IDE stands for Integrated Development Environment, and it is an application that combines multiple development tools. IDEs are extensively used in web development since they make it easier for developers to write, run, and debug web applications and websites. Also, an IDE allows web developers to handle large codebases and ensure fast development and deployment of projects.
This article will make you familiar with the best web development IDEs out there. However, before we discuss the list of web development IDEs, let us first understand what exactly an IDE is and how to choose the best IDE for your project.
So, here it goes.
What is IDE?
An integrated development environment (IDE) is a software program that combines various tools, such as text editors, code libraries, compilers, debuggers, and automation tools that make the software development process effortless and seamless. An IDE primarily consists of a source code editor, a debugger, and build automation tools.
The basic tools required for developing any software application are namely text editor, compiler, and debugger. Without an IDE, we need to manage all these development tools separately. An IDE combines all these tools into a single GUI, making the software development process smooth and easy.
Many people have confusion between IDE and source-code editor. Programmers can write and edit the source code with a source code editor. It can be a standalone software application or a part of an IDE. Many source code editors provide the most basic features, like syntax highlighting, auto-completion, brace matching, and indentation.
Common Features of an IDE
A myriad of web development IDEs is available out there. Therefore, picking the right one might seem a challenging task. Before choosing an IDE for your project, it is essential to understand what features and tools it provides. The following are some typical features that you can expect in a modern and powerful IDE:
- Syntax highlighting, auto-completion, quick fixes of errors in code, and brace matching.
- Plugins to extend functionalities of the IDE.
- Compatibility with major operating systems, such as Windows, Linux, and macOS.
- Support for multiple programming languages.
- A preview window that allows developers to view the output of a code.
Top 10 Web Development IDEs to Use in 2022
The following are the top 10 handpicked web development IDEs along with their detailed overview.
Developer: Apache Software Foundation.
License: Apache License 2.0.
The NetBeans Profiler is a tool that enables developers to find memory leaks and optimize the speed of Java applications. On the other hand, the GUI design tool, formerly known as Project Matisse, helps developers to design Swing GUIs by dragging and dropping GUI components.
- Generation of AJAX callbacks from a template.
- Automatic browser compatibility checks.
Developer: Eclipse Foundation
License: Eclipse Public License (EPL).
It is a cross-platform IDE compatible with Windows, macOS, and Linux operating systems. The development environment in Eclipse has the Eclipse Java development tools (JDT) for Java and Scala, Eclipse PDT for PHP, Eclipse CDT for C and C++, and many others.
Eclipse IDE is a comprehensive development environment for Java developers that includes all essential tools, such as a Java IDE, a CVS client, Git client, WindowBuilder, Maven integration, XML editor, and Mylyn.
Some of the main code editing features of Eclipse include auto-correction, refactoring, and code formatting. In addition, Eclipse is an extensible platform since we can install a collection of tools in the Eclipse desktop IDE, including GUI builders and tools for modeling, charting, testing, and reporting.
With the Eclipse Marketplace Client, we can find and install new plugins. Also, you can create your own plugins using the Plug-in Development Environment (PDE).
Developer: JetBrains, a Czech Republic-based software development company.
PHPStorm is an integrated development environment for PHP. It is a cross-platform IDE available for Windows, macOS, and Linux operating systems.
- It provides code completion suggestions based on @var annotations, @property, and @method.
- The code completion feature finalizes methods, classes, variable names, and PHP keywords.
- Duplicate code detector.
- PHP Code Sniffer that checks for code smells on the fly. A code smell in programming is any feature of a source code that leads to a deeper problem.
PHPStorm also supports easy-to-configure visual debuggers such as Xdebug and Zend Debugger. Also, it allows you to create PHPUnit tests and run them instantly from a directory, file, or class by using the context menu options.
PHPStorm comes with two different pricing plans, one for organizations and another for individuals. In addition, it offers a free trial for the first 30 days. For organizations, it charges $199 per year per user for the first year, $159 per year per user for the second year, and $119 per year per user from the third year onwards.
