Optimizing Zend Studio on Mac OS X

  • Posted by Mike Naberezny in PHP

    Recently, I purchased a Mac mini and started using it as my home computer. Overall, it is a pretty nice little machine but its 1.42 GHz G4 processor isn’t the fastest thing out there. On some larger applications, such as Zend Studio, it is a little sluggish. Fortunately, there are two things that you can do with Zend Studio to get an immediate performance increase.

    First and easiest, select Tools > Preferences > Code Completion from the menu bar, and find Automatically Show Code Completion List. Increase Popup after ____ ms to 500 ms and the text editor will immediately become more responsive.

    Second, you can try increasing Studio’s memory footprint if you have enough RAM. Using the Finder, navigate to the folder /Applications/Zend/ZendStudioClient-5.0.0/bin, and then control-click (right-click) on ZDE and select Show Package Contents from the context menu. Double-click on Contents/Info.plist to open it in the Property List Editor. Under Root > Java > VMOptions, change the string to specify the minimum and maximum size of memory to use. I have 1 GB RAM, so I use -Xms128m -Xmx512m to specify a minimum of 128 MB and a maximum of 512 MB. Save your changes and then restart Studio. You’ll need to play around with the setting to see how it affects performance. Your results will vary based on how much physical RAM is installed in your machine. This tip is also useful for other Java applications, such as Eclipse.

    It’s worth noting that you can do both of these tweaks on all platforms supported by Studio. On platforms other than Mac OS X, the memory settings are command line switches to Java in the shortcut or script that starts Studio.

    After making these two changes, I have found the Studio’s performance on the Mac mini to be very acceptable. Powerbook users (also with the G4 processor) should benefit from them as well.


  • comment by Marc Swindle 14 Dec 05

    Thanks. While I’m frustrated with a few things about Zend, it’s still the best Mac option for coding php.

  • comment by Richard Davey 14 Dec 05

    Nice tip (the second one), thanks! I have implemented this on my iMac and it does seem to help a bit. The other thing I found that really helps is to turn off the native OS look and feel. Ok, so you are left with the butt-ugly Java looking design, but it is definitely faster to render.

    Another thing is to check that Quartz Extreme is running on OSX. If you’ve got XCode2 installed go to /Developer/Applications/Performance Tools and run the Quartz Debug app. Then check everything is enabled (Quartz 2D as well). if you have a good graphics card it can shift the 2D rendering from the CPU to the GPU.

  • comment by Matthew Delmarter 12 Jan 06

    Can you please explain how to carry out the second tip on Windows XP? I am quite interested in controlling the RAM usage of Studio – but there are no parameters in the shortcut string etc that opens ZDE.exe. Should I be looking somewhere else?

    Hope you can help…


  • comment by Alejandro 15 Mar 06

    Dear Matthew:
    Search in the same folder, have a .bat file (runStudio_windows.bat), open it with notepad and can view a command to run the ide with the -Xms and -Xmx options.
    Im trying without good results, but im continue the quest :)
    good luck

  • comment by website design 7 May 08

    10x Works really great on LEopard :) :) :)

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