An integrated development environment (IDE) is a software application that provides comprehensive facilities to programmers for software development. Many coders learn to code using a text editor but in time they move towards using an IDE as this type of software application makes the art of coding quicker and more efficient. For example, IDEs have semantic knowledge of the programming language which highlights coding problems while typing. Compiling is ‘on the fly’ and debugging is integrated. Some languages are built around IDE support.
An IDE typically includes:
- Source code editor (essentially a text editor with additional features such as code completion, structural navigation, and syntax highlighting)
- Compiler and/or interpreter
- Build automation tools
A good IDE helps developers produce bug-free, maintainable applications quicker than by using an editor and console based tools. However, selecting an IDE can be a daunting task, in part because there are a large number available for Linux. Some IDEs are dedicated to a specific programming languages, but there are many multiple-language IDEs.
To provide an insight into the quality of software that is available, we have compiled a list of 5 highly promising open source IDEs. They are all in a fairly early stage of development, but are making real strides to become polished environments. They also have in common the fact that they run on Linux, Windows and OS X. Developers can use the same environment whatever operating system is being used for a particular project. Hopefully, there will be something of interest here for anyone who wants to quicken the pace of software development.
Now, let’s explore the 5 IDEs at hand. For each title we have compiled its own portal page, a full description with an in-depth analysis of its features, screenshots, together with links to relevant resources and reviews.
|Integrated Development Environments|
|Light Table||Modify running programs and embed anything from websites to game|
|Julia Studio||Cross-platform IDE for the Julia language|
|Brackets||Editor for web designers and front-end developers|
|Dart Editor||Powerful tool for editing, debugging, and running Dart applications|
|Aptana||For building Ajax web applications|
|Return to our complete collection of recommended free and open source software including our latest additions.|