Eclipse with Aptana plugin and SFTP support, a free website editor

A friend wanted a good, free web development IDE for Mac. Personally, I use Coda and love it, but it’s not free.

I found this resource as a starting point.

I quickly found that although KompoZer and Nvu were good for her because they were WYSIWYG editors, they both don’t support SFTP, which was required in this case (and most cases really), and were also lacking a little love. SeaMonkey and the rest below that on the list were either too simple or too complex. For me, this left three: Aptana, Komodo Edit, or Eclipse to try.

The Komodo Editor is actually pretty good, but I felt didn’t have a very good remote connection tool. Aptana doesn’t officially support SFTP without paying $99/yr (I tried using their free SFTP plugin, but it didn’t work in Eclipse 3.4.2). So, since I use Eclipse for my Python projects, I wanted to see if I could get Eclipse with the Aptana plugin to work. I found this blog with the answer.

These are the shortened steps I followed:

  1. Download and install the Eclipse SDK ver. 3.4.2 (Ganymede)
  2. Install the Aptana Studio as an Eclipse plugin
  3. In the Aptana Perspective, ‘My Aptana’ tab, select ‘Plugins’ at the top, then choose to install ‘Aptana PHP’.
  4. Using the Eclipse Software Updates, install a new remote site, Remote System Explorer, by adding this URL:, but you only need to select the ‘Remote System Explorer Core’ and ‘RSE SSH Services’ portions, found under the ‘RSE_Runtime’ when selecting features to install.
  5. Now, with the Remote System Explorer perspective selected (top right of the IDE), on the left side, in the Remote Systems tab, right-click and choose ‘New Connection…’, then input the settings to connect to your remote webserver.
  6. perspective


  7. Once you’ve logged into your site and see the files, right-click on the one(s) to edit and choose ‘Open With’, then ‘Aptana PHP Editor’
  8. You can now edit with all the syntactic highlighting, auto complete and other features of Aptana Studio.

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