Nowadays, developers have to build websites and web applications that deliver optimal user experience across varied browsers, platforms, and devices. They need robust tools to deliver web applications that meet precise business requirements and deliver richer user experience. The tools provided by various integrated development environments (IDE) make it easier for web developers to build and test custom web applications rapidly. Most IDEs come with a source code editor, a debugger, and a compiler/interpreter. But the tools and services provided by individual IDEs differ.
Likewise, some of these IDEs are open source and free, whereas others are available as licensed software. The open source IDEs lack some of the robust tools and services provided by the commercial IDEs. But the developers can always use open source IDEs to speed up web application development without increasing project overheads. Also, they can easily customize and extend these IDEs according precise needs of each project. It is always important for developers to compare the popular open source IDEs for web development.
7 Widely Used IDEs for Web Development which are Open Source and Free
1) Visual Studio Code
Unlike other open source IDE for web development, Atom is designed as a text editor. But the web developers can extend and customize Atom according to precise project needs. They can use the IDE to edit code across three major platforms – Windows, Linux and macOS. They even have option to split Atom into multiple panes to compare and edit core more efficiently across files. Atom further provides useful features like smart autocompletion, option to find/replace/preview text while typing, and file system browser. At the same time, the built-in package manager provided by Atom enables web developers to create custom packages and install existing packages without putting extra time and effort.
3) NetBeans IDE
Vim is designed as a configurable text editor based on Unix-based editor – Vi. Despite being designed as a lightweight tool, Vim runs on major operating systems and supports many programming languages and file formats. It even outperforms other IDEs by being designed as a text-based editor. However, Vim still provides a number of robust features provided by other open source IDEs for web development – autocompletion, modal paradigm for text editing, powerful search and replace option, and multi-level undo tree. At the same time, the web developers can extend and customize Vim by adding specific plug-ins or integrating with popular tools. However, the beginners have to learn VimScript to write custom plug-ins and extend Vim more efficiently.
The open source text editor comes with features to make web designers and frontend developers more productive. Brackets even helps web programmers to write high quality code by integrating visual tools into its editor. The live preview feature provided by Brackets enable users to make changes to the HTML/CSS code and see the impact of changes made to the code instantaneously on the screen. At the same time, the inline edition options provided by the IDE help programmers to open a window directly into the specific code and edit code side by side. The developers can even take advantage of the features provided by Brackets to work with pre-processors more efficiently.
6) Light Table
7) Aptana Studio
On the whole, the programmers have option to choose from a wide range of open source IDE for web development. They can even opt for open source IDEs or community edition of commercial IDEs to accelerate web application development and testing without increasing project overheads. But they must remember that each of these widely used IDEs has its own pros and cons. Hence, they need to compare these open source IDEs for web development according to precise needs of each project.