IDE: Integrated Development Environment
Integrated development environment, in short IDE is a convenient environment to write, execute and debug the code or programs on a single platform. IDEs support not only writing code smoothly but also provides a provision to write scripts, XML files, simple text files and build scripts like Ant, Maven are few among others.
In short IDEs are development environments to execute complete development activities using one application.
IDEs and Editors
IDEs and Editors fulfills the same purpose. That is writing code. But IDEs are glued or closely works with respective programming language's compilers, runtime environments, profilers and other language specific tools to put developer in a comfortable zone.
Some of the features of IDE:
- Auto completion
- Syntax Highlighting
- Code debugger
- Multipage editors
Auto completion feature suggests APIs [methods, classes and interfaces] and keywords etc as we start typing in the editor. This helps in not spending much time on typing APIs.
Syntax is a structure of arranging APIs, operators and keywords to make computer instructions, subsequently which becomes executables.
Class names, method names, operators and Keywords are highlighted with different colors and formats to differentiate them and to increase the readability. Syntax highlighting helps importantly when single program or file has thousands of statements or lines.
Debugger is a feature to identify bugs, errors and shows intermittent results of set of programming instructions or statements and subsequently helps in correcting and developing a bug free computer programs
Profiler is the tool usually shipped along with JDK [if it is a Java] and helps in understanding the memory usage of a computer application graphically. These graphics includes different charts and GUI controls.
Profilers gives information about
- Memory usage,
- details of Threads being used,
- Heap dumps,
- CPU utilization etc
Multipage editors shows the same file content in multiple perceptions. For example XML file content can be viewed in different views. 1. Hierarchical view 2. Simple text format and 3. Graphical view etc
Few more notable points about IDEs and Editors:
- IDEs are scalable to support multiple programming languages
- Editors can not be glued to a programming language's compiler
- Editors does not support Auto completion
- Editors does not support code debugging
IDEs for Java and IDEs built using Java
Usually IDEs are developed using different programming languages where, few of them are open source and few are commercial. Few of the industry endorsed IDEs are:
The above listed IDEs are developed using Java programming language and also used to develop Java applications and programs. It is little tricky to understand for beginners.
And both IDEs share common features like scalability, modularity, code completion etc.
You can download Eclipse and Netbeans distributions from their respective sites.
Happy Coding! :)