C#, known as Csharp, is a general-purpose programming language that follows multiple programming paradigms, such as object-oriented, component-oriented, functional, declarative, imperative, and generic. Designed by Anders Hejlsberg, C# is a popular programming language used widely for developing mobile and desktop applications, enterprise-grade software and applications, websites, and cloud-based services. If you are interested in developing applications, websites, or games in C#, you might be in search of the best C# IDE or code editors that make the development process effortless and convenient.
Through this article, we shall introduce you to some of the best offline IDEs, online IDEs, and code editors for C# development. But before diving deep into the topic, let us first walk you through what actually C# IDE, code editor, and online IDE are.
So, let us get started!
What is a C# IDE?
IDE is an acronym for integrated development environment. In general, an IDE is a standalone software that provides several developer tools to facilitate the software development process. It integrates all the necessary tools required for writing and testing software under a single GUI. An IDE at least consists of a source code editor, compiler or interpreter, and debugger.
A C# IDE is a single application offering various developer tools that facilitate the development of Csharp applications. Alternatively, a C# IDE is a single application that enables developers to create, run, and test C# applications.
What is a C# Code Editor?
A code editor is simply a text editor program that enables you to write and edit the source code of computer programs. A C# code editor is a text editor that allows you to write source code in the C# programming language.
Code editors are the most fundamental development tool since writing and editing source code is the primary job of programmers and developers. In general, a code editor can be a standalone application or part of an integrated development environment.
Additionally, several code editors are equipped with advanced features, such as syntax highlighting, auto code completion, error detection, brace matching functionality, and so on, to accelerate the process of writing source code.
What is an Online C# IDE?
An online integrated development environment, also referred to as a cloud IDE or web IDE, is a browser-based IDE that you can access from a browser, such as Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and more. We can refer to an online C# IDE as an IDE that can be accessed from a web browser and enables developers to write code in Csharp.
A typical online or web IDE also consists of a source code editor, a compiler, and a debugger. The primary advantage of online IDEs is that we can access them anywhere and from any compatible device. In addition, online IDEs do not require users to download and install any software for using them.
12 Top C# IDEs and Code Editors
Here is our list of the most popular C# IDEs (offline and online) and source code editors that facilitate the software development process:
- Visual Studio
- Visual Studio Code
- Code Editor: The code editor enables you to write and edit source code in all the supported programming languages. It supports syntax highlighting and auto code completion for functions, variables, methods, and loops. Moreover, the C# IDE supports code refactoring, including method and variable renaming, parameter reordering, interface extraction, and many other refactorings.
- Incremental Compilation: This C# IDE provides the feature of incremental or background compilation. As you write code in the code editor, Visual Studio compiles it in the background and provides syntax and compilation errors.
- Debugger: Visual Studio’s debugger works as a machine-level and source-level debugger. It is capable of working with native code and managed code, and it can also debug applications developed in any of the supported programming languages. It enables you to debug your source code by setting breakpoints and watches.
- Designer: Visual Studio provides a set of visual designers to aid in the development of applications. These visual designers include Windows Forms Designer, WPF Designer, Data Designer, Class Designer, Mapping Designer, and Web Designer.
- Testing Tools: The Csharp IDE lets you write, run, and debug unit tests in any of the supported programming languages and the test framework of your choice.
- Extensibility: You can customize the Visual Studio IDE by installing extensions.
Visual Studio is available in three different editions, namely Individual, Business, and Enterprise. The Individual edition for macOS and Windows is free to use. The Business and Enterprise editions are paid ones, and you need to contact the sales team for their prices.
- Intelligent Code Editor: This code editor provides intelligent code editing features, such as code completion for all the supported programming languages, syntax highlighting, braces matching, highlighting matching delimiters, and auto importing namespaces.
- Navigation and Search: Rider comes with a Search Everywhere feature that lets you search for and jump to any file or functions and variables in your source code within no time.
- Decompiler: Along with a built-in compiler, Rider also comes with a decompiler. You can decompile any library type into C# code in Rider’s code editor using a built-in decompiler.
- Refactoring: There are more than 60 readily available code refactorings and more than 450 context actions in the C# IDE. With these refactorings and context actions, you can rename and extract methods, classes, and interfaces, move and copy types, and do a lot more.
