IDEs: Integrated Development Environments

What is an IDE?

An Integrated Development Environment (IDE) is a software application that consolidates basic tools required for software testing and development. An IDE typically consists of a source code editor, build automation tools, and a debugger. Some IDEs, like Android Studio or Visual Studio, even offer more advanced features such as version control, databases, cloud services, and more. Why use an IDE? Using an IDE can significantly speed up the development process by offering a variety of tools and features under one roof.

Here are a few reasons why developers use IDEs:

Efficiency: With everything in one place, developers can write, test, and debug code without needing to switch between different tools.

Code Assistance: Many IDEs offer features like autocompletion, syntax highlighting, and suggestions, making the code-writing process smoother.

Integrated Debugging: Integrated debuggers allow developers to test and debug their programs within the IDE, speeding up the development cycle.

Extensions & Plugins: Most modern IDEs support a wide range of extensions and plugins, enabling developers to customize their environment and add even more functionalities.

A Brief History of IDEs

The concept of an IDE dates back to the early days of computing when programming tools started to be integrated into a single environment. One of the earliest examples of this was the Maestro I, developed in the 1970s for the PDP-11 minicomputers. As computers and programming languages evolved, so did IDEs. In the 1990s, with the rise of graphical user interfaces, IDEs like Microsoft's Visual Studio and Borland's Delphi became popular. With the increasing demand for web development, IDEs evolved to support a plethora of languages, platforms, and technologies, leading to the diverse range of options available today.

Now, let's look at some popular IDEs:

Visual Studio Code

A free source-code editor made by Microsoft for Windows, Linux and macOS.

Functionalities:

  • Syntax highlighting
  • Debugging support
  • Git integration
  • Extensions marketplace
  • Integrated terminal
  • Live share and collaboration

Supported Languages:

  • Almost all through extensions
Install Visual Studio Code

Vim

A highly configurable text editor built to enable efficient text editing. It's often used as an IDE with various plugins.

Functionalities:

  • Highly customizable
  • Extensible through plugins
  • Syntax highlighting
  • Search and replace
  • Multi-window
  • Keyboard shortcuts

Supported Languages:

  • Almost all through extensions
Install Vim

Neovim

An extension of Vim, Neovim is a text editor designed to improve upon Vim's 'work as is' philosophy. It enhances Vim's traditional features and adds new capabilities, often focused on extensibility and usability.

Functionalities:

  • Modern user interface
  • Extensible through plugins and built-in Lua support
  • Asynchronous job control
  • Improved Vimscript
  • Terminal emulator
  • External GUIs
  • Built-in language server protocol

Supported Languages:

  • Almost all through extensions and language servers
Install Neovim

Visual Studio

A full-featured integrated development environment from Microsoft for developing applications for Windows, Android, and iOS, as well as modern web applications and cloud services.

Functionalities:

  • Code editor with IntelliSense
  • Code navigation and refactoring
  • Debugging and profiling tools
  • Git integration
  • Extensible via plugins

Supported Languages:

  • C#
  • Visual Basic
  • C++
  • F#
  • JavaScript
  • TypeScript
  • Python
  • and many more through extensions
Install Visual Studio

IntelliJ IDEA

An integrated development environment (IDE) written in Java for developing computer software.

Functionalities:

  • Deep code understanding
  • Smart code navigation
  • Built-in tools and integrations
  • Framework-specific assistance
  • Database tools
  • Version control

Supported Languages:

  • Java
  • Kotlin
  • Groovy
  • Scala
Install IntelliJ IDEA

WebStorm

A smart JavaScript IDE developed by JetBrains that provides a better development experience for modern JavaScript development.

Functionalities:

  • Intelligent code completion
  • On-the-fly error detection
  • Powerful navigation and refactoring
  • Integrated debugger
  • Testing support
  • VCS integration

Supported Languages:

  • JavaScript
  • TypeScript
  • HTML
  • CSS
  • Node.js
Install WebStorm

PhpStorm

An Integrated Development Environment for PHP developed by JetBrains. It provides an editor for PHP, HTML, and JavaScript with on-the-fly code analysis and automated refactoring for PHP and JavaScript code.

Functionalities:

  • Intelligent coding assistance
  • Smart code navigation
  • Fast and safe refactoring
  • Easy debugging and testing
  • VCS integration

Supported Languages:

  • PHP
  • HTML
  • JavaScript
  • CSS
  • SQL
Install PhpStorm

RubyMine

A dedicated Ruby and Rails development environment created by JetBrains.

Functionalities:

  • Robust IDE for Ruby/Rails
  • Intelligent code completion
  • Refactoring capabilities
  • Integrated debugger
  • VCS integration

Supported Languages:

  • Ruby
  • Rails
  • JavaScript
  • HTML
  • CSS
Install RubyMine

PyCharm

A dedicated Python IDE from JetBrains offering a huge collection of tools out of the box.

Functionalities:

  • Python profiling
  • Django support
  • Database & SQL support
  • Jupyter notebook integration

Supported Languages:

  • Python
Install PyCharm

Eclipse

A widely-used Java IDE with capabilities for multiple languages.

