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Top Integrated Development Environments (IDEs) in 2018: What the Experts Say

A developer can access versatile text editors like Sublime, VIM, and Atom. They provide the architecture and a library of tools for applications development. Text editors highlight syntax, customize interfaces and permit easy navigation, but you can’t use them for anything more than writing code.

Your work isn’t confined to development. You need to test and deploy applications. You want to see how your application performs on different devices. You also need tools for testing and comparing performance. For these purposes, you use The Integrated Development Environment (IDE) software application.

With an IDE, you get all the features of the text editor bundled with a compiler and debugger. With an IDE, your environment equips you with every tool you need to deliver fully-functional applications and computer programs.

When you decide on the IDE, you consider three important factors – the languages that are supported, the IDE’s ease of use, and, more important, what it’s going to cost you.

IT strategists at Ottawa Firewall Technical maintain that support & IT services play a critical role in determining the profitability and success of businesses.

Whether you’re a business seeking professional assistance in migrating to a good IDE platform or an individual developer keen on testing your new app, you still need to decide on the IDE that suits your needs.

Top Integrated Development Environments (IDEs) in 2018
Image Credit: Pixabay

To make your technology transition smoother, we highlight the Top Integrated Developer Environments (IDEs) in 2018:

Visual Studio Code (VSCode)

Overview

Developed by Microsoft, VSCode is a free open-source code editor that runs on Windows, macOS, and Linux with debugging support. The user interface is customizable, and you can navigate the menus easily with faster keyboard shortcuts. In 2018, VSCode emerged as the top-ranking IDE. It was the gateway for 39% of users in the web developer community.

C++, C#, CSS, Dockerfile, Go, HTML, Java, JavaScript, JSON, Less, Markdown, PHP, Python, Sass, T-SQL, and TypeScript are supported by VSCode.

Pros

  • Variable themes permit you to change colors, fonts and contrast to create a pleasant working environment.
  • Multiple extensions permit you to make code readable, colorize bracket pairs, and locate and rectify typos.
  • You can beautify and format JavaScript/TypeScript/CSS code.
  • HTML markup such as auto-close tags receives rich language support.
  • Font-family, font-size, and line height are fully customizable for better readability.
  • Source Control (Git) is much easier as VSCode gives you one-tap access to different versions to make and monitor changes.

Cons

Being heavy on computing resources, VSCode users may find minor editing jobs slowing down on some devices.

Xcode

Overview

Developed by Apple, Xcode is a free open-source code editor for developing apps tailor-made for iPad, iPhone and Mac operating systems. A useful feature is the communication protocol that helps developers create fully functional apps. AppleScript, C, C++, Java, and Objective-C are the languages that are supported by this IDE.

Pros

  • The improved version, Xcode 7, enables developers to create new apps for Apple TV that runs on the tvOS operating system. A new interface, TVML, which is an XML description language, aligns code and TV screen.
  • The third biggest ecosystem after iPhones and iPads is the Apple watch. Xcode has an updated version that supports app development for watchOS 2, expanding a new App Store. More than 25 billion apps were downloaded from this app store.
  • Developers use graphical user interface testing to ensure an application meets product specifications. Xcode IDE has this feature, enabling developers to independently test a whole new range of iOS 9 apps.
  • With the integration of TestFlight into Xcode, developers can download and test an app on iOS for user acceptance.

Cons

You can’t run Xcode on any device other than an Apple machine. You need a license to load new apps to the Apple store.

The Best Java IDEs for Server-Side Development:  NetBeans, IntelliJ IDEA, and Eclipse

A Java developer needs an IDE that is compatible with the Java programming language. Selection of the IDE depends on the kind of development you are attempting, the skill sets that you possess, and the process used for developing and testing solutions.

There are three Java IDEs that deserve special mention: NetBeans, IntelliJ IDEA, and Eclipse.

NetBeans

NetBeans is a free open-source IDE that started as a student project in Prague and was commercially released in 2000. It boasts a simplified drag-and-drop interface with convenient templates. It became the official IDE for Java 8. The 8.1 version supports Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, and Solaris.

Though NetBeans focuses on developing Java applications, it can be tailored to support other languages also. C, C++, C++11, Fortan, HTML 5, Java, and PHP are the major languages supported.

Pros

  • It has a sturdy build profile that has built-in support for Gradle plugins Maven and Ant. Its debug function is ideal for developing modern web applications. Developers can conveniently take GUI snapshots, useful in handling JavaFX and Swing Apps. It also detects and plugs memory leaks.
  • Smart coding takes on a new meaning because the IDE editor detects and corrects errors while keying in. The refactoring tools help in restructuring the code and conducting source code analysis. It is also possible to run inspection protocols as you code

Cons

NetBeans is a memory hog which makes it perform slowly on some devices.

IntelliJ IDEA

This IDE comes in two packages; a free Community Edition, and the 30-day free trial Ultimate Edition. Premium use costs US $499 in the first year of use, presenting an array of scalable features. IntelliJ IDEAs versatility in supporting Java 8 and Java EE 7 enables mobile app development across different platforms and enterprise development support. IntelliJ justifies its cost considering the feature-rich architecture it supports.

AngularJS, CoffeeScript, CS, HTML, JavaScript, LESS, Node JS, PHP, Python, Ruby, Sass, and TypeScript are supported by IntelliJ IDEA.

Pros

  • IntelliJ IDEA is, ergonomically, a developer’s delight because you can focus on the code developer even as the Project tool window is in full view.
  • The unified interface with improved control systems, Git, SVN, Mercurial, CVS, Perforce and TFS make the IDE popular with developers working on Java projects.
  • It becomes easier to manipulate the environment with the help of strong building, testing, and coverage tools.

Cons

Being feature-rich, users have to adjust to a longer learning curve. Remembering the short-cuts could test one’s patience. Some users say the UI is clunky and sluggish to operate.

Eclipse

If beginners and professionals could be on the same page, it would be with the Eclipse IDE. A diverse range of extensions and plugins makes this IDE expand its support to languages beyond Java.  Development tooling acquires a new meaning with extensive support for charting, modeling, reporting, testing, and UI building.

C, C++, Java, Perl, PHP, Python, and Ruby are the major languages supported.

Pros

  • The ever-expanding Eclipse community has contributed more than 1700 plugins covering 100 programming languages running 200 application development frameworks.
  • Depending on the plugins you install, you can change the architecture, and view the functionality and perspective of the environment you use.
  • Eclipse offers multiple delivery channels for developing the same task.
  • Refactoring is easier in Java, using Eclipse, as you can manipulate 23 operations and transformations.

Cons

The core strength of Eclipse, its sheer versatility, can intimidate newcomers. Some users argue that IntelliJ IDEA has more functionality than Eclipse. What works for Eclipse is that it is open source.

Personalize Your Strategy for Locating the Perfect IDE

The choice of IDE has a lot to do with the operating system that you target, your programming language of choice, and the platform that suits the task you wish to perform. Write down your choices, examine the tools we have analyzed, and then decide on the IDE for your project. Remember that the tag of top IDE in the developer community may not be of much relevance to you. What you need is the IDE that performs the job as you want it to.

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