ActiveState CTO interview

Komodo IDE 9 released – programming becoming “more polyglot”

Coman Hamilton
Komodo 9 screenshot via

CTO Jeff Hobbs walks us through the Komodo 9 release and explains why the developer world is becoming “decidedly more polyglot”.

Trackable changes, a commando “go to anything” search, and a realtime markdown preview are some of the changes introduced in the ninth release of Komodo, the cross-platform IDE designed for polyglot programmers. Google’s Go language is also to be added to Komodo’s signature wide-ranging support for languages like Python, PHP, JavaScript, HTML5, CSS and Node.js.

With over 6 million downloads since its launch 15 years ago, Komodo is used by big names like Cisco, Boeing, the FAA and NASA, while the majority (52%) of its user base is in the US. Jeff Hobbs, CTO of ActiveState, the company behind Komodo, told us how this latest release of the IDE continues to ensure developers have more than one tool in their toolbelt.

JAXenter: What aspect of this new release are you most excited about?

Jeff Hobbs, ActiveState CTO: There are many things in this release we are excited about.  They cross a wide range of developer needs.​

The new Commando (fuzzy matching, match highlighting, find any file under a folder, toolbox search, bookmark integration, shortcuts (go-tool) integration as well as custom category filtering) will be useful to almost everyone who uses Komodo IDE.

The Markdown Viewer and Track Changes ​(inline edit-time diff view) ​are also great additions to this version, as is Golang (Google Go) support. Existing Komodo IDE users will be pleased with our performance enhancements – Komodo IDE start time, editor typing, search, and syntax checking is now quicker than they’ve ever been.

Can you tell us a bit about how the UI has changed?

All default Komodo IDE color schemes now use Base16; that is, they are based on a set of 16 different base colors, which are then re-used in different parts of that scheme. Tomorrow_Dark is the new default Komodo IDE color scheme (a dark-based scheme), and theming has been updated to match the latest operating systems, so Komodo IDE now looks even better: more akin to other native applications of the OS.

“The biggest obvious [UI] change is around colors.​”

We also added the ability to tweak the editor line height spacing,and notification messages shown to the user now appear in a separate popup panel that overlays the main Komodo IDE editor window (previously they appeared in the Komodo IDE statusbar). With notification preferences, users control which messages get displayed in the popup panel.

​Some of the new features (like Commando) have a UI impact, and High DPI fonts are now correctly supported across all platforms.

Would you agree that the nature of Komodo advocates a polyglot, all-rounder approach to programming (as opposed to specialising in one single language)? Why do think this is so?

With Komodo IDE, we certainly focus on supporting the polyglot user. We have seen from personal experience and working with enterprise IT and developers that the development world is becoming decidedly more polyglot. Rarely are the front-end and back-end languages the same, and the variety of back-end languages continues to grow.

“Specialising in one language is like expecting to handle all household chores with just a hammer.”

Developers that have an array of tools in their toolbelt are able to produce everything from prototypes to production code in a shorter amount of time. This enterprise agility leads to enterprise value. Strong IDE features for multiple languages is one of the defining features that sets Komodo IDE apart from other IDEs.

Coman Hamilton
Coman was Editor of at S&S Media Group. He has a master's degree in cultural studies and has written and edited content for numerous news, tech and culture websites and magazines, as well as several ad agencies.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments