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Top 16 IDEs For Software Development: Which One Do You Choose?

When you are in the process of software development, you as a developer have to handle different issues and check everything at once. If you're just starting it might seem to be complicated and takes a lot of time. And sorry, but it is true.

But many tools can help software engineers in their hard professional lives.

The most useful tool for software programming is an integrated development environment (IDE).

IDE is a toolkit or an application suite made up of basic tools. These tools help software developers get their work was done quickly and mistake-free. The right IDEs are critical in the software development lifecycle. So let's take a look at the most prominent IDEs benefits.

With an IDE, you can write, check, and accelerate all frequently-performed actions as you are programming. This means
✅ automation of tasks
✅ optimization of work
✅ higher efficiency
✅ less time spent on development
✅ higher satisfaction with work and with final results

IDEs display an application’s structure as you are working on it. They let you search for pieces of code amongst massive amounts of data, and there is nothing better when you’re trying to get rid of any bugs.

IDEs are truly helpful in developer work as under the DevEcosystem survey of 2019 by JetBrains, 80% of engineers use source code collaboration tools (eg. IDEs that allow real-time collaboration in teams) and 75% of engineers use standalone IDEs. Only 3% of coders don’t use any tool in their work.

All that means that IDEs are quite important for the software development process.

In this article, we’ll talk about the most helpful for developers IDEs from the most popular and searched IDEs list according to GitHub data:
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Because it’s highly important to choose the right toolkit for your product needs as part of your project tech stack.

So, we have gathered for you the overview of the best IDEs for web and mobile development and structured them depending on the programming technology. Let’s get started.


📌IntelliJ IDEA by JetBrains
As Java is commonly used programming language for the web as well for mobile development we start with the best IDE for Java lang. That is Intellij as according to the above-mentioned survey.
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IntelliJ IDEA by JetBrains provides a full collection of tools for code writing and editing. Many think of it as the best free IDE for web development. You can use it for basic and smart autocompletion. Besides, it provides suggestions, code refactoring tools, and analysis. It features:
✅ Smart code completion that predicts elements in context and suggests tips to accelerate your workflow
✅ The inline debugging tool indicates your issues with your source code, so you don't have to go digging for them
✅ Out-of-the-box version control lets you return back your project to earlier states
✅ Moreover, IDE supports Integration with build-in tools like Apache Maven, Gradle, and Webpack

Besides, Java, you can work pretty well with CSS, HTML, JavaScript, Python, and PHP within IntelliJ IDEA. It also could be the best JetBrains platform for you, particularly if you’re seeking for HTML5 IDE.

NetBeans is another IDE for Java language as well it supports other programming languages. You can use it as an online IDE for Android development on Java. It has a growing development environment eg. community of users, where you can get almost any desired answers from advanced users.
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Source: Apache NetBeans

Notable NetBeans features include:
✅ Code assistance for adding missing elements and highlighting issues
✅ Custom keyboard shortcuts and code completion for editing
✅ A Visual Debugger for finding and resolving problem spots in your project
✅ Easy integration with Maven, Git, and other popular platforms and 3rd party tools
✅ NetBeans is available as a free download and very beginner-friendly. That makes it pretty attractive for Junior Developers.
✅ Although it is primarily geared towards Java development, you can use it to work with JavaScript, HTML, CSS, C/C++, C# as well. Some regard it as the best Android development IDE.

📌Visual Studio & Visual Studio Code
Visual Studio and Visual Studio Code is the most popular IDE with over 50% of developers using the first one under the StackOverflow Developer Survey 2019.
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These IDEs by Microsoft not surprising as it is designed to support around 15 programming languages.

VS and VS Code are good choices for engineers coding on C# or C/C++ langs. The C# support in IDE is designed for cross-platform C# development.

Visual Studio is full of helpful features as :
✅ Improved performance for C++ files
✅ Ability to apply emulators
✅ Integrated Git management and repo creation within the platform
✅ Code suggestion for faster coding
✅ CodeLens feature that analyzes code and shows your where to improve it
✅ Debugging at the needed moment of the code execution and testing at the moment you code
✅ Collaboration with the IDE
✅ While a Microsoft C/C++ extension provides extensive C/C++ support for VS Code for macOS, Windows, and Linux.

📌VS Code
VS Code open-source, developed by Microsoft and based on an Electron framework. It’s is excellent for customization under your needs.

