10 Free and Useful IDE for Programmers and Developers

An Integrated Development Environment (IDE) also known as Integrated Design Environment  is a software applications that provides coding, editing and debugging tool for creating desktop applications, web application, java based application and more. In this post, we have gathered some useful and must have free IDEs for programmers and web developer .

Do not confuse Integrated Drive Electronics- IDE with Integrated Development Environment, which is also known as IDE.  They are two different things. The basic features of an IDE includes :

  • A text/ source code editor – To edit different scripting and programming language such as PHP, Phyton.
  • A  compiler and/or an interpreter – To transform source code into computer language.
  • Build automation tools – For automating to task that developers uses on a regular basis.
  • A debugger – To check for errors and mistakes.

Some of the IDE’s that are targeted towards web development also includes FTP.

Why Would You Want to Use an IDE?

If you are wondering how an IDE would benefit you, here is an example. Let’s say you are creating a web app using Java or PHP. You would have to go back and forth between Firebug, text editor and FTP, Firebox. You lose time in switching between different applications. An IDE fills in this gap by keeping you focused on your work rather than switching between different applications. You get features of four or five different applications in one. If you want to get into hardcore coding IDE is a must. So, here we have complied a list of free IDE that you can try and use. We will also include some paid IDE software at the bottom of the post.

WebScripter (Mac)

WebScripter is an  IDE for web programmers with a nice and clean interface that includes code editor , FTP, debugger and more features.

Aptana Studio (Windows/Mac/Linux)

Aptana is well known IDE among the programmer and developer. Beside the usual features you can also add plugins , which makes Aptana a must have tools for developers.

Qt Creator (Windows/Mac/Linux)

Qt Creator is mainly used C++.  It has an advanced code editor , visual debugger and many more features.

Code::Blocks (Windows/Mac/Linux)

Code::Blocks supports multiple compilers, including  Microsoft Visual C++, Borland C++, Watcom , the Intel C++ compiler and many more.

Syntori (Mac)

Mainly focused for Java developers who enjoys the mac interface. Includes lots of features for debugging.

NetBeans IDE (Windows/Mac/Linux)

NetBeans is a cross-platform, opensource  IDE that supports many languages such as  Ajax,C/C++, JavaScript, Ruby, PHP, Python and more. Pick your scripting or programming language and get to work. You can create desktop, mobile, web applications using NetBeans.

Eclipse (Windows/Mac/Linux)

Eclipse is a multi-language software development environment. You can download the PHP, C++ or Java IDE from here

PSPad (Windows)

A code editor that support many different language such as C++,CSS, HTML, XHTML,Java, JavaScript, Perl, PHP, Python, SQL, TCL/TK, Unix ShellScript, VBScript, Visual Basic and more. Some features to mention: FTP Client, Macro Recorder, File Search/Replace, Code Explorer and more.

Microsoft Visual Studio Express (Windows)

IDE from Microsoft that includes a code editor supporting IntelliSense as well as code refactoring. Built-in languages include C/C++ (via Visual C++), VB.NET and C# and also supports other languages such as, Python, and Ruby, XML/XSLT, HTML/XHTML, JavaScript and CSS.

Edit: Visual Studio Express is free not the Visual Studio in General (as a reader pointed out).

Ulzard (Web Based- Windows/Mac/Linux)

If you need an IDE on the go, Ulzard is a useful on browser IDE. Mainly focused on web applications, that relay on JavaScript frame works.

Not Free, But Worth Checking Out

Which IDE is your favorite? Is there any we missed here? Share with everyone in the comment.

P.S. : Wikipedia and the Applications websites used on the research.


Kawsar Ali is a web designer who also likes blogging. In his spare time he walks around with a Nikon D5100 hunting for good textures.

  • Hamada76

    personally i prefer delphi which is not in your list? why?
    i use Xe5 version to develop native android or ios app

  • ash

    Thanks so much Kawsar.

  • http://twitter.com/GetBootstrap Get Bootstrap

    I love trying different IDEs, and Aptana’s in my top spot right now.Adobe’s Brackets is a strong contender already(http://aboutadobe.net/adobe-brackets/) and Sublime Text is great as well. (v2 is “free” but ST3, which was just released, is $70)

  • Garth Blayder

    These are some mighty fine IDE’s… thanks for sharing guys, I must admit, having already used Visual Studio… I like it a lot .

  • http://www.brettwidmann.com Brett Widmann

    These look like some helpful tools to try. Thanks for sharing.

