What IDEs / editors do you use for web development?
March 2, 2011 11:40 AM   Subscribe

What IDEs, editors, or general tools do people use to do web development? I'm a linux geek, so my tool of choice is gVim. But I'm teaching a course on this right now and don't want to inflict my prejudices on the students, and I'd like a broader perspective. So if you're a web developer, what do you use? NetBeans, Notepad? Something in-between?
posted by handee to Computers & Internet (38 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
Generally, Eclipse, or some flavor thereof.

The bad news is it's a pretty crummy program. The good news is, there's probably a version customized for the language you're using. I have used Flex/Flash Builder for Actionscript work and Zend Studio for PHP Zend framework stuff.

Notepad++ is a good free, bare-bones editor for Windows but lacks advanced IDE features and I wouldn't use it for serious OO stuff.

For HTML and CSS, Dreamweaver is actually very very good. People have strong prejudices against it, to the point where if you mention it in an interview you are guaranteed to not get the job. But if you ignore the WYSIWG aspect and just use it in "Code" mode, it's essentially Homesite (which no longer exists). It has a few super-helpful HTML features that I have never found in any other program.
posted by drjimmy11 at 11:44 AM on March 2, 2011

If you just want a simple text editor with some syntax hilighting, E on Windows, and TextMate on Mac are the way to go.
posted by empath at 11:54 AM on March 2, 2011

For general purpose coding I use TextWrangler on Mac OS. It has some useful features for web development, like FTP and SFTP support.

But often there's a more specialized IDE that is better suited to a given language, like Xcode for Objective C, Visual Studio for anything .NET, and Eclipse for Java. So I'll use one of those if the project requires one of those languages.
posted by jedicus at 12:04 PM on March 2, 2011

I just use emacs. I tried using Eclipse for a while and it is slow and annoying (and the actual text editing capabilities don't match emacs).
posted by wildcrdj at 12:06 PM on March 2, 2011

Coda for Mac is the only thing I ever use for development anymore. It has the ability to separate projects into sites, and nice syntax highlighting.
posted by hobgadling at 12:09 PM on March 2, 2011

Visual Studio 2010. Express version is free.
posted by jeffamaphone at 12:14 PM on March 2, 2011

coda is nice when I'm near one of the macs but I'm just as likely to dip into vim. This SO thread has some good pointers to useful plugins
posted by mce at 12:14 PM on March 2, 2011

It depends on what I'm doing. I still use Homesite on a daily basis for HTML despite its age, it is mostly out-of-the-way and I find I'm used to its quirks now. I also fire up Textpad or UltraEdit for larger files or XML editing. And while it's not an IDE or dedicated editor, I find WinMerge is essential for the inevitable file/directory comparisons that will crop up and the ability to copy/merge/edit different files or folders.

Were I on a Mac, I'd probably still be using BBEdit (it doesn't suck) or seriously looking at Coda.

And as drjimmy11 states, Dreamweaver is actually great at some things. Just don't treat it like a copy of Word and the saints will not have to cry because of the monstrosities it can create when left to itself. When I am forced to compose HTML email or build an XSL transform, it's my editor of choice.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 12:16 PM on March 2, 2011

Seconding that Eclipse is slow and annoying. I use it for school-related Java projects (because I have to), but for web development, its bells and whistles really don't outweigh how slow and annoying it is. Also there's the risk that your students will lean on autocomplete, etc., instead of learning how to do things themselves.

Notepad++ is pretty fantastic. Its basic features (syntax highlighting, brace indicators) are done well, and from what I've read, so are the more advanced ones. But I never use them--I like that the IDE mostly stays out of my way.
posted by randomname25 at 12:17 PM on March 2, 2011

Sublime Text is the hotness - Windows, Linux, Mac OS X
posted by AlsoMike at 12:30 PM on March 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

I use Geany in Ubuntu, it is nice and fast and has the basic features you want from an IDE.
posted by Gomez_in_the_South at 12:37 PM on March 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

Sublime Text is the shit!
posted by SweetJesus at 12:40 PM on March 2, 2011

After screwing up my Eclipse environment for 40billionth time, I switched to Komodo Edit. It's cross platform and does enough for my tasks. If I spent all day programming, I might want to spring for its big brother, Komodo IDE.
posted by advicepig at 12:42 PM on March 2, 2011 [2 favorites]

Another vote for Sublime Text.
posted by xqwzts at 12:51 PM on March 2, 2011

Take a look at NetBeans also. ( http://netbeans.org/ )
Free, customizable, plug-ins for various languages.
posted by Drasher at 12:53 PM on March 2, 2011

primarily use notepad++ and I end up using dreamweaver on some projects (to be a team player yknow), and it's not as bad for coding as it used to be.
posted by yeahyeahyeahwhoo at 1:01 PM on March 2, 2011

On windows, I always liked SciTE... single binary, good interactions with WinSCP. Simple, syntax highlighting, very light.
posted by gregglind at 1:30 PM on March 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

I use TextMate quite a bit, plus Vim. Vim's underlying philosophy keeps me happy and inspired.

