Yes, try the trial
I agree with your recommendation: download the trial and try it out. You are right; there is a lot that cannot be said in a short review.
Some of what I said applies equally to Delphi for PHP 1.0, but I have the impression that many are not familiar with the earlier version.
I realise there is some Zend integration and mentioned this in another comment; but it is very limited at the moment.
> And Tim seems to conflate the open source VCL for PHP effort with the
> CodeGear IDE effort.
Well yes, that's the product. You could use the IDE without the VCL, but if you do you lose the distinctive feature of the product, RAD visual development.
> The announced but never released qadram IDE has long been morphed
> into D4PHP
Yes, I said this is its only incarnation. I think its origins are important though; it explains why it has a dedicated IDE, rather than using RAD studio. The VCL is open source, but I'm not sure this works to the advantage of the product at the moment, mainly because insufficient resources are put into it, and the open source community doesn't appear to be large enough to thrive.
I agree that the product has good potential. I spent a relatively large amount of time with it. Unfortunately it is also a frustrating product, thanks to inconsistency, limited documentation. Further, I don't much like the generated code.
But yes, I'd encourage anyone to try it. If a real community can form around Delphi for PHP and its VCL, or if it gets the investment it needs to deliver on its RAD promise, then it could still come good.