The best IDE and code editors for developers

What is an IDE?

An IDE is known as an Inegrated Development Environment, which is a software that combines the application development and testing features into one single graphical interface.  What does an IDE usually consist of? An IDE will usually have the following:

  • Tools used for coding automation
  • A text code editor
  • An interpreter or compiler, which is a tool that is used to translate a text into a set of machine codes
  • A debugger that will help detect bugs and get rid of them to help ensure that the code works properly

There are also some IDEs that also support additional plugins that can provide you with even more features for development by installing them.

What to consider when choosing an IDE?

Before you choose an IDE there are some things you should pay attention to, which include:

  • What type of programming languages will you be using?  There is software that work with only one single language, but you will also be able to find many IDEs that are multilingual.
  • What kind of operating system will you be using?  It’s usually ideal to choose cross-platform solutions, but you can also check if an IDE supports the operating system that is required.
  • Will you need the development feature?  If you will be working with a team, an IDE that allows you to add participants would be ideal.  You can usually find this feature available in paid software.
  • How much is this going to cost me?  If you aren’t willing to pay or can’t afford it at the time, then a free text code editor would be the ideal choice.  However, if you need more advanced tools, you can find them in the paid software subscriptions.

What text editors and IDEs should you be looking at?

Visual Studio Code

The free Visual Studio Code Editor is a simpler substitute to an IDE.  It doesn’t offer as much features as a usual development environment provides, but there are some debugging tools available and you are still able to write code in many programming languages.

Programming languages: , Java, Markdown, C++, CSS, Dart, C#, , JSON, F#, , PowerShell, T-SQL, , TypeScript, SCSS and more

Supported OSs: macOS, Linux,


  • Lots of extensions for free
  • Linux, Windows and macOS support
  • A powerful editor for free
  • Built-in IntelliSense autocomplete code feature


  • No split screen support
  • Fewer tools available than in a full IDE

Microsoft Visual Studio

Microsoft Visual Studio is a development environment that is made by Microsoft.  You’re able to create both console and GUI applications using this IDE, and it also allows you to app on more than 300 browsers and devices.  The price for this environment’s subscription depends on the version and edition that you’ve chosen.   

Programming languages: JavaScript, Python, HTML, PHP, JSON, C++, C#, ASP.NET, CSS, Less, Sass and Font Awesome in ASP.NET, Visual Basic and F#.

Operating systems supported: macOS and Windows


  • Supports split screen function
  • Built-in IntelliiSense smart code completion feature
  • There is a constant expanding marketplace of extensions
  • Teamwork tools: customizable settings of code editor and project access
  • Individual work panel customization that meets your requirements


  • The free Community version has restrictions and the subscriptions with advanced features for teams start at the price of $50.
  • Has a heavyweight environment, so you may want to choose a lighter code editor if you need to run simple tasks
  • Lack of Linux OS support

Sublime Text

Sublime Text is an editor that also contains the same tools found in full IDEs.  It has tools for code changing and simplification which are Goto Anything, multiple selection, bracket matching and a strong Python API.

Programming languages: JavaScript, HTML, C++, CSS, Python, SQL, PHP, XSL, Textile, XML and more

Supported OS: Windows, Linux, and macOS


  • Allows you to be able to quickly switch between save changes and projects
  • Goto Anything navigation provides you with quick file access
  • Large selection of syntax and editing function extensions
  • Multiple selection allows changes to be made to code lines in several places at once


  • No convenient sidebar or automatic debug function like found in a Visual Studio Code software
  • You have to purchase a license to unlock full use, even though the software can be used for free


PHPStorm is an environment for PHP development.  Also recommended for working with popular CMSs like Joomla, WordPress, Drupal and more.

Programming languages: basic frameworks support, HTML, CoffeeScript, Stylus, CSS, PHP, Sass, Less, TypeScript, SQL, JavaScript and more

Supported OS: macOS, Windows and Linux


  • Comprehensive navigation in the workspace
  • Intelligent code completion and debugging
  • You can view the changes in your browser in real time using the Live Edit feature
  • Able to integrate with version control systems, SQL database management and CLI
  • Supports many CMSs like Drupal, Joomla, WordPress and more
  • Able to apply and undo changes throughout the project


  • No free version available and the trial period is only for 30 days


Komodo IDE supports a large number of programming languages and is available free for personal use.


