What is an IDE?

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In this article, we’ll take a look at a fundamental concept in software development, the IDE. We’ll understand, “What is an IDE?”. We will also focus on what it is, what it’s used for, and some examples of IDE.

Software is Everywhere

Software has become an integral part of our lives these days. We find software everywhere around us. It’s not only present in computers but also in devices we use and work on. It’s on our televisions and stereos. It’s even in the mobile devices we carry around like phones and tablets. These devices need software to run. So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that we need some means to create this software. An IDE is a means to do this that puts everything we need at our fingertips.

What is an IDE?

Coding is a part of the software development life cycle.  Programmers use different tools to write and compile programs. One such tool is an IDE. This text is about “What is an IDE?”

While writing a program using text editors, programmers have to be cautious about the syntax and structure of a program. 

An integrated development environment, or IDE, is a computer program that makes it easier to write other computer programs. Computer programmers use IDEs to edit source code. It is especially helpful for new programmers who are not so much comfortable with the syntaxes and the structure of the program.

what is an IDE

Integrated Development Environment (IDE) is a software application that combines all of the features and tools needed by a software developer. It’s graphical in nature, meaning that it uses windows and controls like buttons to display information and accept input from the user. Common features of IDE are:

Text Editor

Virtually every IDE will have a text editor designed to write and manipulate source code. Some tools may have visual components to drag and drop front-end components, but most have a simple interface with language-specific syntax highlighting.


Debugging tools assist users in identifying and remedying errors within source code. They often simulate real-world scenarios to test functionality and performance. Programmers and software engineers can usually test the various segments of code and identify errors before the application is released.


Compilers are components that translate programming language into a form machines can process, such as binary code. The machine code is analyzed to ensure its accuracy. The compiler then parses and optimizes the code to optimize performance.

Code Completion

Code complete features assist programmers by intelligently identifying and inserting common code components. These features save developers time writing code and reduce the likelihood of typos and bugs.

Programming Language Support

IDEs are typically specific to a single programming language, though several also offer multi-language support. As such, the first step is to figure out which languages you will be coding in and narrow your prospective IDE list down accordingly. Examples include Ruby, Python, and Java IDE tools.

Integrations and Plugins

With the name integrated development environment, it is no surprise that integrations need to be considered when looking at IDEs. Your IDE is your development portal, so being able to incorporate all your other development tools will improve development workflows and productivity. Poor integrations can cause numerous issues and lead to many headaches, so make sure you understand how well a potential IDE fits into your ecosystem of existing tools.

Benefits of IDE

The IDEs generally have compilers or interpreters so programmers don’t have to open other programs to compile the source code. They also often have syntax highlighting. It also may have predictive coding that can finish lines with syntaxes such as brackets or semicolons and can suggest variables to be used. It also may have debuggers that can step through lines, take breaks, and inspect variables. Following are the key benefits of IDEs.

  • Serves as a single environment for most, if not all, of a developer’s needs such as version control systems, debugging tools, and Platform-as-a-Service.
  • Code completion capabilities improve programming workflow.
  • Automatically checks for errors to ensure top-quality code.
  • Refactoring capabilities allow developers to make comprehensive and mistake-free renaming changes.
  • Maintain a smooth development cycle.
  • Increase developer efficiency and satisfaction.
  • Deliver top-quality software on schedule.

Certain IDEs can allow multi-language which means that functions can be written in different languages.

Examples of IDEs

There are hundreds of IDEs available in the market which suits different types of programming languages. Some of the popular IDEs are:

  1. IntelliJ IDEA
  2. Visual Studio
  3. Eclipse
  4. RStudio
  5. WebStorm
  6. PhpStorm
  7. PyCharm
  8. NetBeans
  9. Xcode
  10. Visual LANSA

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