graeme_p - 6:38 am on Oct 17, 2012 (gmt 0)
I do not use PHP much because I agree it is a mess (the only PHP site I have is my Wordpress based blog).
There are perfectly good free fancy IDEs (Eclipse, for example) if you want them.
However, using an inferior platform because it is cheap/free implies that you either hardly use it, or you place a very low value on your time.
On the other hand I use entirely free software which I am very happy with and would not replace with a proprietary equivalent even if you paid me for both my sites (Lighttpd, Python, Django) and desktop (Ubuntu, Firefox, Geany, Chromium... etc.).
In the case of my desktop I wiped Windows (which came pre-installed) in order to replace it with free software. I live in a country where MS (and most software vendors except IBM and Adobe) has a policy of turning a blind eye to piracy, so I would have no qualms about pirating the proprietary stuff if I thought it was better.
For me, reasons to use PHP are cheap hosting and the availability of software - I would much rather develop using Python + Django than PHP, but I would rather use a solution someone else had already developed then develop my own, and most of those are PHP.