What are IDEs, code editors and what do they do?
Software applications that allow you to create and edit code include integrated development environments (IDEs), and code editors (CEs). Although we could write code using a simple text editor, IDEs or CEs provide additional functionality that streamlines the coding process.
IDEs typically have more functionality than code editors. However, some code editors can be modified to provide similar functionality to an IDE. Many code editors include syntax highlighting, brace matching, autocompletion, as well as autocompletion. IDEs combine multiple tools into one graphical user interface. These tools typically include a code editor and a compiler/interpreter.
Consider these things when selecting an IDE/code editor
Each programmer has a preference for IDEs and editors. It is possible to try several applications before you find the right one.
These are some factors to be aware of when you evaluate your options.
- Cost: You have both paid and free applications. Consider your budget and the possibility of trying multiple applications before you find the perfect fit. Many applications allow you to try the software for free if you are open to paying.
Learning curve: It can take time to adjust to a new interface, and to memorize keyboard shortcuts. Although learning curves vary from one user to another, certain applications have a steeper learning curve than others. These applications can be difficult to learn, so take your time and adapt to create a productive workflow.
- Customizability and functionality: Applications come with a variety of features. It is important to identify the functionalities that you are looking for. Multilingual support, autocompletion and Git integration are some of the most popular functionalities. Check to see if plugins or extensions are available for any IDEs or code editors that don’t provide a particular functionality.
- Speed: It is important to evaluate both the app’s speed and whether or not your device is capable of hosting the application.
- Requirements for your machine: Application performance can be affected by the specs of your machine. If you load a large program on your device’s memory and processing power, you will experience slowdowns. Although there are exceptions to this rule code editors will typically be lighter than IDEs.
- OS compatibility: Not all IDEs or code editors offer cross-platform functionality. When reviewing options, be aware of OS compatibility.
- Support for users: A well-known software company may offer more support for its customers than an application that is less popular. You may be a beginner and have a long learning curve. Look for applications with active user communities and customer support.
- Accessibility: Unfortunately, code editors and IDEs leave much to be desired in terms of accessibility. Many tools offer screen readers and font adjustments to assist visually impaired programmers. However, they are not perfect. Screen readers, for example, fail to show the visual indicators of some of their most useful features such as syntax highlighting or refactoring suggestions.
1. WebStorm (IDE)
- Support and reliable updates
- Easily customizable with plugins
- Available for Windows, Linux, or macOS
- Students and open-source projects are free
- Can consume device memory
- Sometimes slow loading
Use Case: If you’re a multilingual web designer looking for an IDE that can support complex projects, this is the right place.
Price: $12.90/month for individual users. Students and open-source projects are eligible for a free copy.
2. IntelliJ IDEA Ultimate (IDE)
- Intuitive user interface
- Accurate autocompletion using DOM model
- Screen readers are one of the accessibility features.
- Indexing can take time
- Steeper learning curve
Use Case: If you are a professional and need a variety of functionalities to support ayour projects, this is the right place for you.
Price: $49.90/month for individual users
3. Komodo Edit (CE) and Komodo IDE
ActiveState developed Komodo Edit, Komodo IDE and Komodo Edit applications for dynamic programming languages. Komodo Edit is an open-source, free code editor. Komodo IDE is a commercial version of Komodo Edit that offers more functionality. Komodo IDE now comes as part of ActiveState.
- Macros customization
- Komodo IDE features include remote collaboration, Git integration, version control and live preview.
- Maintain and improve your home regularly
- For beginners, a steeper learning curve
- Komodo IDE has exclusive access to advanced features
- Developers for Python are not allowed to use Komodo IDE.
Use Case: A minimalist coding environment is what you want. You are actively prototyping and showcasing websites.
4. AWS Cloud9 (IDE)
AWS Cloud9 hosts an IDE on the cloud. Anyone can access this online IDE with an AWS account and a stable internet connection. This is particularly beneficial for those who cannot afford to install an expensive IDE locally.