- Unit Testing: Rider enables you to run and debug unit tests based on xUnit.net, MSTestm, and NUnit.
- Debugging: You can debug your source code using a debugger. This debugger allows you to create multiple debug configurations, set and manage breakpoints and breakpoint conditions, set watches, step into, over, and out, and evaluate expressions.
- Version Control: The C# IDE seamlessly integrates with several version control systems, including Git, Mercurial, Perforce, and TFS, via plugins.
- SQL Editor: Rider comes with a feature-rich SQL editor that provides syntax highlighting, on-the-fly code analysis, smart code completion, and code navigation features. In addition, you can connect to databases without leaving Rider and edit schemas and table data, run SQL queries, and analyze schemas with UML diagrams.
Rider offers a 30-day free trial. Also, there are two different editions of Rider, one for individuals and the other for organizations. The edition for individuals charges $139 per year, and the edition for organizations charges $349 per year.
Developer: Eclipse Software Foundation
License: Eclipse Public License
Eclipse is an open-source integrated development environment for Java. However, it also supports many other programming languages, including C#, C, C++, Python, Ruby, Perl, R, and PHP.
It is a cross-platform IDE compatible with Windows, Linux, and macOS operating systems. Additionally, the IDE is used to create documents using LaTex and packages for Mathematica.
- Code Editor: The code editor of Eclipse enables you to create the source code in any of the supported programming languages quickly. It provides code suggestions and syntax error detection features.
- Development Tools Installation: Eclipse allows you to install various development tools, such as GUI builders and tools for reporting, charting, testing, modeling, and more.
- Eclipse Marketplace: Eclipse Marketplace provides a wide range of plugins hosted by different vendors to extend Eclipse’s functionality.
- Plugin Development Environment (PDE): This environment allows users to create their own plugins and extend the Eclipse IDE’s functionality.
- Rich Client Platform: The Eclipse IDE provides a rich client platform consisting of components, such as Standard Widget Toolkit (SWT), Equinox OSGi, JFace, and Eclipse Workbench, for developing general-purpose applications.
The Eclipse IDE is free to use.
Developer: Xamarin and the Mono Community
License: LGPL v2
- Code Editor: MonoDevelop’s code editor enables you to write and edit the source code in any of the supported programming languages. It provides features such as code completion, code folding, find and replace, on-the-fly error underlining, code navigation, code refactoring, and code templates.
- Debugger: This C# IDE comes with a debugger that debugs Mono and native applications.
- GTK# Visual Designer: MonoDevelop has a built-in GTK# Visual Designer for visually designing GTK# interfaces.
- Compiler: MonoDevelop has an integrated compiler that compiles your source code written in the C# language.
MonoDevelop is free to download and use.
C# Online IDEs and Compilers
JDoodle is an online compiler and editor that supports several programming languages. It enables you to compile and execute programs written in C#, Java, C, C++, PHP, Perl, Python, Ruby, and many other programming languages.
This online tool is not a complete IDE. Instead, it just provides a quick approach to compiling and running small programs. Nonetheless, JDoodle eliminates the need to open an IDE and create new projects for executing small programs. JDoodle is an online program, especially developed for students to learn to program online. It provides the following services:
- Online compiler and IDE.
- Online terminals for databases.
- Compiler API.
- Online assessments.
- With JDoodle, you can compile and run programs in more than 75 programming languages.
- It lets you view your code and output side by side.
- It allows you to compile and run programs from mobile devices. Consequently, you can download the JDoodle app for Android and iOS smartphones from Google Play Store and App Store, respectively.
- You can embed code from JDoodle to your website or blog.
- OnlineGDB helps users to investigate improper behavior of programs.
- This online IDE makes it easier to find the cause of logical errors, which is challenging to find just by looking at the source code.
- It helps you in analyzing crashes occurring in your application.
- It allows you to have full control over the program execution.
It is free to use.
- OneCompiler allows you to create an organization or team with your college friends or colleagues. Also, it lets you assign projects and tasks, and collaborate with your team effectively.
- This online C# compiler also provides a variety of coding challenges that help students learn to code.
- It provides a wide range of developer cheat sheets created and maintained by developers worldwide.
- You can learn any language from the Tutorials section, where developers across the globe create tutorials for various languages.
