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Top 5 Open Source Integrated Development Environments (IDEs)

written by: vishalseafarer•edited by: Amber Neely•updated: 10/7/2010

Integrated Development Environments (IDEs) like Visual Studio cost a fortune. Want something as good as that for free? Yes, free! Free as in no money. Here are the top five IDEs that won't cost a cent but has support for all the major programming languages out there. Check them out!

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    What are Integrated Development Environments?

    Integrated Development Environments lets the developers write lesser lines of code and concentrate more on the business logic layer, application layer and the presentation layer. They come with tons of features like auto-complete, syntax highlighter, debugger, compiler, loader, linker... everything that you need to build a killer application. Really good IDEs like Microsoft Visual Studio, Adobe Dreamweaver, and Microsoft Expression Web cost a fortune. So what's the solution? Switching over to open source software is the solution, because of two good reasons:

    1) Almost all of them are free!

    2) The huge community out there that develops these applications tends to have great support.

    Below are the top 5 open source integrated development environments that are free and provide support for a variety of languages.

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    Eclipse

    Rating Average

    Think of a programming language for which you require an IDE and Eclipse is one solution for them all. Be it C, C++ or Java or be it Python, PHP or programming for Android, name it and Eclipse provides support for all of them. What's more awesome is the fact that it runs on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux/Unix. One can easily download plug-ins to support a programming language of their choice. All these features make Eclipse the IDE of choice.

    Cons: Eclipse requires a lot of memory when it runs. The learning curve to use Eclipse is steep and it takes a long time to download. At times the user interface looks cluttered. Requires JRE to be installed.

    To Download, click here.

    Eclipse Image Credit: Flickr - Asolomon16

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    NetBeans

    Rating Average

    NetBeans used to be the favorite IDE for developers before Eclipse snatched the crown from it. NetBeans has support for C, C++, Java, Java FX, Java Web and EE, Ruby ,Groovy and PHP. Majority of the developers use it mainly for Java. NetBeans is the second most used open source integrated development environment next only to Eclipse.

    Cons: NetBeans requires a lot of memory when it runs. The learning curve to use the IDE is steep. The user interface is not very friendly and is not at all visually appealing. Requires JRE to be installed.

    To Download, click here.

    Top Open Source Intergrated Development Environments 

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    MonoDevelop

    Rating Average

    A very good open source IDE to write ASP.NET applications in Windows, Linux and Mac OS X. Portability to Linux for applications written Visual Studio running on Windows is very easy using MonoDevelop.

    Cons: Still in its basic level, MonoDevelop is not as good as Visual Studio.

    To Download, click here.

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    Aptana Studio

    Rating Average

    Aptana Studio is a great open source IDE for developing web applications using HTML, CSS, JavaScript. It has most of the features that makes an IDE great. Aptana Studio can be downloaded as an Eclipse plugin or as a Stand alone version. Aptana Studio runs seamlessly on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux.

    Cons: It does not have a WYSIWYG editor, otherwise Aptana Studio is a great IDE.

    To Download, click here.

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    JEdit

    Rating Average

    JEdit is basically a text editor for creating applications in Java. But it has so many features that it can qualify for an IDE. Auto complete, syntax highlighter, etc are bundled with the free download package.

    Cons: JEdit does not have a visually appealing interface and is not a wise choice for developers who are more than just beginners.

    To Download, Click here.