- Intuitive user interface
- Real-time collaboration helps to avoid merge conflicts and overwriting
- Kube tooling, integrated shell and other functionalities are some of the features
- Installation is not required locally
- Access to stable Internet is required
- It is not free
- AWS account required
Use Case: If you need an IDE, but cannot afford one locally, it is possible to get them from the Internet. Collaboration tools are essential for your team. You are interested in serverless development, and need a preconfigured development environment to support it.
Price: AWS Cloud 9 prices with a pay for value billing model.
5. NetBeans (IDE)
NetBeans is a favorite among programmers for its easy-to-use and customizable interface. NetBeans comes pre-installed with many functions so that you can get up and running immediately after installation. NetBeans can be resource-intensive. If your device’s specs are lower, it may not work smoothly.
- It includes a debugger, code folding, and inbuilt Git support
- It is simple to customize the UI
- Available for Windows, Mac OS, and Linux
- It is difficult to integrate with other tools
- Minimal add-on features
- Resource demands
- Even for small front-end projects, it can be slow
Use Case: If you’re a Java developer or polyglot, your device can handle heavyweight applications.
6. Eclipse (IDE)
- Highly customizable
- Large user base, community-built plugins
- Use Emacs key bindings
- Limited support
- Resource demands
- Many people find the UI counterintuitive.
Use Case: If you prefer open-source software, and are willing to spend the time to customize it, then this is your choice. You like what other people may call an old-fashioned interface.
7. Sublime Text (CE)
Sublime Text can be used to edit source code for programming and markup languages. Sublime Text is a popular choice for developers due to its speed and versatility. You can customize it with a wide range of plugin packages.
- It’s lightweight and fast, as well as customizable
- Color coding, multi-selection and customizable hotkeys are some of the features. Git integration is also available.
- Available for Windows, macOS, or Linux
- Lacks intelligent code completion
- It takes time to set it up
- Steeper learning curve
- The work environment features are not adequate
Use Case: You value application speed and work regularly with large files. You work as a freelancer, or for a small company and don’t require a robust work environment.
Price: $99/year for individual users
8. Atom (CE)
Atom is GitHub’s open-source, free code editor. It includes smart code completion and an integrated package manager as standard features. It’s known as the “hackable text editor”, and it can be customized via plugins. Atom is based upon the Electron framework, and it is well-suited to building cross-platform desktop apps using Chromium or Node.js.
Atom’s simple UI and customization are well-known. However, users have reported bugs, freezing and crashes. If your machine is less powerful, this application will slow down.
- Highly customizable UI and functionality
- Features include GitHub integration and the APM integrated bundle manager. There are also multiple panes.
- Open-source software with a large, supportive community
- Large application size exceeding 100MB
- Long load times, frequent crashes, and freezes
- If you want to expand functionality with plugins, it will take longer to set up
Use Case: If you value customizability and an intuitive interface, as well as strong online communities, then you favor . Your device can handle large applications and is not weak of heart.
9. Visual Studio Code (CE)
Microsoft has released Visual Studio Code (VS Code), a free code editor. It is a code editor but does not have any testing or tooling. These functionalities can however be installed using plugins or extensions. VS Code has a strong community and technical support.
- Code folding, git integration and debugging are some of the features. IntelliSense is Microsoft’s implementation for code completion.
- Accessibility screen reader
- Steeper learning curve
- It takes a long time to set up extensions and plugins
10. Notepad++ (CE)
Notepad++ is a Windows source code editor that’s free to use. It’s a lightweight program that’s great for people with small device specs. It comes with syntax highlighting and code folding features. You can also customize it with macros or plugins.
- It is easy to set up and use
- Lightweight applications
- Supports macros and plugins
- Only for Windows
- Inadequate syntax checking and code completion
Use Case: If you are a Windows user and need a lightweight app for your device, this is the case. You are looking to do basic projects without having to install and customize a complicated IDE.