another application, AppGini and PHP Maker are sometimes mentioned. Since user friendliness is in the eye of the beholder if you don't think it's user friendly give one of the other applications a try.
Support: Supporting a PHP Code Generator isn't easy - before the user can even try out the web application they've generated they often have problems configuring their web server. We looked at hiring dedicated support staff and charging a monthly subscription - people liked the idea of dedicated support staff but not the idea of paying a monthly subscription so we abandoned the idea. At the price we sell our software at we can give you some basic guidance to get you started, but we cannot help you with programming issues. We used to have a support forum but it kept getting hacked and targetted with vast amounts of spam so it just became a major time sink and we dropped it.
If you want more than a basic data-entry application and you don't have a lot of programming experience then you may need a lot of support. Look for an active user forum and expect to pay a higher price tag and possibly a subscription. Publishers based in offshore locations are more likely to be able to afford to hire dedicated support staff than companies based in locations where labour costs are high.
Front-End Applications: Applications created by Apeel PHP Code Generator Pro are typically used in the back-end admin area - e.g. people who look after the site use the application to Add / Remove products and update prices in a Products database or it may be used by a closed group of people to access a database. If you need a code generator that can create a front-end then you should take a look at PHP Runner which has templates for sites such as Car dealerships, Classifieds and so on. BlueBox PHP and dbQwikSite have a shopping cart which could be useful if you are running an e-commerce site, and ScriptCase is worth a look with it's built in designer.
Object Oriented or Procedural?: Apeel PHP Code Generator Pro produces Object Oriented code rather than Procedural code. For many people that is an advantage, but some people find Object Oriented code hard to get to grips with, so if you prefer Procedural code have a look at dbQwikSite.
Serious Development: If you are professional developer looking for a PHP Code Generator for day-to-day use in all your projects then I would suggest looking at Our own Apeel PHP Code Generator Pro, ScriptCase, PHP Runner and perhaps PHP Maker
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