Functionalities:

  • Extensible via plugins
  • Integrated debugger
  • Git integration
  • Maven build automation tool

Supported Languages:

  • Java
  • C
  • C++
  • Python
  • PHP
  • Ruby
Install Eclipse

Xcode

The official development environment for macOS, iOS, iPadOS, watchOS, and tvOS.

Functionalities:

  • Interface builder
  • Code review
  • Source control
  • Continuous integration

Supported Languages:

  • Swift
  • Objective-C
Install Xcode

Sublime Text

A sophisticated text editor for code, markup, and prose.

Functionalities:

  • Goto Anything for quick navigation
  • Multiple selections for simultaneous editing
  • Command palette
  • Distraction-free writing mode
  • Split editing
  • Customizable with JSON settings

Supported Languages:

  • Almost all through extensions
Install Sublime Text

Android Studio

The official Integrated Development Environment (IDE) for Android app development.

Functionalities:

  • Flexible build system based on Gradle
  • Rich layout editor with support for drag and drop UI components
  • APK analyzer
  • Fast emulator with play store
  • Integrated ProGuard and app-signing capabilities

Supported Languages:

  • Java
  • Kotlin
  • C++
Install Android Studio

Notepad++

A free source code editor and Notepad replacement that supports several languages.

Functionalities:

  • Syntax highlighting and folding
  • WYSIWYG editor
  • Auto-completion
  • Multi-view (same document side by side, or two different documents)
  • Zoom in and out
  • Multi-language environment supported

Supported Languages:

  • C
  • C++
  • Java
  • C#
  • XML
  • HTML
  • PHP
  • JavaScript
  • Python
  • SQL
  • and many more
Install Notepad++

Atom

A hackable text editor for the 21st Century developed by GitHub.

Functionalities:

  • Cross-platform editing
  • Built-in package manager
  • Smart autocompletion
  • File system browser
  • Multiple panes
  • Find and replace

Supported Languages:

  • Almost all through packages
Install Atom

NetBeans

An open-source integrated development environment that supports multiple languages.

Functionalities:

  • Javafx scene builder integration
  • Code templates
  • Coding tips
  • Easy navigation
  • Static analysis tools

Supported Languages:

  • Java
  • HTML5
  • JavaScript
  • PHP
  • C/C++
Install NetBeans

Emacs

An extensible, customizable, free text editor and computing environment, often used as an IDE.

Functionalities:

  • Highly extensible
  • Syntax highlighting
  • Project planning
  • Shell integration
  • Version control

Supported Languages:

  • Almost all through extensions
Install Emacs

CLion

A cross-platform IDE for C and C++ developed by JetBrains.

Functionalities:

  • Smart code analysis
  • Code generation
  • Refactoring
  • Integrated debugger
  • Integrated terminal

Supported Languages:

  • C
  • C++
Install CLion

Aptana Studio

An open-source IDE primarily focused on web development.

Functionalities:

  • HTML, CSS, and JavaScript code assist
  • Deployment wizard
  • Integrated debugger
  • Git integration

Supported Languages:

  • HTML
  • CSS
  • JavaScript
  • Ruby
  • Python
  • PHP
Install Aptana Studio

Komodo IDE

A multi-language integrated development environment for end-to-end development.

Functionalities:

  • Code refactoring
  • Version control
  • Debugging
  • Unit testing

Supported Languages:

  • Python
  • PHP
  • Ruby
  • Perl
  • HTML
  • CSS
  • JavaScript
Install Komodo IDE

Thonny

A beginner-friendly Python IDE, useful for learning programming with Python.

Functionalities:

  • Easy-to-use interface
  • Step through expression evaluation
  • Powerful debugger
  • Built-in Python shell

Supported Languages:

  • Python
Install Thonny

KDevelop

A free and open-source feature-full, plugin extensible IDE for C/C++ and many other programming languages.

Functionalities:

  • Syntax highlighting
  • Code navigation
  • Integrated debugger
  • Git support

Supported Languages:

  • C
  • C++
  • Python
  • PHP
  • Java
Install KDevelop

Code::Blocks

A free C, C++ and Fortran IDE that is built to meet the most demanding needs of its users.

Functionalities:

  • Very fast, customizable
  • Multiple compiler support
  • Multi-device creation
  • Smart code completion

Supported Languages:

  • C
  • C++
  • Fortran
Install Code::Blocks

BlueJ

A free Java development environment designed for beginners.

Functionalities:

  • Simple interface
  • Interactive object creation
  • Integrated JavaFX support

Supported Languages:

  • Java
Install BlueJ

RStudio

An integrated development environment for R, a programming language for statistical computing and graphics.

Functionalities:

  • Syntax highlighting
  • Code completion
  • Integrated graphics
  • Version control

Supported Languages:

  • R
Install RStudio

Light Table

An open-source, next-generation, highly customizable code editor with instant feedback on code execution.

Functionalities:

  • Inline evaluation
  • Lightweight
  • Plugin manager

Supported Languages:

  • Clojure
  • JavaScript
  • Python
  • HTML
  • CSS
  • and others through plugins
Install Light Table

Zend Studio

A commercial, integrated development environment for PHP developed by Zend Technologies.

Functionalities:

  • PHP debugging
  • Source code editor with code navigation
  • Docker and Git Flow support

Supported Languages:

  • PHP
Install Zend Studio