6 Great IDEs for Development

Every developer I know has, at one point or another, used an Integrated Development Environment (IDE). IDEs make our lives easier, providing an all-in-one tool which gives you a text editor, compiler, debugger and many other things that help with development.

Without IDEs, you need to get all of the different tools and that can really clutter up your computer. Here are 6 of the best IDEs that I’ve stumbled across as a developer (in no particular order).

  1. Eclipse

    Eclipse is probably the most well known IDE on this list. It supports a number of languages right out of the box and adds support for other languages with numerous plugins. The interface is intuitive, clean and fairly easy to modify. You can find a great video tutorial on using Eclipse here.
    Language Support: Java, PHP, C/C++, ActionScript, Javascript, many more with plugins.
    License: Eclipse Public License

  2. PellesC

    PellesC is a great IDE if you’re working with C or C++ (and on a Windows computer). It has a simple layout and is extremely easy to use. If I were to go purely off simplicity, PellesC would be number one. There aren’t any plugins for it (that I know of) and customization is limited, but if all you need is a C editor and compiler, PellesC is for you.
    Language Support: C/C++
    License: Freeware

  3. Komodo

    Komodo is a great IDE that integrates numerous languages, frameworks and client libraries in a nice package. Komodo can also has browser-side support, including debugging, DOM viewer, catalog support, HTTP Inspector, and code intelligence for languages such as JavaScript, CSS, HTML, and XML, that allows programmers to edit and debug Ajax code and multi-language files. For the full version of Komodo you’re going to have to spend $295, so it isn’t cheap, but you do get a lot of features.
    Language Support: Ruby, Python, PHP, Perl, Javascript
    License: Proprietary

  4. Microsoft Visual Studio

    The Microsoft Visual Studio is a proprietary IDE made by Microsoft to use with their programming languages. If you’re going to be programming for a windows application this is probably the best IDE for you. It features a number of great tools that let you interact with other Microsoft products. The standard version is going to cost you anywhere between $170 to $300 and the professional version will set you back around $800.
    Language Support:Visual Basic, Visual C++, C#
    License: Proprietary

  5. FlashDevelop

    It’s pretty common knowledge (amongst Flash Developers) that the Flash IDE is sub-par in the best of cases. The FlashDevelop community has taken many steps to improve upon what the Flash IDE offers, and they have done a phenomenal job. FlashDevelop has quickly become the standard IDE for Actionscript development, and with the most recent beta release, a good option for Flex. FlashDevelop gives you class overviews, project/file structure overviews, code hinting/auto completion on custom classes (as well as the Flash APIs), code snippets, code generation and more. There are some plugins available to further extend the functionality of the IDE.
    Language Support: ActionScript 2/3, Flex
    License: MIT

  6. NetBeans

    NetBeans is another open source browser that supports a number of languages and has an impressive feature set. It comes with a Java GUI builder, UML modelling, Ruby on Rails support and much, much more. The thing I like best about NetBeans is that it has a great community. Right off the main site you see a community page that allows you to see their wiki, documentation and other resources to help you with the IDE.
    Language Support: C/C++, Java, PHP, Ruby
    License: GPL2

My favourite out of this list is Eclipse without a doubt. If I’m working in C# I’ll fire up Visual Studio but if I’m working with almost anything else Eclipse will handle it for me. But that’s just me, what’s your favourite IDE?

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  1. 1 07.24.08
    9:19 am

    Well, i really don’t have a favorite ide — specially because i think some ides are best for this or that kind of development - i.e. netbeans is great for RoR, Intellij and Textmate are wonderful for groovy/grails and eclipse is great for pure java.

    As for now, i’m developing w/ groovy/grails i’m basically using textmate (is light and very powerful)

  2. 2 07.24.08
    9:20 am

    Notepad++ is my editor of choice for html websites and small php scripts, but I’m working on a larger PHP project now and am working in Eclipse.

    JCreator is a good Java IDE. It’s clean and fast, for Windows only though. Unfortunately, you don’t get all the best features without the pro version. Fortunately, the pro version is only $40 (at least it was when I bought it).

  3. 3 07.24.08
    9:47 am

    @Fernando: I’ve been contemplating getting a Mac so I can try out textmate, but can’t justify the cost of getting a Mac just to try an IDE out. Maybe I’ll have to try and high jack my wife’s MacPro and give it a whirl. :)

    @Aziz: Notepad++ is nice, too, but I agree, anything larger and I prefer to use Eclipse. I have a version of Notepad++ on my usb key, so if I need to code something up quickly, I can do it anywhere.

    I’ve been trying to get down to one IDE to do all my development work in, but its not that easy. Eclipse will probably end up being the tool of choice, as I can do all my Flash/Flex work in it, as well as PHP and other web dev. Still have Visual Studio for C# though.

  4. 4 07.24.08
    12:39 pm

    Hi, just clarifying the Komodo license story. Komodo Edit is open source under MPL/GPL/LGPL. Komodo IDE is the commercial version.

  5. 5 07.24.08
    1:22 pm

    Thanks for the clarification Shane,

    I personally use Eclipse because it does everything I need.

    While I’ve used all of these IDEs (except for FlashDevelop, which Alex has used), Eclipse, Microsoft Visual Studio and Komodo are my favourite.

    They give you the best tools to get the job done.

  6. 6 08.08.08
    5:45 am

    once i went textmate i didn’t go back it’s is so powerful

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