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Et tu, VS Code?

Top 6 IDEs of March

Sarah Schlothauer
IDE
© Shutterstock / Jule_Berlin

“What is the best IDE for Java/Python/JS/C++” is a question bound to receive multiple, conflicting opinions and if you’re lucky, it can even start a few arguments. We took a look at 6 (and one bonus round) of our favorite IDEs. Some of them receive frequent updates, some fulfill a niche use case, and some have stood the test of time.

Integrated development environments (IDEs) are a bundle of helpful tools that help maximize programming productivity. Between autocomplete, syntax highlighting, and debugging, programmers, a good IDE is the foundation of any programmer’s arsenal.

“What is the best IDE for Java/Python/JS/C++” is a question bound to receive multiple, conflicting opinions and if you’re lucky, it can even start a few arguments. We took a look at some of our favorite IDEs. Some of them receive frequent updates, some fulfill a niche use case, and some have stood the test of time.

But don’t confuse IDEs for the ides of March. The Roman calendar marks March 15th as several religious holidays, but it is most notable for the day Julius Caesar was assassinated in 44 BC. These IDEs may not have saved Caesar from Brutus and Cassius, but they could save your code.

Soothsayer: Beware the IDEs of March.
Caesar: He is a dreamer; let us leave him: pass.

William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar: Act 1, Scene 2

Tested & true

VS Code

IDE

Visual Studio Code user interface. Source.

With its consistent monthly updates, Microsoft’s Visual Studio Code is a consistent workhorse. It includes built-in support for JavaScript, TypeSript, and Node.js, as well as an ecosystem for C++, C#, Java, Python, PHP, and Go.

One of the keys to VS Code’s success is the availability of extensions in the marketplace. From debuggers, themes, and language packs, VS Code offers a wide range of customizability that’s nearly as easy to implement as changing outfits.

SEE ALSO: JavaScript on top, Python ties with Java in RedMonk rankings

IntelliJ IDEA

IDE

Java with IntelliJ IDEA. Source.

Currently one of the leading JVM IDEs, IntelliJ IDEA is a coding assistant developed by JetBrains. The minds behind Kotlin created a smart solution to coding with JVM languages such as Java and Groovy. Code completion takes some of the grunt work out of development by suggesting names of classes, methods, fields, and keywords.

It comes with a hefty price tag, however, the open source Community Edition offers many of the same benefits, including a code editor, and support for Ant and Maven.

Best Python IDEs

PyCharm

IDE

Smart coding with PyCharm. Source.

JetBrains struck gold again. The free, open source edition of PyCharm is for pure Python, using an intelligent “keyboard-centric approach”. It keeps your code neat with PEP8 checks and error highlighting while its smart code completion keeps work moving along.

It’s one of the most commonly used Python IDEs and for good reason. Out of the box, PyCharm includes built-in database tools, a Python editor, graphical debugger and test runner, code inspection, and VCS support.

Python users don’t get all the fun. PyCharm also supports JavaScript, CoffeeScript, TypeScript, and more.

Spyder

IDE

Spyder powers data visualization. Source.

For scientific computing with Python, Spyder is specifically designed with data analysis and engineers in mind. Built-in features include advanced editing, an interactive console, documentation viewer, and data visualization options.

One size doesn’t fit all, so Spyder also offers a third-party plugin system and can be used as a PyQt5 extension library.

Java IDEs

NetBeans

IDE

Quick code editing. Source.

It’s come a long way since the mid-90s where it began as a student project in Prague. Apache NetBeans is an open source IDE for developing for desktop, mobile, web apps, and HTML 5 applications. Toted as the “official IDE for Java 8”, Apache NetBeans applies Java’s “Write Once, Run Anywhere” concept.

While it was once restricted to Java, now NetBeans provides the necessary tools for PHP, and C/C++ as well.

SEE ALSO: How To Securely Program in Java in 2020

BlueJ

IDE

Easier learning with BlueJ. Source.

Designed for students learning the ropes, BlueJ is a free lightweight IDE that keeps it simple. It’s no spring chicken; BlueJ is over fifteen years old. However, it focuses on showing users how to understand debugging, helps them spot misplaced curly brackets, and features scope highlighting for easier code scanning.

BlueJ can run via a USB stick without any extra installation, making it perfect for on-the-go learning. Pair it with the educational resources and free teacher support for an extra dosage of Java learning.

Bonus round

MS Paint IDE

IDE

Prepping the code. Source.

Programming in MS Paint? Hey, it beats using Eclipse.

The MS Paint IDE can read, parse, and highlight code from pure image files. It runs alongside good old MS Paint and reads the images you create. Using an OCR, it executes the text and creates an output file and log.

It currently supports Java, Python, JS, and Go, with more languages on the agenda.

Author
Sarah Schlothauer

Sarah Schlothauer

All Posts by Sarah Schlothauer

Sarah Schlothauer is an assistant editor for JAXenter.com. She received her Bachelor's degree from Monmouth University and is currently enrolled at Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany where she is working on her Masters. She lives in Frankfurt with her husband and cat. She is also the editor for Conditio Humana, an online magazine about ethics, AI, and technology.

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