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How PhpStorm helps bitExpert developers be more productive – Case Study

In this post, we are happy to present to you an interview with Stephan Hochdörfer, Head of Technology at bitExpert. Stephan shares his insights on PhpStorm and tells us how PhpStorm helps bitExpert developers be more productive and experience the power of a “toolset that just works.”

Stephan, could you please tell us about bitExpert and your role in the company?

bitExpert was founded 15 years ago by Mathias Henss and me. bitExpert is a technology company focusing on building custom web and mobile application for our clients. We work for a wide range of clients, from small start-ups up to global companies. Currently, bitExpert has 24 employees, about 15 of whom are developers. Our headquarters is located in Mannheim, Germany.


Stephan Hochdörfer, Head of Technology, bitExpert

My current role is Head of Technology which means that I act as a kind of internal consultant for our projects team and help them pick the “right”(TM) technology. In addition to that, I am responsible for our internal education initiative called “Learn & Grow” where I plan and coordinate training, our yearly internal company conference called “bitCampus Day” as well as our public unconference unKonf. And besides all of that, you can find me speaking regularly at tech events or conferences all around the globe.

What technologies do you use in bitExpert?

As a technology company, we use a lot of different technologies. On the server side, this means PHP, Java or JavaScript (node.js); on the client side, this means HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript (Angular, Sencha ExtJS). We try to pick the “right”(TM) technology for each project, depending on what we have identified that makes the most sense given the requirements of the project. We deal with quite a few different project setups. Sometimes we work on projects for a few weeks, sometimes multiple months and sometimes we work on projects for years. This completely depends on the customer and the project scope.

How long have you been using PhpStorm?

Not typical for us, I would call ourselves late adopters when it comes to PhpStorm. We’ve been using it since 2014; before that, we stuck either with Eclipse PDT or Netbeans. The move to PhpStorm was mostly motivated by our move away from our own company-wide coding standard to the PSR standards for PHP projects. Since the automated code formatting features of Eclipse and Netbeans did not work as expected, I took a deeper dive into PhpStorm and realized how powerful PhpStorm was.

What features of the product do you and your team make the most use of?

PhpStorm is a great tool that offers a lot of interesting features. In addition to that, it is a pretty fast IDE. Thanks to the plugin infrastructure it is pretty easy to add custom functionality, for example, add Grunt support for our frontend developers.

How do these features help you approach certain problems? What benefits do they provide?

PhpStorm makes it easy to navigate large codebases, which is especially handy if we take over an existing project from our customers. Setting up the debuggers for PHP or JavaScript is super simple, so there is no excuse for a developer not to use it on a daily basis.

Do you feel the team is more productive with PhpStorm?

For sure. The speed of the IDE as well as all the little things – e.g., code completion, code templates – is a definite plus.

Do you use other JetBrains developer tools?

PhpStorm is, for now, the only tool we are using.

How do you think PhpStorm’s advantages contribute to your company’s development process?

Our developers are happier because their toolset just works.

We would like to thank bitExpert and especially Stephan Hochdörfer for this interview and sharing his insights.

We welcome your feedback in blog post comments below. If you, too, would like to share your experience with PhpStorm, please contact Anna Lebedeva, Product Marketing Manager for PhpStorm (Anna.Lebedeva [at]

JetBrains PhpStorm Team
The Drive to Develop

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