- OneCompiler provides an array of developer tools, including formatters, encoders, parsers, decoders, hash generators, and number converters.
- It is a mobile-friendly tool, and you can download OneCompiler on your Android devices from Google Play.
OneCompiler is completely free to use.
Ideone is an online compiler and debugger that lets users write, compile, and debug source code in more than 60 programming languages, including C#, C, C++, Java, Python, Objective-C, Ruby, Perl, and PHP.
- Ideone provides a wide range of sample programs that are helpful for beginners.
- It has a ‘Recent Codes’ page, which lists all the recent codes of programmers across the globe.
- You can adjust the code visibility as per your convenience, i.e., public, secret, and private. When you make your code public, it is visible to everyone on the ‘Recent Codes’ page. If you keep your code secret, it is not visible on the ‘Recent Codes’ page, but everyone can access it if you provide the link. If you make your code private, only you have its access.
It is free to use.
Browxy is an online IDE and compiler that allows you to create, compile, and run code written in various programming languages, such as C#, C, C++, Java, and PHP.
- Browxy offers three different views, namely console view, applet view, and log view, to execute and view the result of your source code.
- It enables you to set the font size of the source code and a theme of your choice.
- This IDE enables you to save as many program files as you wish.
- You can release your programs to a public link.
Browxy is a free-to-use online IDE and compiler.
C# Code Editors
License: MIT License (binaries are available under the proprietary license)
Visual Studio Code or VS Code is an open-source code editor developed by Microsoft, and it is available for Windows, Linux, and macOS platforms. It is more than a source code editor since it features a debugger.
- Code Editor: The code editor provides various features, including syntax highlighting and code completion. The code completion feature provides smart completions based on imported modules, function definitions, and variable types.
- Debugging: Visual Studio Code provides a debugger that enables you to debug your code right from the editor. In addition, it lets you debug your source code by setting breakpoints.
- Version Control: VS Code can seamlessly integrate with popular version control systems, such as Git, Mercurial, Perforce, and Apache Subversion.
- Extensible and Customizable: This source code is extensible and customizable. You can add support for new languages, themes, and debuggers by installing extensions. Moreover, these extensions run in separate processes and do not slow down the code editor.
You can download and install VS Code for free.
Developer: Don Ho
License: GPL 3.0
- Notepad++ offers syntax highlighting and code folding for all the supported languages and limited autocompletion support for some specified programming languages.
- It can create cross-platform plain text files and recognizes three newline representations CR, CR+LF, and LF.
- This source code editor can reinterpret plain text files in various character encodings and convert them into UCS-2, UTF-2, and ASCII.
- Notepad++ provides many features that enhance plain text editing, such as the ones listed below:
- Line bookmarking.
- Searching text strings in a directory.
- Split-screen editing and synchronized scrolling.
- Line operations.
- It provides support for macros and plugins too. Currently, it provides support for 140 plugins.
Free to use.
License: MIT License
- Smart Autocompletion: This feature enables you to write code quickly with smart autocomplete for all the supported programming languages.
- Built-in Package Manager: The package manager has a bundle of packages from which you can search and install the desired packages. In addition, it lets you create your own packages.
- Find and Replace: You can find and replace text in a single file or across all your projects.
- Multiple Panes: This feature lets you split the Atom interface into multiple panes. Also, you can compare and edit code across various files.
- Themes: Atom has eight pre-installed syntax themes and four UI themes. Both types of themes are available in dark and light colors.
Atom is available for free.
A myriad of integrated development environments and code editors are available out there for C# development. This article lists some of the trending C# IDEs, online IDEs, and code editors, along with their salient features.
Visual Studio Code, Eclipse, and MonoDevelop are free C# desktop IDEs, whereas Rider and Visual Studio are paid IDEs. However, Visual Studio’s Individual edition is free, and Rider offers a 30-day free trial.
All the online IDEs listed above, namely JDoodle, OnlineGDB, OneCompiler, Ideone, and Browxy, are free to use. Moreover, Notepad++ and Atom are C# source code editors that you can download and use for free.
While choosing an IDE or source code editor for your C# project, make sure that it has all the features that you are looking for. Also, the IDE or code editor you pick should meet the requirements of your project along with your budget.
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