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Five Integrated Development Environment applications

When it comes to building applications, the right tool for the job can really make all the difference.

For all the software and web developers out there, the right tool for the job can really make all the difference. For some, a basic text editor like vim, emacs or even a simple notepad-like app usually gets the job done. However, Integrated Development Environment suites (IDE) tend to offer a richer code editing experience that can include extras like wizards, debug mode and color coding, just to name a few. To that end, here are five IDEs that are worth considering for coding professionals.

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Five Apps

1. Microsoft Visual Studio 2012 Pro

If you are looking for the definitive IDE for Windows application development, look no further than to Microsoft's own developer toolset. Visual Studio products cover languages like C++, C# and VB.NET. In addition, you are also able to develop for the Windows x86, Windows RT, and Windows Phone. The latest version of Visual Studio is also designed to be optimized for touch, just in case you happen to be writing code on a Microsoft Surface. Visual Studio Professional will cost you $499.

2. Oracle Netbeans 7

If you are more of a Java developer, Oracle's got your back with their Netbeans IDE. Of course, despite the fact that excellent Java support is its claim to fame going as far back as the Sun Microsystems days, other languages like C/C++, Ruby, HTML5, PHP and more are supported as well. Netbeans is extremely extensible via its plugin-centric design, allowing you to add additional language syntax support and libraries, among other things. Netbeans is free under the Common Development and Distribution License (CDDL) v1.0 and GNU General Public License (GPL) v2.

3. Eclipse

This IDE is quite comprehensive and even similar to Netbeans in a variety of ways, including its use of Java and plugin architecture. However, Eclipse as an IDE comes in a wild variety of flavors, catering to various needs and objectives in software development workflows. The Eclipse Foundation even provides a comparison page to view the differences between the variants of Eclipse. Eclipse is free under the terms and conditions of the Eclipse Foundation Software User Agreement unless otherwise specified.

4. Code::Blocks

Unlike the other products seen thus far, Code::Blocks, which is built on the wxWidgets framework, is exceptionally lightweight in size, yet still quite functional and feature-rich IDE. You can load up a number of under-the-hood compiler engines, ranging from GCC and LLVM, to Digital Mars and Open Watcom. Code::Blocks also takes advantage of multi-core compiling, allowing you to get the job done faster. Code::Blocks is distributed under the GPL v3.0 license which means it can be used freely by anyone.

5. Aptana Studio 3

If web and scripting languages are more of your style, Aptana is well suited for the task. PHP, Ruby on Rails, and Python are supported as well as the likes of Adobe AIR. Even the studio itself is available as a plugin for Eclipse if you prefer the way Aptana handles your work and want to combine it with a more comprehensive IDE. Aptana Studio 3 is free and available solely under the GNU General Public License.

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An avid technology writer and an IT guru, Matthew is here to help bring the best in software, hardware and the web to the collective consciousness of TechRepublic's readership. In addition to writing for TechRepublic, Matthew currently works as a Cus...

9 comments
mattohare
mattohare

I thought Netbeans dropped all support for Ruby and Rails. I did like it, but then could not use the new version. I have always liked Visual Studio even with it's wee annoyances. I've been trying RubyMines, but it seems that JetBrains is not keen on update installers. I've updated three times, and had to rebuild the settings from scratch all three times. It just doesn't seem to want to do an 'update'.

s.t
s.t

Once upon a time a great producer of software for developer named "Borland" ... After some year CodeGear and after some year Embarcadero. The ide of the old Delphi (thru v 7) was innovative and my best ide and development tool for year. CodeGear believed in .NET and i've stopped the upgrade until the Embarcadero dusts the good old win32 and also the new win64 going thru the new success. The current product now it's the RAD studio XE4 but it's overpriced (over 4.000$ for the top product) and i hate the new company policy because in two year they go out with 4 version (from XE to XE4, one version every six month) and they don't do a a real upgrade policy (with low price) from the previous version. This upgrade cost over 2600$ also from XE1 to XE2 or XE2 to XE4. Anyway i think they need a mention in the "Integrated Development Environment applications" because it's a great ide and with the same IDE you can develop for : - win32 - win64 - ios (iphone, ipad, Mac) - next to come : android and linux (already present in past with kylix)

blacksmithforlife
blacksmithforlife

I think this posting could use more focus. I don't see anywhere here what the requirements are for a good IDE. For example, it could be grouped by language, or by cost, or by ease of use, etc. This seems like just a random list of what is most popular

gary_grubb
gary_grubb

I am partial to IntelliJ/IDEA -- I started in 2002 with a licensed version but after several years started using the community version. It is REALLY easy to use You can set up your classes in minutes, intelliSense is great, and the refactoring is awesome. Having said that, I will probably have to move my code to Eclipse before I retire. Eclipse & Oracel Developer (YUK!) appear to be the IDEs of choice for the rest of the company's Java developers.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

Who gets one of them? You use what your employer will pay for..

mickyel
mickyel

I use VS 2010 at work and at home. I also use eclipse at home for Android development. I've used Netbeans in the past. All three are excellent IDEs but for a new developer without a lot of funds you can't beat free that's where Eclipse and NetBeans really stand out you can get all the bells and whistles that VS has and not have to spend a lot. Which is really great for someone who wants to learn programming. VS Express is ok for startup but when you need to advance you have to come out of your pocket, and with some training projects VS express won't cut it.

solomonope
solomonope

Because I'm primarily a .Net developer Visual Studio has always been my primary IDE of choice,I prefer netbeans for Java and Php developments, I switched frequently between eclipse and netbeans for a while for my Java developments but I realised netbeans was far more comfortable for me compared to eclipse.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

What is current IDE of choice? How long has it been your chosen IDE and how often have you changed your primary development tool?

stumpcat
stumpcat

I use Delphi for programming Win32 apps so that's the one I use. I've used VS 2010 for some .net apps but, overall, I much prefer the Delphi IDE.