What are Integrated Development Environments (IDE) and Why Use Them?

Integrated development environments (IDE) are used by developers to improve their computer programming workflow through the use of multiple integrated tools.

In this tutorial, we will show what are IDEs, why to use them and how to choose the right IDE.

What is an IDE

An Integrated development environment, also known as IDE, is software that combines the features needed to write a computer program.

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Why Use an IDE?

Integrated development environments are one of the ways that web developers can use to run code. They provide things such as a file management interface, access to a Terminal, run code, along with many other web development features.

I often mentioned them as my go to solution to run Python code.

Web developers don’t HAVE to use IDEs, as HTML files are essentially text files.
However, IDEs help improve the web developer’s workflow with the various tools available in text editors.

The biggest critique to IDEs is that by learning web development using an IDE, beginners may become “lazy” and rely heavily on syntax tools.

Useful Tools for Web Developers in IDEs

Each IDE has its own specific tools, but here are the basic things that you want in a well-integrated development environment:

  • Syntax Highlighting
  • Autocomplete
  • Debugging
  • Terminal
  • Git version Control

Most Common IDEs for Web Development

Open Source (FREE) IDEs

Most developers don’t need to pay for an IDE.

I would recommend you start with an open-source IDE.

Here is a list of great IDEs that you can use for free.

I have a personal preference for VSCode with Python. That is because Microsoft is carbon neutral and a leading figure in the fight for climate change:

  1. Visual Studio Code (VSCode) – by Microsoft
  2. Atom.io – by Google
  3. Brackets – by Adobe

Paid IDEs

One of the reasons people argue that you should pay for IDEs is so you can have tools specific to your programming language.

I have never paid for an IDE myself, and perhaps I never will. Hence I am not the one to talk about why you should pay for one.

  1. SublimeText: general
  2. PyCharm: for Python
  3. PHPStorm: for PHP
  4. RubyMine: for Ruby
  5. WebStorm: for JavaScript

How to Choose the Right IDE?

If you are a beginner programmer, don’t worry too much about this. Take a versatile. IDE such as VSCode or Atom and you will be fine.

If you are a very careful consumer, the choice of the IDE depends on your need.

You may want a very simple IDE, in which case you could tend towards brackets.io. Alternatively, you may want one that you can extend and easily use with most programming languages. Then, you would use something like VSCode.

You may want something highly specialized, regardless of the cost, so you’d pay for something like PyCharm.

Many factors will influence your decision.

  • Simplicity
  • Cost
  • Debugging
  • Packages that can be installed
  • Reliability

Full List of IDEs

This list below is a comprehensive list of IDEs.

  1. Atom
  2. Android Studio
  3. Aptana Studio 3
  4. Arduino IDE
  5. BlueJ
  6. Brackets.io
  7. C++Builder
  8. C-Free
  9. Cloud9 IDE
  10. Coda2
  11. Code::blocks
  12. Codefresh
  13. Codelobster
  14. CodeLite
  15. Codenvy
  16. Eclipse
  17. Geanu
  18. GNAT Programming Studio
  19. IDLE
  20. JCreator
  21. JDeveloper
  22. Kantharos IDE
  23. Komodo Edit
  24. KDevelop
  25. Lazarus
  26. Light Table
  27. MyEclipse
  28. NetBeans
  29. Ninja-ID
  30. Oracle Developer Studio
  31. PhpEd
  32. PyDev
  33. PyScripter
  34. Qt Creator
  35. Rapid PHP
  36. SharpDevelop
  37. Spyder IDE
  38. Thonny
  39. Visual Studio Code
  40. Zend Studio

Jetbrains Paid IDEs

  1. PyCharm
  2. PHPStorm
  3. WebStorm
  4. CLion
  5. RubyMine
  6. IntelliJ IDEA
  7. AppCode


You now know what are Integrated development environments (IDE), how to choose the right one and are now ready to learn web development.

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