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What is an Integrated Development Environment (IDE)?


By Avalith Editorial Team ♦ 1 min read



What Is An IDE? 

IDE stands for Integrated Development Environment, and it can be defined as an application or a software suite that makes programming and writing software much easier. If you’re familiar with programming, you know that developers use a variety of tools when they’re coding. These range from things like text editors, libraries, compilers and platforms for testing. An IDE brings all of those tools and functionalities together so that they work as one application. It’s easy to see how this integrated suit improves software development by making it simpler and by making bugs and mistakes easier to identify. This improves productivity because of the increase in speed and the standardization possibilities. If they aren’t working with IDEs, developers have to spend a lot of time deciding what to use for each task they need to carry out, in addition to learning how to use each tool and configure it. As time is crucial nowadays, time management is crucial for remote workers to stay productive. IDEs can even organize all of the functionalities needed by developers in one UI, making the process even more seamless. 

IDE Features

Integrated Development Environments typically include a code editor, a compiler or an interpreter, and a debugger. All of these are accessed through a GUI, or a graphical user interface. Developers use code editors to write and edit their source code; they use compilers to translate that source code into a readable language, and they use the debugger to make sure there aren’t any bugs, and to solve them if there are. 

These aren’t the only features available within IDEs, though. They can also include things like programmable editors, object and data modeling features, unit testing, source code libraries and automation tools for building. IDEs tend to have toolbars that make organization, formatting, bug detention and reporting and code completion easier through interactive and intuitive interfaces for developers. IDEs are also usually designed to work with third-party control libraries. 

Finally, IDEs can support MDD, or model-driven development. This means that a developer who is using an IDE can begin with a model that the IDE turns into code. It also checks for bugs and tests the code pretty independently. Once that process is finalized, it can go through further testing both within the IDE or outside of it. 


What Types of IDEs Exist? 

There are different IDEs out there, and it’s important that developers understand what they’re using because it will affect the type of application they’re working on. Think of it this way: if a developer is working on an application that’s only supported on one type of operating system, they’ll need an IDE that supports that OS’s programming language. 

IDEs can be based on the cloud or on the web, but they can also be mobile. They can be language-specific or multi-language

Web-based IDEs work with web-based programming in HTML, JavaScript or other languages of this kind. Cloud-based IDEs are those that live on platforms and are offered to developers on a PaaS (platform as a service) model. These boast several benefits. Firstly, they’re accessible: if software development tools are being hosted on the cloud, these will be available from anywhere in the world on compatible dives. Second, they are very easy to use because there are very few requirements for downloading or installing. Finally, they make it easy to collaborate. This has to do with the accessibility benefit, but it also refers to the fact that some IDEs like Cloud9 support up to 40 languages and gives developers access to features like code completion, image edition and debugging, and deployment support. 

Mobile IDEs work with code that runs on iOS or on Android. There are cross-platform or multi-language IDEs that can create code for different types of platforms, which means that a developer could be writing their code in C and use the IDE to translate it into a language that works with a different operating system. Some of these IDEs can also run tests. 

IDEs that are language specific include C-Free, a suite that offers a code editor, a debugger and allows for programming in C and C++ code. 


Top IDE Software Examples

Here are some of the best coding solutions available today: 

  • Microsoft Visual Studio: this IDE is used for creating programs with graphical user interfaces and consoles. It supports websites, web apps, online services, and Windows Forms and WPF applications. 

  • Eclipse: this is one of the best IDEs for Java. It’s a desktop program that can run on several platforms, and it boasts a great interface and drag-and-drop capabilities in addition to debugging and profiling. 

  • Android Studio: the official Android IDE for developing apps for Android devices. 

  • C-Free: this freE is for C and C++ development that serves as an editor and as a programming environment. 

  • Eclipse Che: this IDE is widely used by Java developers. It’s the cloud-based edition of the local IDE by the same name, and it boasts several capabilities. It’s open source and also consistent with multiple languages. 

In essence,  an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) is a software suite that streamlines the programming process by integrating various tools into a unified platform, simplifying tasks such as coding, debugging, and testing. IDEs improve productivity, accelerate bug identification, and offer standardized development practices. They can be cloud-based, web-based, or mobile, catering to diverse programming needs. Avalith’s services, supported by a team of experts, is dedicated to assisting developers in selecting and leveraging IDEs effectively.