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Best Ruby on Rails IDE you need to know

kevinhq profile image kevin ・5 min read

I have been working with Ruby on Rails since 2012. During these seven years quests, I stumbled upon many IDE for Ruby on Rails. I found some of them are the best for my need as a Rails developer. Thus, that can be the best for yours too, my fellow Rails developer.

RubyMine

During my earliest year as Rails developer, when I still work as an in-house developer on a local web development house, I use this RubyMine IDE. I don’t remember well, but some people in the company can get it for all of us. It’s very helpful as a beginner to work with such intelligent IDE (just like its tagline)

Unfortunately, its price is not cheap. For individual use, you’ll have to pay $89 per year for the IDE only. However, if you’re running open source project, they offered it for free. I am not sure how the details but they also give it away for teachers and students too, and for a non-profit organization.

Pros

For beginners, I admitted it helps a lot to learn to work with Rails. It’s also intelligent like most IDE we hope too (read: autocomplete syntax). Besides, it had been around for at least seven years so you don’t need to worry about their commitment to future support and updates.

Not only that, as far as I know, the RubyMine is the only IDE that focused for Ruby on Rails development. Unlike other IDE like Netbeans or Eclipse which mainly focus is Java.

The other plus point is it supports all three major operating systems: Windows,  Mac, and Linux.

Cons

Though it’s a good IDE, there are many weak points that may stop you from using that:

  • It’s expensive, for individual license. Especially when you just begin your career as a developer. Unless you have sponsors like me that give it to you for free, it may be a financial burden for beginners.
  • The size is large. I remember the installer file for Mac is more than 200MB. For those who had no good and stable internet connection, downloading it can be frustrating.
  • Since the size is large, it can consume large storage once you installed it on your laptop.
  • It’s slower and heavier, compared to lighter text editors such Atom from Github or Textmate or GEdit of Linux. But this makes sense since it’s IDE, not a merely text-editor.

After the early years passed, I begin to switch to lighter text editors. Several years later, I even use Vim to work with Ruby on Rails until I found out the Cloud IDE  is raising. At this point, most of my client’s project asked to switch to Cloud IDE for several reasons.

But, the main reason is how easy it is to do code review and for some smaller projects, this Cloud IDE even removed the needs to set up a staging server.

AWS Cloud9

Formerly is Cloud9 (c9.io), after Amazon acquired it, they integrate it with their AWS infrastructure. Even after they move to AWS Cloud9, most of its features and interfaces are exactly the same as the old Cloud9.

The only difference is you now need to sign up for AWS account to use this AWS Cloud9. The pricing also switched to the “pay as you go” schema, just like the AWS EC2 pricing.

This because AWS Cloud9 is running at the top of an EC2 instance. If you haven’t known, they will disable your workspace on old Cloud9 by the end of this month (June 30, 2019). But don’t worry, you’ll still be able to download and migrate your workspace to somewhere else.

However, the easiest option to migrate is to migrate to AWS Cloud9. I wrote my story of migrating them here. After migration to AWS Cloud9, the only feature I missed is setting the preview URL to be public.

As of now, to see the preview URL of running application, you need to login to AWS account first. On old Cloud9, you can set it to public. I hope Amazon will restore this function soon.

Pros

It’s cloud, and it’s running at the top of AWS EC2 infrastructure. Migrating from old Cloud9 to AWS Cloud9 is also easy. Amazon provides you with detailed guides and walkthrough.

Because it’s cloud, you can write and debug codes anywhere. Even with an Android tablet with a large display, you’ll be able to do it. The only inconvenience is you don’t have a physical keyboard. Yet, this is very handy if you need to do a quick fix and you’re still outside and just bringing your tablet instead of your laptop.

Another plus point is it’s very easy to set up to run with Ruby on Rails application. And with such Cloud IDE, you don’t have to download anything but opening your favorite web browser.

Cons

After it moved to AWS, it’s pricing schema become a “pay as you go”.  Not only that, your IDE will go off after 30 minutes inactivity by default. Amazon said this for minimizing the cost. Personally, I prefer the old C9 pricing where you pay $19/month and your IDE will stay awake.

Repl.it 

If you don’t want to migrate your Rails application into AWS Cloud9, there’s an alternative called Repl.it. Its pricing is similar to that old Cloud9, but it’s much cheaper: starts from $7/month.

The plus and minus points are more or less similar to that AWS Cloud9 except that its pricing is starting from $7/month. Even compared to the old C9 $19/month, it’s still half the price.

Gitpod

Another Cloud IDE which can be one of the best IDE for Rails is Gitpod. Unlike the other Cloud IDE, Gitpod offered you seamless integration with Github.

In fact, I believe Gitpod would be the most suitable IDE for your Rails development if your projects are pushed to Github repository. The only thing that you may feel a minus point is their pricing.

The tier that comes up with unlimited hours starts from $39/month. It’s pretty much more expensive compared to the other two. But, if you don’t mind with the 100 hours usage limitation for every month, you can go with their $9/month plan.

Conclusion

You need to choose the Ruby on Rails IDE that fits most of your needs. We can’t say that AWS Cloud9 or RubyMine is the best among them. Many folks had various projects which had different needs. 

For example, if the Rails project is just small with one or two developers and 100 hours of work per month is enough, and that project codes are hosted on Github, Gitpod will make more sense.

Or if the project developers are all working together at the same place, at the same time, which means there’s no need for such fancy Cloud IDE, then RubyMine can come in handy.

Otherwise, when you need Cloud IDE but too lazy to sign up for AWS account, Repl.it is your best answer. Yet, for projects that its infrastructures depend on AWS EC2, using S3, and the database is hosted on Amazon RDS, the AWS Cloud9 should be the best match. 

Originally was published at Best Ruby on Rails IDE you need to know - kevin's tech blog

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kevin

@kevinhq

#WebDeveloper since 2010. Working remotely with #RubyOnRails since 2012.

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