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In this tutorial, we explore the top five IDEs or Integrated Development Environments in demand today, and why most developers prefer them. 

What is an IDE?

An IDE is an application that offers a comprehensive program for programmers or developers to write and design software. Typically, an IDE consists of a code editor, compilation tools, and a debugger. IDEs increase a developer’s productivity by combining multiple functions needed to write code into a single application.

What is Included in an IDE?

An IDE consists of three main functions:

  1. Text Editor — This feature allows for plain text to be edited in a standard environment.
  2. Interpreter or Compiler — An interpreter transforms code into computer-readable language. It then runs that code as if it would be executed without it needing to be compiled first.
  3. Debugger — This function scans the code that is input and compares it to existing standards, and points out areas of concern or improvement needed. It also will indicate sections where an error is seen or exhibited.

Other Features

Because there are multiple languages in which software is developed, unique attributes will appeal to each developer. Some prefer granular customizations, while others favor diagnostics or plugin integrations. Many of the base features appeal to a broad cross-section of programmers, which typically increases its appeal. Here is a list of some of these features.

  • Syntax highlighting 
  • Customizable interfaces 
  • Navigation tools
  • Built-in code libraries
  • Unit testing
  • Code completion
  • Plugin integration
  • Error reports
  • Code search

In choosing an IDE, the most important question is, “Which IDE is best suited for my needs?” This answer should be your primary focus when selecting an IDE as every developer has specific needs that must be met. 

Top 5 IDE 

These specific IDEs were selected because of their popularity based on usage statistics gathered over the last year.

#1. Microsoft Visual Studio/VSCodium

Microsoft Visual Studio and VSCodium are closely associated apps. VSCodium is the open-source version of Microsoft’s Visual Studio software, which is one of the best code editors in the market today. It provides support for almost every major programming language out of the box. It uses smart completion based on variable types, function definitions, and imported modules.

You can stage files, review diffs, and make commits from within the editor. The ability to push and pull from any hosted SCM (Software Configuration Management) service makes it easy to commit changes and use extensions to incorporate new themes, languages, debuggers, and to tie into more services. Because extensions run in detached processes, they will not slow down your editor when employed. The major difference between the two apps is that VSCodium does not track your usage data.

Windows Installation

VSCodium can be installed on Windows using one of these windows three package manager commands.

winget install vscodium

choco install vscodium

scoop bucket add extras
scoop install vscodium 

Or via the VSCodium direct download link and then installed normally. 

Linux Installation

VSCodium can also be installed on Linux using one of these package manager commands.


snap install codium
 wget && dpkg -i codium_1.52.0-1607733487_amd64.deb
 wget -qO - | sudo apt-key add -
 add-apt-repository 'deb vscodium main'
 apt update
 apt install codium 
flatpak install flathub com.vscodium.codium
flatpak run com.vscodium.codium


wget && rpm -i codium-1.52.0-1607733636.el7.x86_64.rpm

Arch Linux

pacman -S git base-devel

Mac Installation

brew cask install vscodium

#2. Eclipse IDE

Eclipse IDE is a flexible and free integrated development environment that is open-source released under the terms of the Eclipse Public License 2.0. It contains a main workspace and an extensible plug-in system for customizing the environment. Eclipse is mainly written in Java and is primarily used in developing Java-based applications. However, it can develop applications in other programming languages using plug-ins available from the marketplace. It can also be used to develop documents with LaTeX (using the TeXlipse plug-in) and includes packages to develop Mathematica software. Other development environments include the Eclipse Java development tools (JDT) for Java and Scala, Eclipse CDT for C/C++, and Eclipse PDT for PHP, among many others.

Note: You will need a Java runtime environment (JRE) to use Eclipse (Java SE 11 or greater is recommended). Some packages come with a JRE.

Installation Using the Eclipse Installer 2020-12 R

macOS x86_64
Windows x86_64
Linux x86_64 | AArch64

Step 1. Download the Eclipse Installer
Step 2. Start the Eclipse Installer executable
Step 3. Select the package to install
Step 4. Select your installation folder
Step 5. Launch Eclipse

#3. Android Studio

Android Studio (AS) is the official IDE for Google's Android operating system. It is designed specifically for Android development and built on top of the JetBrains' IntelliJ IDEA software. Android Studio offers enhanced features that increase productivity when developing Android apps. It contains a flexible Gradle-based build system with a well-featured emulator. Studio also contains a unified dev environment for use on all Android devices. It can apply and push code changes and employ resource changes to the app without restarting it. AS utilizes both code templates and GitHub integration built-in to build standard app features and import code samples. It uses extensive testing and linting tools to catch performance, usability, version compatibility issues, and other problems. Lastly, there is built-in support for the Google Cloud Platform, allowing for easy integration with Google Cloud Messaging and App Engine.