Then Jetbrains' IDEs are really amazing - for instance, RubyMine for Ruby and/or Rails development is simply amazing if you're doing that type of stuff. Then there's IntelliJ IDEA for Java and PyCharm for Python and Django. (These are by far the best IDEs I've ever used. Seriously. I do not understand why they don't get more recognition. The refactoring is magical, as is code navigation and source documentation access.)
posted by krilli at 1:31 PM on March 2, 2011

Oh! I see that JetBrains have just put out a PHP IDE, PhpStorm, and WebStorm a 'lightweight IDE for HTML, JavaScript'! Strongly suggest you check these out!
posted by krilli at 1:35 PM on March 2, 2011

I like Nano and Gedit because I'm boring.
posted by teraspawn at 1:45 PM on March 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

First I had heard of PyCharm but that does look pretty magical. Up until this point I use Notepad++ for my pythoning.
posted by mmascolino at 1:51 PM on March 2, 2011

MacVim and the webkit debugger that comes with Safari and Chrome. Most of the other people around here prefer emacs. It's also worth noting we're mostly a C++ shop and web development is a small part of most of what we do.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 2:09 PM on March 2, 2011

I use eclipse. It is slow and resource hoggy, but it does some neat stuff like inline diffs just by selecting two files and clicking a context menu item to "compare with each other" also function/parens collapsing/folding and parens matching (put the cursor after a parens and it'll highlight the one it matches with, making it easier to see if you've missed one by accident).
posted by juv3nal at 2:32 PM on March 2, 2011

For web development, the version of Eclipse you should probably be using is the one packaged up by Aptana. It's customized for HTML, CSS, Javascript, and PHP, and can be extended easily for Python/Django and Ruby/Rails.
posted by zjacreman at 2:39 PM on March 2, 2011

I use PyCharm and PHPStorm
posted by runkelfinker at 3:14 PM on March 2, 2011

I love RubyMine. So, so much better than eclipse. It also does very well at html and javascript.
posted by miscbuff at 3:18 PM on March 2, 2011

Personally, I like emacs and eclipse. Your students would likely prefer Eclipse, if you go out of your way to teach them how to use it and integrate the tools & plugins into the course:
* Unit testing (very nearly an executable grading rubric, highly recommend you develop a test suite to give to students and a more complete one to use for grading)
* deployment to application server
* debugging hooks
* Mylyn
* ridiculously complete Java validation
* Project Lombok support

But this is really important: what are you teaching students and what languages will they use? "Web Development" doesn't imply much other than some angle bracket markup language.
posted by pwnguin at 4:43 PM on March 2, 2011

jEdit, because it runs on all three major OSes, supports a ton of languages for syntax highlighting, and the FTP plugin lets me edit over SSH.
posted by genghis at 4:52 PM on March 2, 2011

JEdit for the same reasons as genghis when I'm on MacOS or linux.
EditPlus on Windows because it runs faster and crashes less than JEdit.
Vi if I'm in a terminal and want to do a very simple change without breaking out a real editor.
Emacs if none of the above are available.
posted by contrarian at 5:04 PM on March 2, 2011

Hey teraspawn, I thought I was the only one left who used nano.
posted by advicepig at 5:44 PM on March 2, 2011

IntelliJ. For Java, it has no equal. It is not free.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:26 PM on March 2, 2011

Actually, my mistake: with the new version there is a free edition, but it lacks a lot of the extras.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:28 PM on March 2, 2011

BBEdit and Coda. I used Coda most of the time, but BBEdit's better for applying HTML formatting like converting lines into an unordered list, inserting images, etc. I love Coda, but I've used BBEdit for ~10 years and it's second nature.
posted by kirkaracha at 7:42 PM on March 2, 2011

I can't live without jEdit for the SFTP plugin, like genghis and contrarian. Also because it's infinitely customizable. TextWrangler occasionally since it handles humongous files with ease and lets me search and replace on \r and \n without using regex. vi in a terminal.
posted by bendy at 9:13 PM on March 2, 2011

IntelliJ (the non-free version), mostly because of the great support for Grails. Firefox + FireBug + XPather for examining web pages. Wireshark for examining packets and debugging http requests/responses
posted by primer_dimer at 8:04 AM on March 3, 2011

Nthing Notepad++.
posted by Artw at 6:08 PM on March 3, 2011

Hmm. I can't believe no one has mentioned Microsoft's Expression Web, I like it better than Dreamweaver. I've gone from Homesite to Dreamweaver and now to Expression.
posted by Kupo? at 2:17 PM on March 4, 2011

I'm a fan of it too - it feels very Homesite like (Homesite being totally what I would recommend if it still existed) - it even has good multiline search and replace. Of course, it's deep dark secret is that it's actually a many times improved version of Frontpage... Now there's a name people try to forget.
posted by Artw at 2:32 PM on March 4, 2011

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