integrated development environment (IDE)

Contributor(s): Valerie Silverthorne

An integrated development environment (IDE) is a software suite that consolidates the basic tools developers need to write and test software. Typically, an IDE contains a code editor, a compiler or interpreter and a debugger that the developer accesses through a single graphical user interface (GUI). An IDE may be a standalone application, or it may be included as part of one or more existing and compatible applications.

An IDE's toolbar looks much like a word processor's toolbar. The tools in the toolbar facilitate color-coding, source-code formatting, error diagnostics, and reporting and intelligent code completion. The interface allows the developer to compile and execute code incrementally and manage changes to source code in a uniform manner. IDEs are typically designed to integrate with third-party version control libraries, like GitHub or Apache Subversion.

Increasingly, IDEs are being offered through a software-as-a-service (SaaS) delivery model. The benefits of cloud IDEs include accessibility to software development tools from anywhere in the world, from any compatible device; minimal to nonexistent download and installation; and ease of collaboration among geographically dispersed developers. Popular IDE tools include NetBeans, Eclipse, IntelliJ, Visual Studio and Windows PowerShell.

The abbreviation IDE also stands for Integrated Drive Electronics.

This was last updated in June 2016

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How have IDEs made visual programming easier for your company?
One word off here: visual. Integrated development interface has never been purposed to support the concept of the visual programming. IDE is a typical example of successful convergence of a single-specialty programs, like text editor, syntax checker, compiler, debugger, and so on.
Very nice.


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