  • http://standupweb.net Stanislas Duprey

    Personally I use Eclipse + notepad++ (to edit random files outside my projects)

    But, I am still looking for the right IDE that also could do nice autoformatting, I hate how eclipse removes all tabs of HTML part of my PHP file when I hit ctrl+shift+f

  • http://balexandre.com Bruno Alexandre


    Visual Studio Professional (the one that includes Web Win mobile etc etc ) is FREE if you bound to the BizSpark or WebsiteSpark agreement



    You do miss Expresso as I love it more than Coda :)

    Notepad++ good not to be included as it’s not an IDE but an advanced text editor.

    IDE has to be able, at least to have a visual window of the generated code, debugging features is a must as well for an IDE, or as I said, it should be state as an Advanced Text Editor. I would put PSPad on the same basket as Notepad++!

  • Văn Thanh

    I use NetBeans ID for Java Programing. And I use Intype (http://intype.info/). I see it’s powerful and the same E Text Editor and it’s free.

  • http://www.jedit.org/ Matt

    JEdit was missed. Cross platform. Very powerful with a lot of plugin support to let you customize exactly how you want it to perform (ide vs text editor).

  • geemeetheway

    I always use Notepad++. I develop WordPress theme use as CMS.

  • http://bwigg.com Brian Wigginton

    Great list!

    Caught a spelling error – Microsoft Visual Studio Express (Winodws)

  • http://harikt.com Hari K T

    Is MS Visual Studio free ?

  • http://www.designschrein.de alsa

    Whats with Notepad++ ?

  • Hermitbiker

    …. a great collection of Integrated Development Environment (IDE) also known as Integrated Design Environment for serious programmers and developers !! Thanks Desizntech !!

  • ming

    PSPad is IDE?

  • http://www.profeval.com Derrick

    Very nice list! Although, AJAX isn’t a language.

  • http://veechand.wordpress.com Veerabahu

    What’s the best IDE for scala..Eclipse really kills there

  • Sreejith

    Where is IntelliJ on the list..Intellij is the best IDE ever for JAVA,None of them in the list can beat it.It has got a free community edition as well http://www.jetbrains.com/idea/free_java_ide.html

  • http://www.loxal.org Alexander Orlov

    In fact you’ve forgot one of most widely spreaded professional IDEs: IntelliJ IDEA (http://www.jetbrains.com/idea/). The Community Edition is not only free but OSS and is still much better than Eclipse (I’ve used both IDEs EXTENSIVELY). And the Ultimate Edition is worth its money.

  • Sara

    Great collection, Thanks!

    I think you should mention intellij idea as well, it is great as well. check it out here http://www.jetbrains.com/idea/

  • Sverri

    I use the E Text Editor. I have lost count of how many text-editors I have used over the years, but one thing is certain: it is the best one I have used yet. It is not free but if you live in your text-editor then it is more than well worth it.

    Another great text-editor is PSPad. I find it slightly lacking in certain areas, compared to “e”, but it is solid.

    SciTE is also quite nice. Because it is so simple and light-weight it is perfect for keeping on your USB drive, or for downloading, just in case you do not have a good text-editor handy.

  • Chris

    Got a spelling error, “Dreamweaver fro Adobe”

    Also, I much prefer Textmate. I love how fast and responsive it is, and I love the dark backgrounds you can put on it. I also love how I can just drop a folder on it, and have it open up with all the files I need, no need to set up “sites” or “projects” like IDE’s

    • http://desizntech.info Kawsar Ali

      Fixed, Thanks for noticing it.

      • rizza

        Here too “Microsoft Visual Studio Express (Winodws)”

  • http://www.lifeinharmonywithnature.com Serguei

    Thanks for the great collection, but I guess you forgot to mention Komodo Edit http://www.activestate.com/komodo_edit/
    I discovered it probably a year ago, tried it and switched to it from Aptana.
    It’s a great IDE! I’m using it for all web stuff – javascript, css, html, and for ruby server scripting (RoR to be precise).

    • http://desizntech.info Kawsar Ali

      I wanted to include Komodo, I used it but since it does not have all the features of an IDE did not include it in the post. Nevertheless, it is a great application.

  • http://www.jordanwalker.net Jordan Walker

    All of those are very effective IDE’s pick one and master it.

  • http://jacobrask.net Jacob Rask

    Ajax is not a language.

  • http://www.mykungfuisstrong.com Neil

    I love E Text Editor on Windows and TextMate on OS X. They are not free, but excellent. After a second thought, maybe they would not be considered an IDE so much as a text editor. Though they have many of the same features.

  • http://cssah.blogspot.com/2010/04/css3-generators.html cssah

    IDES make me more productive
    Aptana studio is my primary IDE for javascript

  • http://www.emforma.rs Mladen

    I find coda the best. Tried almost everything from the list, but only coda feels right to me.

  • http://desizntech.info Kawsar Ali

    Thank you for pointing it out. Updated links and name.Cheers