Finding the right toolkit

An introduction to the top programming IDEs and code editors

Amanda Cline
Code image via Shutterstock

Most programmers form very strong opinions on their choice of tools. But before you make your mind up, you need to know what other programming toolkits are out there.

Writing code during web development, especially the ones containing redundant code causes frustration among programmers, since it takes up too much of their valuable time. But coders who are new and haven’t yet developed expertise in coding web solutions will certainly seek for simple solutions that help them code in the most efficient manner possible, while providing them with features and tools that streamlines their workflow.

Fortunately, there are many different IDE’s and code editors available online that will help make your life a little bit easier, as they’ll provide you with a complete integrated development environment that comes loaded with a rich set of features and functions. Let us now proceed and talk about 10 of the best IDE’s and code editors that programmers need to know about:

List of IDEs

NetBeans IDE

This is arguably the best IDE for developing desktop-enabled, mobile and web applications using languages such as Java, Ruby, and PHP, to name a few. With this IDE, you get the ability to write basic application without having to write even a single line of code. Besides this, the NetBeans IDE provides coding tips, offer code generators and other tools that help you write code in a quick and smart manner.


Key features:

  • It comes with editors, code analyzers, and converters that helps upgrade your apps according to the new Java 8 language constructs in a smooth and easy manner
  • The drag-and-drop tools of the IDE enables designing graphical user interfaces for Java SE, HTML5, and other applications in a faster manner
  • It provides an analysis tool to identify and fix the most common issues (or bugs) in Java code

IntelliJ IDEA

This is another brilliant IDE for web, mobile and enterprise development that supports numerous languages like Java, Groovy and Scala. It offers out-of the box tools such as Spring, including Web Services, Data, Roo, Security, Integration, Batch and others for developing enterprise apps.

intelliJ IDEA

Key features:

  • Its productivity boosting features such as Smart Code Completion, on-the-fly Code Analysis and Advanced Refactorings which help continue smooth and swift development
  • It supports agile development and one can deploy the application to the cloud from the IDE itself
  • Provides Task and Context Management which integrates with context switching and bug trackers


Written mostly in Java, Eclipse is another integrated development environment which can also be used to architect applications in numerous programing languages such as C, C++, ABAP, Ada, COBOL, Haskell, Fortran, Lasso, JavaScript, Perl, Lua, Ruby, PHP , Python and many more.

Furthermore, you can install an nice collection of tools in an Eclipse desktop IDE which comprises of GUI builders and tools for reporting, charting, testing, modeling and many more. Moreover, you can utilize the Eclipse Marketplace Client to get to know more about more plugins developed by a vast community of developers.


Key features:

  • Flexible, non-intrusive and meta-data based architecture.
  • Highly advanced flexibility and mapping support as it supports object-relational data type, XML and relational
  • Supports object caching inclusive of cluster integration for application servers such as Oracle Fusion Middleware Server.
  • Highly optimized for scalability and concurrency


Code::BlocksIf you’re a C/C++ programmer or work on Fortran, and are searching for a suitable IDE, then “Code::Blocks” is worth a try. It is an extensible and configurable IDE that comes loaded with all the features essential for carrying out web development services using C/C++. It has a consistent look and feel, and work in the same manner across platforms (like Linux, Windows and Mac).

Key features: 

  • Can be extended using already existing or custom-built plug-ins.
  • Provide support for parallel builds.
  • It comes with a debugger, allowing users to debug their programs with the help of user-defined watches, thread switching and lots more.


BlueJ IDEThis is another great IDE ideal for Java programming language. The main purpose behind developing BlueJ IDE is to meet educational purposes (i.e. to learn object-oriented programming concepts) and small-scale development needs. And so, if you’re a novice starting with any Java development project, then the BlueJ IDE is a good fit for you, enabling you to run using the JDK(Java Development Kit version 3.14).

Key features: 

  • It comes with a simple and easy to learn user interface.
  • It boasts a flexible extension system that helps in extending the core functionality of the IDE.
  • Provides support for group work, Java ME projects, and more.