The installation method is the same as for PyCharm and IntelliJ IDEA software. Download the JetBrains toolbox app using one of the links below and once installed, run the app and select the IntelliJ IDEA software.
Windows Executable
Mac dmg
Linux — The PyCharm installation uses the JetBrains installer package. Run the following command to install the toolbox app.

root@host:~# curl -L | bash && sh /opt/jetbrains-toolbox/

The direct download link below is also provided specifically for the Android Studio Package.

#4. PyCharm

PyCharm is an IDE for the Python programming language. It is a cross-platform development environment that is compatible with Windows, macOS, and Linux. It provides tools that integrate code analysis, graphical debugging, unit testing, and an internal terminal that supports development on remote hosts and virtual machines. The languages supported by PyCharm include AngularJS, Coffee Script, CSS, Cython, HTML, JavaScript, Node.js, Python, TypeScript, and other templated languages. JetBrains created PyCharm based on the IntelliJ IDEA platform.

There are two main versions of PyCharm.

  • The PyCharm Community Edition: This development version is used without the framework options and other necessary features for writing Enterprise solutions.
  • The PyCharm Professional Edition: This version is used to develop software for large projects where frameworks and additional libraries are needed. This version contains support for Scientific and Python development and supports HTML, JS, and SQL.

For successful developers, it is crucial to have excellent tools that lessen their workload and save time. Additionally, PyCharm utilizes various plugins and extensions, written by both IntelliJ IDEA and other third-party contributors to increase functionality. The Professional Edition has a free trial period during which users can familiarize themselves with it and its use, or the open-source Community Edition, which allows for continued free usage.


The installation method is the same as for Android Studio and IntelliJ IDEA software. Download the JetBrains toolbox app using one of the links below and once installed, run the app and select the PyCharm software.
Windows Executable
Mac dmg
Linux — The PyCharm installation uses the JetBrains installer package. Run the following command to install the toolbox app.

root@host:~# curl -L | bash && sh /opt/jetbrains-toolbox/

#5. IntelliJ IDEA

IntelliJ IDEA is yet another IDE developed by JetBrains. This IDE offers users a free, open-source community edition. It supports Java 8 and Java EE 7, comes with extensive tools to develop mobile apps, and supports enterprise technologies for different platforms. The languages supported include AngularJS, CoffeeScript, CS, HTML, JavaScript, Less, Node JS, PHP, Python, Ruby, Sass, TypeScript, and more. IDEA boosts productivity for devs working on enterprise, mobile, or web development in Java, Scala and Groovy supported out of the box. It works well with all the latest frameworks and technologies.

Community edition features include:

  • Java, Kotlin, Groovy, Scala
  • Android
  • Maven, Gradle, sbt
  • Git, SVN, Mercurial
  • Debugger
  • Extensive database editor and UML designer.
  • Supports multiple build systems.
  • Test runner UI.
  • Code coverage.
  • Git integration.
  • Supports Google App Engine, Grails, GWT, Hibernate, Java EE, OSGi, Play, Spring, Struts, and more.
  • Deployment and debugging tools for most application servers.
  • Intelligent text editors for HTML, CSS, and Java.
  • Integrated version control.
  • AIR Mobile supports Android and iOS devices.


The installation method is the same as for PyCharm. Download the JetBrains toolbox app using one of the links below and once installed, run the app and select the IntelliJ IDEA software.
Windows Executable
Mac dmg
Linux — The PyCharm installation uses the JetBrains installer package. Run the following command to install the toolbox app.

root@host:~# curl -L | bash && sh /opt/jetbrains-toolbox/


Avatar for David Singer

About the Author: David Singer

I am a g33k, Linux blogger, developer, student, and former Tech Writer for My passion for all things tech drives my hunt for all the coolz. I often need a vacation after I get back from vacation....

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