IDE stands for the 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 go into discussing the list of the best web development IDEs, let us first understand what exactly an IDE is and how to choose the best one for your web development project.
So, here it goes.
What is IDE?
An IDE is a software program that combines various tools, such as a text editor, code libraries, a compiler, a debugger, 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 (or interpreter), and debugger. Without an integrated development environment, we need to manage all these development tools separately.
An IDE combines all these tools and lets you access them from a single GUI, making the process of software development smooth and easy. Many people have confusion between IDEs and source-code editors .
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 any modern web development 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 2023
The following is our pick of the top ten 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.
- Generating AJAX callbacks from a template.
- Running automatic browser compatibility checks.
It is free to use.
Developer: Eclipse Foundation
License: Eclipse Public License (EPL)
Eclipse is another open-source and free-to-use IDE for web development. Apart from Java, Eclipse also supports developing applications in other programming languages, including C, C++, PHP, Perl, Python, and R via plugins. 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 more. 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, code formatting, and refactoring. In addition, Eclipse is an extensible platform. This is because 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).
Eclipse is free to use.
- It provides code completion suggestions based on @var annotations, @property, and @method.
- The code completion feature finalizes methods, classes, variable names, and PHP keywords.
- It has a duplicate code detector.
- PHP Code Sniffer 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.
The web development IDE comes with two different pricing plans, one for organizations and another for individuals. In addition, it offers a free trial for 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 an IDE for Ruby on Rails. It consists of various tightly integrated tools - including Rubocop, Bundler, and Rake - to offer comprehensive web development with RoR. The Bundler integration of RubyMine enables handling gem dependencies of applications right from the IDE.
Developers can quickly switch between different Ruby versions using a version manager, such as chruby and RVM. RubyMine has a smart code editor that enables you to write error-free code with intelligent inspections, live templates, and type-aware code completion. Other key highlights of RubyMine are:
- The code completion feature provides a list of matching variables, keywords, and methods while coding.
- Code inspection and quick-fix features suggest quick fixes and resolve errors instantly.
The IDE for web development can integrate with popular testing frameworks, such as Minitest, Cucumber, and RSpec, to test RoR applications. The progress of all tests, which includes information about the duration and status of a test, is shown in a tree view. Also, it has a debugger with a GUI for RoR, CoffeeScript, and JS.
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: i) Community Edition - Apache License 2.0 ii) Professional Edition - Trialware
PyCharm is a dedicated IDE for Python. It is a cross-platform web development 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 like an intelligent Python editor, code inspection, VCS support, graphical debugger and test runner, and navigation and code refactorings. The Professional edition offers all the features of the Community edition and several additional tools and features, such as a Python profiler, remote development capabilities, scientific tools, and SQL support.
There are more than 1,000 plugins available for PyCharm, and it also supports plugins from other IDEs from JetBrains. Moreover, PyCharm provides an API that enables developers to write their 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, quick fixes, rich navigation capabilities, and automated code refactoring.
- This IDE integrates with the IPython Notebook. This results in an interactive Python console and support for 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.
For suggesting relevant keywords while writing the code, the IDE for web development has the code completion feature. 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. Further, 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
The 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 working with multiple files simultaneously.
- It offers FTP/SFTP support in the File Explorer.
- It supports Node.js and provides a Node.js debugger.
- The web development IDE provides plugins for Drupal, Joomla, WordPress, jQuery, Igniter, CakePHP, and Smarty.
The web development IDE offers Free and Professional versions. The former 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 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. You can build ActionScript 3 and MXML applications using the free Adobe Flex SDK. Also, you get the option to develop ActionScript 2.0 applications by using the free MTASC compiler.
- Project templates for ActionScript 2.0, ActionScript 3.0, Haxe development, and Adobe AIR.
- FlashDevelop has configurable hotkeys.
- It offers support for multilingual code files.
- It has an extensive plugin system.
It is a free-to-use web development IDE.
License: i) Community Edition - Apache License 2.0 ii) Commercial Edition - Proprietary License
IntelliJ IDEA is an IDE from JetBrains developed with Java and Kotlin. JetBrains developed this cross-platform IDE, especially for Java and JVM languages, namely Kotlin, Scala, and Groovy.
Moreover, the web development IDE comes with a powerful toolset for debugging code and developing JUnit tests. IntelliJ IDEA supports popular testing frameworks like Cucumber, Selenium, and TestNG. Furthermore, it has multiple built-in tools, like profiler, compiler, and debugger, and includes integration with build tools like Maven, Ant, Gant, and Gradle.
IntelliJ IDEA Pricing
IntelliJ IDEA comes in two editions, namely Community and Ultimate. The former is free and open-source, while the latter is paid. For organizational use, it costs $499/year per user for the first year, $399/year per user for the second year, and $299/year per user thereafter.
For individual use, the Ultimate edition costs $149/year per user for the first year, $119/year per user for the second year, and $89/year per user from the third year onwards.
10. AWS Cloud9 IDE
Developer: Amazon Web Services (AWS)
License: i) Cloud9 IDE Version 2.0 - GNU General Public License ii) Cloud9 IDE Version 3.0 - Freeware License
AWS Cloud9 IDE is an online IDE. Users can get a seamless experience working with the web development 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 you 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 integrated development environment.
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.
AWS Cloud9 IDE Pricing
AWS Cloud9 IDE charges on a pay-as-you-go basis.
There is a slew of web development IDEs available in the market. We have listed some of the most widely used IDEs here. Among the options mentioned above, NetBeans, Eclipse, and FlashDevelop are free to use, whereas others require a subscription, except Cloud9 IDE. It charges on a pay-as-you-go basis.
All the above web development IDEs come with robust features and make it easier to develop web applications. Also, we recommend you choose a web development IDE depending upon your project requirements and the programming language and technologies you want to work with.
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