Archive for October, 2010

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IDEs Built from Text Editors

Integrated Development Environment

An integrated development environment (IDE) also known as integrated design environment or integrated debugging environment is a software application that provides comprehensive facilities to computer programmers for software development. An IDE normally consists of:

  • a source code editor
  • a compiler and/or an interpreter
  • build automation tools
  • a debugger.

Some IDE are :


Languages: C, C++, Python, Perl PHP, Java, Ruby and more

Price: FREE

Eclipse is the free and open-source editor upon which many development frameworks are based. It’s one of the granddaddies in its field and comes highly recommended by many a professional developer. Eclipse began as a Java development environment and has greatly expanded through a system of lightweight plugins.


Languages: Java, JavaScript, PHP, Python, Ruby, C, C++ and more



NetBeans is neck-and-neck with Eclipse as the most-recommended IDE in this category. It’s free and open-source, supports tons of languages with more plugins coming all the time, and is incredibly simple to install and use, even for a beginner.


Languages: Perl, Python, Tcl, PHP, Ruby, Javascript and more
Price: $295


This enterprise-level tool might be best for the pro developer because of its higher price point. For beginners, you might also want to check out the Komodo-based, FOSS editor Open Komodo or Komodo’s FOSS version, Komodo Edit.


Languages: HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AJAX and others via plugins
Price: FREE


Aptana is a popular choice for web app development. Aptana Studio2 can be used as a stand-alone IDE or can be plugged into Eclipse. Aptana comes with Firebug support built-in, and its developer community seems to release plugins for other languages as needed.


Languages: Python and Ruby
Price: $59.99 (personal developer license)


This IDE is designed for Python and Ruby devs creating apps for Windows and Linux. It includes a text editor as well as a GUI designer that uses pyQT and QT Designer. The makers of BlackAdder allow you to test drive the IDE in a limited demo version.


Languages: C, Java, PHP, HTML, Python, Perl, Pascal and a boatload more
Price: FREE


Geany bills itself as a “small and fast” IDE, but it is by no means a lightweight. Its list of supported languages is about a block long; it’s highly customizable; and it features a robust set of plugins which is open for hacking.

Here’s a chart showing the differences and similarities between a few multi-language IDEs. An asterisk denotes the need to use a third-party or other plugin to achieve the desired functionality. The .NET column indicates support for .NET languages, particularly C#. “FOSS” is the acronym for “free and open-source.” Click the image to see a slightly larger version.

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