Top 5 Best IDEs (According to Senior Software Engineers)

If you're looking for the best Integrated Development Environment for your more advanced software engineers, we have 5 of which are always ranked at the top of their class.
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When your business is serious about growth, it means you understand how important development projects are. Without software to drive production, production would slow down and, quite possibly, come to a grinding halt.

So you place a significant amount of importance on your development team, a team that might consist of engineers who work with Java, JavaScript, .Net, Ruby, Python, C++, or Node.js. No matter the language, those developers need the right tools not just to make the job possible but also efficient and effective. 

You can’t entrust that task to any tool. You need to empower your developers with Integrated Development Environments (IDEs) that are suited for enterprise-grade work and advanced software engineers. To hand your developers a tool unsuited for the task is to hamper their productivity.

To that end, it’s only natural if you’re wondering what IDEs are best suited for your more advanced users. We’ve asked a few advanced and/or senior software engineers their opinions on which tools they prefer to use. Here are those most listed.

What is an IDE?

First off, let’s answer the question: What is an Integrated Development Environment? Simply put, an IDE is a toolkit or application suite of all the tools software developers need to get their work done. IDEs make it possible for developers to:

  • Automate tasks
  • Optimize their work
  • Work less, produce more
  • Enjoy more reliable results
  • Consolidate numerous development tasks into one application
  • Spend less time with the command line

The biggest benefit of using an IDE is efficiency. Instead of having to work with numerous tools (compilers, debuggers, code refactoring/profiling), developers can do everything within a single user interface.

Without an IDE, the job can become more complex, less efficient, and less reliable.

Now that we got that out of the way, let’s move to another important question: What tools are best suited for your advanced engineers?

Visual Studio

According to GitHub, the most used IDE on the planet is Visual Studio with 27.37% of the market share. That ranking hasn’t changed in some time. There’s a good reason why Visual Studio remains at the top of most developer’s lists—it not only supports approximately 15 languages, it includes nearly every feature every software engineer looks for in a quality IDE, such as:

  • Exceptional C++ performance
  • Emulator support
  • Git integration
  • Code suggestion
  • CodeLens code analyzer with input on how to improve code

One of the reasons many developers claim Visual Studio is, by far, the best IDE is that it’s one of the smartest tools available. Visual Studio makes it incredibly easy to write code and navigate between your files, classes, interfaces, and implementations. And with the best predictive typing on the planet, your developers will work much faster with VS than with any other IDE. Visual Studio is also capable of compiling and cross-compiling for platforms such as Windows, Android, Apache Cordova, iOS, and Linux.

And if your developers don’t find the feature they need in Visual Studio, it can be extended with the help of a host of available plugins

PyCharm

Python is still an incredibly popular programming language. This is partly because it’s one of the best languages for developing Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning solutions. On top of that, Big Data and Python are a perfect match.

Because of Python’s continued popularity, one of the most important IDEs for this particular language is PyCharm. At the moment, PyCharm is listed as the 5th most widely used IDE on GitHub (at 7.69% market share).

Most software developers agree that PyCharm is, hands down, the best IDE for Python development. PyCharm features:

  • Code completion
  • Smart navigation
  • Python profiling
  • Integration with numerous Python libraries (such as Anaconda and IPython Notebook)
  • Find in Path search tool
  • Git integration
  • Window splitting and moving
  • Graphical debugger

PyCharm is developed by JetBrains (who is also responsible for IntelliJ IDEA IDE, which we discuss below). And because PyCharm is cross-platform, you can use it on any operating system you choose. PyCharm also allows developers to work with several databases directly and can work with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

IntelliJ IDEA

If your developers work with Java, your search for an IDE should end with IntelliJ IDEA, which comes in at #6 on the GitHub list of most popular IDEs (with 5.82% market share). 

This Java IDE includes a full range of tools for programming and editing. If your developers focus on web development, IntelliJ IDEA is the best tool for the job, with features like:

  • Code suggestion
  • Code refactoring
  • Code analysis
  • Smart code completion
  • Inline debugging
  • Included version control
  • Integration with Apache Maven, Gradle, and Webpack
  • Built-in HTTP clients
  • Tools for building, profiling, and decompiling

IntelliJ IDEA isn’t just limited to Java development, but can also work with JavaScript, SQL, HTML, React, Angular, and Typescript.

Eclipse

Eclipse is another Java IDE. And given that Java is one the most popular languages in use today, it only stands to reason there’d be more than one Java-centric IDE on the list. Eclipse comes in at #2 on GitHub’s most popular IDE list (at 15.94% market share). The Eclipse IDE has been around for quite some time, which helps make it so popular. And even though Eclipse does require significant system resources, it’s still in wide use (which is a testament to its power). 

Beyond Eclipse being one of the older IDEs, it also includes:

  • Numerous plugins
  • One of the best Java debuggers available
  • Incremental compiling
  • Templates
  • Quick outline
  • Refactoring
  • JUnit 5 integration
  • Dark theme
  • Strong community for support

AWS Cloud9

For anyone who’d like to take their work to the cloud, Amazon has the perfect IDE for you in AWS Cloud9. One reason why this IDE is growing in popularity is that it supports over 40 languages (such as Node.js, Python, JS, Ruby, C++, JavaScript, and Go). And because you can do everything within a browser, you can develop from anywhere. 

Where AWS Cloud9 shines is with code collaboration. Team members can share their development environment with other members with just a few quick clicks. Team members will see each other’s work happen in real-time and can chat with their team from within the IDE. You will also enjoy terminal access to AWS from within the IDE (which also includes sudo privileges to the managed AWS instances hosting the environment).

Other features include:

  • Full-featured editor
  • Numerous run configurations
  • Integrated debugger
  • Tools for serverless development
  • Continuous delivery toolchain
  • File revision history
  • Themes

If you want to empower your developers to program in the cloud, AWS Cloud9 might be the perfect option.

Conclusion

There are so many IDEs available for your engineers to work with. Each of the development environments on this shortlist should be considered at the top of your consideration. With one or more of these IDEs, your developers can help accelerate your company’s growth beyond your imagination.

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