Aptana Studio 3

It is a comprehensive tool that mainly function as an AJAX development environment, but it is also capable of working with .Net, PHP and other programing languages. It makes use of the Eclipse flexibility and utilize it into a powerful web development engine. This IDE helps eliminate compatibility issues and testing challenges.

Aptana Studio

Key features:

  • It comes with Code Assist feature that help in displaying matching tags and graphical information regarding each element, at the time of editing HTML files.
  • Comes with a fully integrated Ruby and Rails debugger.
  • Help you collaborate with team members


A cross-platform and nicely designed IDE, CodeLite supports C, C++, PHP and JavaScript languages. Though it works on all major operating systems, but it is the best fit for Linux OS.


Key features:

  • Supports syntax highlighting and code completion.
  • Comes shipped with two code completion engines that runs at the same time.
  • Provide RAD Tool for wxWidgets.
  • Supports Code Refactoring and so much more.

List of Code Editors


Notepad++ is a highly popular and most commonly preferred editor that comes shipped with an amazing feature set, helping to increase the productivity of users’. The editor runs in Windows environment only. This simple code editor is not just the right option for newbies, but is also a great choice for all levels of developers.


Key features:

  • Can be configured through plug-ins
  • Comes loaded with a wide collection of themes
  • Offers support for multi-language environment
  • Supports syntax highlighting, syntax folding, auto completion, and many other features


A powerful lightweight and multipurpose editor running on Mac OS X, Windows and other operating systems, Bluefish is a great code editor for both programmers, as well as, developers. It provides programmers with the ability to write scripts and codes in many different programing and markup languages.


Key features:

  • It works at blazing fast speed – as it loads a dozen of files in a matter of few seconds
  • Offers integration with external programs for managing the advanced text processing. In addition, it even handles error detection
  • Provide customizable support for languages including code block folding, auto-completion and auto-tag-closing and a lot more


This is a modern code editor by Github that can be easily customized to meet your project specific needs, without having to mess around with any configuration file. The code editor comes with 50 open-source packages, making it easy for the users to code using Atom.


Key features:

  • Seamless Node.js integration
  • Supports Code folding
  • Help open files quickly via Fuzzy finder
  • It contains multiple panes and much more


Developed by Panic, Coda comes loaded with rich features wrapped inside a clean interface. It supports code-completion, code folding, and other related features. The new version 2.5 of this code editor has been released that comes packed with an improved feature set.


Key features:

  • It boasts a built-in MySQL server
  • Can publish and manage files outside the Coda environment
  • Let you edit and override the CSS files inside the Coda’s Preview
  • Help in managing the already existing plugins and make it easy to find a couple of new and exciting plugins using the Coda’s preferences


Last on our list is Brackets, another open source code editor that understands web design. This modern code editor is created for making the process of creating designs in the browser a hassle-free task.


Key features:

  • It is lightweight
  • Releases new features and extensions constantly (ideally in 3 – 4 weeks)
  • Comes with a preview extensions, providing code hints from a PSD
  • Provide a live preview of changes made to CSS and HTML and many more great features

The right choice

Coding can at times turn out to be a horrendously challenging task for programmers. However, there are online tools (IDEs and code editors) that make writing code a hassle-free and fun task.

But in order to make your development process a cake walk, you need to make a well-tailored choice that fits right with your development needs. If you need to develop an app not only for web but also for mobile devices you should certainly choose an IDE which supports mobile development, for instance IntelliJ IDEA. Furthermore, before making a choice you also need to map your requirements, such as operating systems and the languages supported by the IDE you are going to choose.

Going through this post and jotting down your requirements will help you know about the best tools worth considering. But many will agree that finding the perfect IDE to perfectly match your programming style is a lifelong project.

Amanda Cline
Amanda Cline is one of the top-notch programmers currently serving for Xicom Technologies Ltd. Mobile App Development Company. She provides concrete information on latest mobile technologies and also loves sharing tech information and ideas on application programming.

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2 years ago

My favorite editor is Codelobster –