How to Choose a Good IDE

Understanding IDE

When looking for a good IDE, some standard features demanded by other programmers must be considered.

But here’s the thing. You really don’t need an IDE. A regular notepad program can work fine for editing your codes.

An IDE offers advanced features to manage files and code. Use of an IDE is common among most programmers.

What IDE did I start with

I became serious about programming in 2002, it was DreamWeaver I chose. I thought it was great for learning HTML and CSS.

I used it for HTML, PHP, JavaScript and CSS coding.

It’s important I state that this is a biased article. There are plenty of IDE’s for various languages. I haven’t spent allot of time with too many other software. So I can only talk about what I’ve used and how it has benefited me.

What makes a good IDE

From my experience, in building websites, a good IDE must have these basic features:

  1. Syntax Highlighting
  2. Code Collapsible
  3. Gives a “Birds Eye” View
  4. As an Auto Complete Feature
  5. Allows FTP Connection Seamlessly
  6. Has a good Compiler

Finding the best IDE for your projects will depend on what features are important to you. I will not discuss these in detail. Because I don’t use or know much about some of those features, like the compiler. I often code on plain notepads. I do this in WordPress and rarely open my IDE.

What I currently use

Currently I use jEdit. There are a few differences from DreamWeaver. The biggest being it’s Free.

It does not include some basic features like auto complete or the birds eye view.

I’m not sure if there are plugins that can add these features. I haven’t really added allot of plugins to my editor.

The one plugin I really love is FTP. It allows direct editing of files on the server. Now this is not recommended for a newbie. If there is an issue, then you don’t have a back up on your computer. I actually should not practice this…but it streamlines my processes very well.
I often would grab the file if the previous changes are salvageable before any new updates.

Another great feature is the undo. jEdit offers unlimited undos back to when the program was opened.

IDE’s can be expensive or even free. There are standard features that you must look for that can greatly improve efficiency.
The only way to know which ide is good is with practical experience. Test various systems if you can, and see what works for you.

What IDE do you use and Why?