For individual use, PHPStorm charges $89 per year per user for the first year, $71 per year per user for the second year, and $53 per year per user from the third year onwards.
RubyMine is a Ruby on Rails integrated development environment (IDE). It consists of various tools tightly integrated to form a comprehensive environment for web development with Ruby on Rails.
This IDE tightly integrates different Ruby tools, including Rubocop, Bundler, Rake, etc. The Bunder integration of RubyMine enables us to handle gem dependencies of our applications right from the IDE. We can quickly switch between different Ruby versions installed using a version manager, such as chruby, RVM, asdf, and rbenv.
RubyMine has a smart code editor that enables you to write error-free code with intelligent inspections, live templates, and type-aware code completion. Here are some key highlights of RubyMine’s code editor:
- As you type the code in the code editor, the code completion feature provides a list of matching variables, keywords, and methods.
- When there are any errors in the code, the code inspections and quick fixes feature suggests quick fixes and resolves errors instantly.
RubyMine is available for organizations as well as individuals. For organizations, it charges $199 per year per user for the first year, $159 per year per user for the second year, and $119 per year per user from the third year onwards.
For individuals, RubyMine charges $89 per year per user for the first year, $71 per year per user for the second year, and $53 per year per user from the third year onwards.
License: Community Edition – Apache License 2.0.
Professional Edition – Trialware.
PyCharm is a dedicated IDE for Python. It is a cross-platform IDE that is compatible with macOS, Linux, and Windows operating systems.
There are two editions of PyCharm, namely Community Edition and Professional Edition. The Community Edition is free to use and comes with features, such as intelligent Python editor, code inspections, VCS support, graphical debugger and test runner, and navigation and code refactorings.
The Professional edition offers all the features of the Community edition. However, it also provides several additional tools and features, such as Python profiler, remote development capabilities, scientific tools, and database & SQL support.
There are more than 1000 plugins compatible with PyCharm, and it also supports plugins from other JetBrains IDEs. Moreover, PyCharm provides an API that enables us to write our own plugins and extend the functionality of PyCharm.
Some salient features of PyCharm are as follows:
- It offers intelligent coding assistance that comes with smart code completion, on-the-fly error highlighting and quick fixes, rich navigation capabilities, and automated code refactoring.
- This IDE integrates with the IPython Notebook. It has an interactive Python console and supports multiple scientific packages, including Numpy and Matplotlib.
The pricing plans of PyCharm for organizations and individuals are different. For organizations, it charges $199 per year per user for the first year, $159 per year per user for the second year, and $119 per year per user from the third year onwards.
For individual use, PyCharm charges $89 per year per user for the first year, $71 per year per user for the second year, and $53 per year per user from the third year onwards.
The smart code editor of WebStorm assists developers in writing code quickly. The code completion feature suggests relevant keywords as we type in the editor. Also, the code quality analysis feature detects errors and typos in the code and helps us write error-free code.
WebStorm allows running and debugging Node.js and client-side applications right from its source code editor. We can write, run, and debug unit tests using Cucumber.js, Jest, Mocha, and Protractor. Also, we can integrate WebStorm with linters, such as TSLint, Stylelint, or ESLint. It has a built-in HTTP client to create, edit, and run HTTP requests within the editor.
WebStorm comes with two different pricing packages, one for individual use and the other for organizational use. For organizational use, WebStorm charges $129 per year per user for the first year, $103 per year per user for the second year, and $77 per year per user from the third year onwards.
For individual use, you need to pay $59 per year per user for the first year, $47 per year per user for the second year, and $35 per year per user from the third year onwards.
Developer: Codelobster Software.
License: Freemium License.
Following are the key features of Codelobster IDE:
- HTML autocomplete for HTML tags, attributes of current tags, and closing tags.
- CSS autocomplete for CSS style property names and values.
- PHP autocomplete for standard PHP and user-defined classes, constants, keywords, and functions.
