integrated development environment (IDE) definition

Contributor(s): Anne Furey and Arjan Pottjewijd

(The abbreviation IDE also stands for Integrated Drive Electronics.)

An integrated development environment (IDE) is a programming environment that has been packaged as an application program, typically consisting of a code editor, a compiler, a debugger, and a graphical user interface (GUI) builder. The IDE may be a standalone application or may be included as part of one or more existing and compatible applications. The BASIC programming language, for example, can be used within Microsoft Office applications, which makes it possible to write a WordBasic program within the Microsoft Word application. IDEs provide a user-friendly framework for many modern programming languages, such as Visual Basic, Java, and PowerBuilder.

IDEs for developing HTML applications are among the most commonly used. For example, many people designing Web sites today use an IDE (such as HomeSite, DreamWeaver, or FrontPage) for Web site development that automates many of the tasks involved.

This was first published in February 2007

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