VS Code includes common features of debugging and editing toolkit and the next functions:
✅ Features an inbuilt Command Line Interface
✅ Easily integrated with Git that helps with committing, pulling, and publishing using a simple GUI
✅ Provides a rich API that enables tools for debugging
✅ Has code refactoring capabilities, Intelligent Code completion, and snippets
✅ Provides developers with analytics data for improving the performance of the app and quick bugs fix

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Source: VS Code

What else is worth mentioning is that the VS Code is a popular choice for Android development since it was integrated with Xamarin. Equipped with robust tools for coding, this IDE lets programmers not only develop pleasing mobile apps but also test different functions.

This open-source editor, providing a custom C/C++ IDE. Besides, you can use it for various languages and add all needed features for your just into default IDE package. Eclipse has a vast ecosystem of extension and plug-ins designed almost for any needs. Besides, it is very flexible and useful for both beginners and pros. Thanks to that you can easily personalize the platform for your needs

Between that, under JetBrains mentioned above survey:
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Eclipse allows you to build and develop different cross-platform apps based on C/C++ or C# for web, mobile, desktop, or enterprise domains. It also supports:
✅ Debugging, compiling, profiling, and auto-completion of code
✅ Refactoring or restructuring of code which can be performed without changing external behavior

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It needs to mention that Eclipse has been used for coding on Java for a long time. As it uses a lot of required tools for that including Git Client, XML Editor, Mylyn, Maven Integration, CVS Client, PyDev, and Window Builder.

Eclipse also supports Peri, PHP, Python, Ruby, and more.

PHPStorm is a popular IDE for PHP development designed by JetBrains. It supports all modern frameworks including Symfony, Laravel, Drupal, WordPress, Zend Framework, Magento, Joomla!, CakePHP, Yii, and others.
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Source: JetBrains PHPStorm

The platform has a rich set of functionalities. Some of its handy features include:
✅ High-quality code completion and error detection for fast, flawless development
✅ Live editing for a front-end view of your ongoing project
✅ A Visual Debugger to help you manage your project throughout its development
✅ Code completion, safety refactorings, on the go error prevention, and more.
✅ Intelligent Coding Assistance that verifies and analyzes the entire project supporting formatting and quick-fixes
✅ Easy code navigation with lightning-fast navigation features
✅ Efficient testing and debugging
✅ Integrated with built-in developer tools to handle inquiries right from the IDE. These integrations are Version Control Systems integration, support for remote deployment, databases/SQL, command-line tools, Docker, Composer, REST Client, and many other tools.
✅ Additionally, PHPStorm includes support for CSS, JavaScript, and HTML, as well as its titular coding language.

📌Sublime Text
Sublime Text is an excellent IDE for many programming languages, including PHP. It’s highly sophisticated and includes numerous add-ons that you can customize.

This code editor is available for all three major operating systems. It supports JavaScript, HTML, CSS, PHP, Python, and other programming languages. You can use it as an Eclipse Java IDE.
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Source: Sublime Text

It incorporates several features to make editing your code faster and simpler, including:
✅ Clear navigation for quickly jumping to various words, lines, or files
✅ A multiple selections feature that allows making changes in several code lines at once
✅ Split editing and project switching that lets you easily move between projects or edit them at the same time

Atom is a modern and easy to use text editor, which can be customized in many different ways. With it, you get open access to the config file. It offers many great functions that you can customize as well.

It has cross-platform compatibility for use on Windows, Linux, or Mac.
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Source: Atom

If you need a Java online IDE, it should work for you too. It features:
✅ Code autocomplete for fast, smooth editing
✅ The ability to split an editing interface so you can see and work on multiple files or projects at once
✅ A built-in installer for managing and adding extensions or “packages”
✅ An expansive package library that includes add-ons for additional language support, including PHP and Python

📌Light Table
JavaScript is still keeping the position as the most commonly used programming language, so it might be relevant to figure out the best IDE for this lang.

And Light Table is a web developer IDE or code editor designed perfectly for JavaScript development. It is a lightweight platform where you can embed anything you want, including graphs, games, and visualizations.
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Source: Light Table

Let’s discover more details on platform key features:
✅ Provides real-time analysis through your code
✅ Efficient debugging and testing
✅ Easy navigation within your code thanks to the finder for files and commands feature
✅ Intuitive design
✅ Easy-to-learn
✅ Moreover, Light TableIt’s fully customizable and features many extensions with additional features.

Brackets is an open-source code editor geared towards web development languages like HTML, CSS, JavaScript and web frameworks like Angular, Vue, or Svelte.