  • free personal use version
  • Visual debugger and tools for testing
  • Intelligent syntax highlighting and code autocompletion
  • Customizable workspace


  • Teamwork version or enterprise level is not available for free


CLion is needed for programming with C++ and C.

Programming languages: Kotlin, Swift, C, Objective C, C++, Python, JavaScript, Fortran, CSS and more

Supported OSs: Linux, Windows and macOS


  • Smart code completion
  • Ability to apply changes to the entire project in just a few clicks due to refactoring
  • Workspace customization and additional features to use for development
  • Allows you to view comments, macros and variable values directly from the editor due to fast documentation review


  • There is a 30- day trial period but there is no free version like in PHPStorm


NetBeans is another free open-source environment that mostly focuses on Java, but there are also other languages available by default.

Programming languages: HTML5, Java, CSS, JavaScript, PHP and more

Supported OS: BSD, macOS, Linux, Windows


  • Smart code completion and visual debugger
  • A workspace interface that is simple and customizable with an easy-to-understand functionality


  • High CPU usage


PyCharm is a development platform used to work with Python programming language.  There is an open-source version available for free (Community), and a paid version (Professional).  The free version supports only Python, while the paid one supports other programming languages as well Python.

Programming languages: Python, CoffeeScript, JavaScript, Cython, TypeScript, HTML/CSS, SQL, Node.js, templates languages, AngularJS and more


  • Supports modern web development environments like Google App Engine, web2py, Flask, Django, and Pyramid
  • Provides a wide range of customized tools like Python profiler, built-in database tools, built-in terminal, debugger and test launcher
  • Automatic code completion, as well as automatic error detection and correction
  • Integration with version control systems


  • Cost of a full-featured subscription is priced pretty high with being $778.80 per year
  • Not many web development tools are supported by the community version along with no database support or Python profiler

IntelliJ IDEA

IntelliJ IDEA was originally designed to work with Java, but you are now able to code in other languages if you add the correct extensions.

Programming languages: Scala, AspectJS, PHP, HTML, JavaScript, CSS, SQL, JPQL, Python, Groovy, CoffeeScript, AspectJ and more

Supported OS: Linux, Windows and macOS


  • Provides an easy-to-use working environment that is able to understand your actions and offer you the right tools automatically
  • Smart code autocompletion
  • Refactoring that is reliable and real-time code analysis
  • Has a feature that allows you to do coding in other languages other than Java


  • Its high difficulty platform is not recommended for beginner developers
  • There are no JavaScript support or tools available for working with databases while using the Community version


Eclipse is a development environment that is popularly used for Java, but all thanks to the extensions available, you are now able to work with other languages as well.

Programming languages: Python, Ruby, Pearl, Java, C, C++, PHP and more

Supported OS: macOS, Windows and Linux


  • Customizable graphical interface
  • Open-source environment that’s free
  • Supports the integration of JUnit testing and test optimization
  • Supports all types of programming languages
  • Has a large community of developers who are able to answer questions you have and help you solve issues that may come up
  • Expansion and customization of additional features by a variety of plugins

Developing in the cloud

In order to deploy an IDE securely, developers, which includes the ones we have at DomainRooster, use a .

These are some of the main reasons for IDE cloud deployment:

  • It allows you to be able to work on a project along with a team by giving every person working on the project access to a cloud server to work together.
  • There’s no need to waste the processing power of your computer as well as choose IDEs that meet your device’s technical requirements.  You are able to delete the existing resources that are no longer needed and stop payment for them.
  • You can also store large application data without having to fill up your computer’s disk space, which means you can store as much data as you please.  Some cloud providers will also allow you to increase your storage space and scale resources.

Expert Opinion

Testers and developers from our cloud provider team here at DomainRooster prefer to use Visual Studio Code.  This editor allows you to not only work with macOS and Windows, but with Linux OS as well.  With this editor, you’re able to customize the workspace by code highlighting and formatting.  The editor even has a bunch of neat extensions and tools that you can get for free!


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