Every few months as I sit at my desk and code away, I can't help but wonder to myself, "Is there anything better out there?" I'm not being metaphysical or introspective -- I'm talking about my IDE. Most coders I've met are the same way: we find a tool we like, use it for a while, but usually end up wanting something more or different. Perhaps discontent is a core part of human nature, but every few months I go looking for better tools.
I've been happily using Zend Studio for Eclipse (ZSE) for just over a year now. I had loved Eclipse + PHPEclipse for a long while before moving on to Eclipse + PDT, and had finally paid for ZSE to get a few extra features, support, and install packages that didn't take me hours to assemble and install. I've grown to know and understand Eclipse well, which is part of why I've been using Eclipse in one form or another for about 4 years now.
In truth, I was fine using ZSE for now. Work is keeping me busy, there is plenty to do at our new house... honestly, I didn't care to spend time looking into another solution for my daily-use PHP IDE. Then my ZSE license expired, and while I can still use ZSE, I cannot get any updates or bug fixes until I pay Zend's extortion fee of $200.
Let me be clear: I understand and accept paying recurring licensing fees. Except that in a year, Zend has only managed two updates that pass for anything more than the most minor bug fixes. And $200 for yearly maintenance for a product I bought for $300 a year ago (they were running a promo) just seems too high.
If Zend was offering me some great new feature, or even fixes to all of the mild annoying bugs that run a little rampant through ZSE -- I'd pay the fee! Yes, even $200! However, given the current state of ZSE and the paucity of updates from Zend, I'd have to strongly consider even putting $100 toward ZSE at this point.