Brackets includes several "visual tools" to help you create sleek and appealing sites. This platform is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux.
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Source: Brackets

The Brackets benefits for developers are:
✅ Inline Editors so you can avoid switching multiple times between file tabs
✅ Live Preview with a real-time connection to your browser that allows you to change your CSS and HTML code and see instant changes on the screen
✅ Preprocessor Support with Quick Edit and Live Highlight.
✅ Besides, Python and PHP integration via language servers are also possible.

PyCharm and Spyder are the most popular Python IDEs. Each one offers many advantages for the discerning developer. Both can create a website development environment that is easy to control.

PyCharm supports web development with Django and was developed by JetBrains.
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Source: JetBrains PyCharm

Many software developers consider it to be the best IDE for Python. With it, you can:
✅ Use code completion to speed up the development process and type less
✅ Use smart navigation to switch tools quickly, jump to issues, and more
✅ Implement Python profiling to determine code execution times better
✅ Integrated with Anaconda, IPython Notebook, and other libraries that are a perfect match for data science and ML development.
✅ Additionally, it supports nine more languages, as well as Python. These include AngularJS, Coffee Script, CSS, Python, HTML, JavaScript, Node.js, TypeScript, and other popular web technologies. This might be the best IDE for programming if you are looking at versatility alone.

📌Aptana Studio 3
This is an open-source IDE that is much loved by developers thanks to its flexibility and robust web development engine. Aptana Studio 3 aids in the rapid development of web apps. It enables programmers to develop, test, and deploy web apps from a single platform.

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Its features include:
✅ Multiple protocols as FTP, SFTP, and FTPS, and more
✅ Integrated debuggers to set breakpoints
✅ Git source code control
✅ Command-line terminal capability for the execution of operating system commands
✅ Scripting of custom commands to extend core capabilities.
✅ Moreover, the programming languages that it supports include HTML5, CSS3, Ruby, JavaScript, PHP, Rails, and Python. For OS, it supports Windows, Mac, and Linux.

📌Android Studio
Android Studio should be your first IDE if you would like to become an Android developer.
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Source: AndroidStudio

Here are the next smart features of this integrated development environment:
✅ Visual layout editor that allows you to preview your screen on various Android devices
✅ APK Analyzer that checks the content of your APK file and figures out for you the ways to reduce your Android app size
✅ Fast emulator allows you to simulate different configurations and functions in your app, as for example, ARCore
✅ Smart code editor helps you to deliver the more readable code for Kotlin, Java, and C/C++ languages.
✅ Built-in profiling tools serve you real-time analytics for your app's CPU, memory, and network that you be able to avoid performance issues
✅ The customizable system provides you with opportunities to create multiple build variants for different devices within one project.

📌Arduino IDE
The Arduino IDE is a platform that runs on Java. It is an open-source web development IDE designed for development for Android OS. But it’s available for other operating systems.
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Platform’s key features:
✅ Extremely easy code compilation
✅ Beginner-friendly
✅ Arduino is a great choice for novice developers.

Corona is a popular coding tool among software developers and a top Android development IDE. From writing programs to deploying mobile apps, it lets coders engage in issue-free mobile app development.

Corona enables software engineers to develop responsive and adaptive environments.
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Source: Corona

Developers also use this IDE for testing and making changes to apps after a release. The Corona benefits:
✅ Well-maintained documentation
✅ Active support community
✅ Previewing capabilities through which developers can see how an app will
✅ Look after changes have been made
✅ Rapid debugging and testing
✅ This could be the most popular IDE for web development for those who are designing for Android.

XCode is a development IDE designed by Apple that is used for iPhone apps development as well as to create native apps for all of its products. It is available for free download and supports macOS.
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Source: XCode

What else we need to mention about XCode are:
✅ collection of extensions to individualize your coding experience
✅ Declarative Swift syntax that helps you to develop your perfect user interface functionality
✅ Design tools are presented by drag and drop constructor to make quick changes to UI elements
✅ Live mode allows you to check your changes in design in real-time.
✅ Native performance and integration for Apple platforms

Anyway, consider the necessities for your project, and choose the one that has all of the features your software requires.

🔔 And, guys, share in comments what IDE you love and use the most and why.
I'd love to read your thoughts💭 on this.

Initially published on Softermii Blog Post on Top IDEs.

Top comments (1)

miketalbot profile image
Mike Talbot ⭐ • Edited

For Javascript/Lua/Java/Ruby:

Webstorm/IntelliJ/RubyMine for me - it searches/indexes and refactors better than any other IDE I've used. I'd use it first apart from the way it looks sometimes.

For look: VS Code, because: caret animation and clean themes. Ayu mirage and caret animation - I love it, right up to the point I want to refactor "move a function".