- The split window feature enables us to work with multiple files simultaneously.
- It offers FTP/SFTP support in the File Explorer.
- It supports Node.js and provides a Node.js debugger.
- Codelobster provides plugins for Drupal, Joomla, WordPress, jQuery, Igniter, CakePHP, and Smarty.
Codelobster offers Free and Professional versions. The free version is completely free to use. On the other hand, the Professional version costs $59.95 per three activations on different devices with one year of free upgrades. For future updates, it costs $19.95 per year.
Developer: The FlashDevelop Team.
License: MIT License.
FlashDevelop is an open-source integrated development environment (IDE) for developing Adobe Flash web applications, video games, websites, and desktop applications. It is written in C# and is built on the Scintilla editor component.
Using the FlashDevelop IDE, we can develop applications that run on Microsoft Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS operating systems, and in Adobe AIR or Adobe Flash Player.
The primary objective of the FlashDevelop IDE is to enable developers to code, edit, compile, debug, and publish a Flash ActionScript project. It includes features such as syntax highlighting, code completion, code folding, syntax coloring, snippets library, bug fixes, etc.
Some other features of FlashDevelop include:
- Project templates for ActionScript 2.0, ActionScript 3.0, Haxe development, and Adobe AIR.
- Configurable hotkeys.
- Support for multilingual code files.
- Plugin system with each feature developed in a separate plugin.
License: Community Edition – Apache License 2.0.
Commercial Edition – Proprietary License.
IntelliJ IDEA is yet another integrated development environment (IDE) from JetBrains developed with Java and Kotlin. JetBrains developed this cross-platform IDE especially for Java and other JVM languages, like Kotlin, Scala, and Groovy.
Moreover, it comes with a powerful toolset for debugging code and developing JUnit tests. IntelliJ IDEA supports popular testing frameworks, like Cucumber, Selenium, and TestNG. This IDE has multiple built-in tools, like profiler, compiler, debugger, etc., and includes integration with build tools, like Maven, Ant, Gant, and Gradle.
IntelliJ IDEA comes with two different editions, namely Community and Ultimate. The Community edition is free and open-source. The Professional edition is available for organizations and individuals. For organizational use, it charges $499 per year per user for the first year, $399 per year per user for the second year, and $299 per year per user from the third year onwards.
For individual use, the Ultimate edition charges $149 per year per user for the first year, $119 per year per user for the second year, and $89 per year per user from the third year onwards.
10. AWS Cloud9 IDE
Developer: Amazon Web Services (AWS).
License: Cloud9 IDE Version 2.0 – GNU General Public License.
Cloud9 IDE Version 3.0 – Freeware License.
AWS Cloud9 IDE is an online IDE. Users can get a seamless experience working with Cloud9 IDE since it enables you to easily define resources, debug, and switch between local and remote execution of serverless applications. You can write, run, and debug applications without requiring to install or maintain a local IDE.
Cloud9 debugger and code editor support step-through debugging, code completion, and code hinting. In addition, this IDE enables different team members to communicate and work together in real-time from within the IDE.
As Cloud9 IDE is an online IDE, it offers multiple cursors to support simultaneous editing from different users and supports the creation of public and private projects. Some other features of Cloud9 IDE are:
- A built-in terminal with basic UNIX and npm commands.
- Support for FTP servers.
- A built-in image editor.
- Support for deployment to Microsoft Azure, Joyent, Heroku, and Google App Engine.
Cloud9 IDE charges on a pay-as-you-go basis.
With plenty of web development IDEs out there, we have listed some handpicked and widely used IDEs in this article. Among the IDEs mentioned above, NetBeans, Eclipse, and FlashDevelop are free to use, whereas all others require a subscription, except Cloud9 IDE; it charges on a pay-as-you-go basis.
All the above-listed integrated development environments (IDEs) come with robust features and make it easier to develop web applications. Also, we recommend you choose the IDE depending upon your project requirements and the programming language you want to work with.