What is Node.js?
However, in order to develop any program or build an application, it is very important to constantly review, test, and edit your code. The same goes for any web-based application developed using Node.js. You need to have good debugging and editing tools to ensure that your program works perfectly. This is where an IDE (Integrated Development Environment) comes into play.
What is an IDE?
IDE stands for Integrated Development Environment. It is an amalgamation of various comprehensive tools and facilities that make it possible for developers to successfully create their applications or website. An IDE is basically a combination of code editor, debugger, compiler, code completion feature, build animation tool, and more packed into a single multi-purpose software application. Modern IDEs have a graphical user interface which makes it easier to work and also has an appealing aesthetic (very helpful when dealing with thousands of lines of code). Apart from that, they even cater to your advanced coding needs like authoring, compiling, deploying, and debugging software code.
There are thousands of IDEs available in the market. While some of them are expensive and have really attractive features, others are free. Then there are IDEs built specifically for a single programming language while others support multiple languages (for e.g. Eclipse, CodeEnvy, Xojo, etc.). In this article, we are going to list down the top 11 IDEs that you can use for Node.js Application Development.
To make such real-time applications using Node.js, you will obviously require an IDE. There are many IDEs available in the market out of which the top 10 are given below.
11 Best IDEs For Node.js Developers
1. Visual Studio Code
Starting off the list with Microsoft Visual Studio Code, a free open-source IDE that supports Node.js and allows developers to compile, debug, and edit their code with ease. It might be a lightweight software but that doesn’t make it one bit less powerful.
The addition of various plugins and extensions by Microsoft to support other programming languages like C++, Python, Java, PHP, etc. has created an ideal environment for developers to work on their projects. Some of the other noteworthy features of Visual Studio include:
- Pre-installed Command Line Argument
- Live Share
- Integrated Terminal Split View
- Zen mode
- Git Integration
- Robust architecture
- Helpers (Context Menus and Intenllisense)
2. Cloud 9
Cloud 9 is a very popular free, cloud-based IDE. The benefit of using a cloud-based IDE is that you have the liberty to run codes in various popular languages like Python, C++, Node.js, Meteor, etc. without downloading a thing on your computer. Everything is online and thus, it not only ensures versatility but also makes it dynamic and powerful.
Cloud 9 allows you to write, debug, compile, and edit your code easily and is quite suitable for Node.js developers. Features like key binding editor, live previewing, image editor, and more make Cloud 9 extremely popular among developers. Some of the other characteristic features of Cloud 9 are:
- Integrated tools that assist in serverless development
- In-built image editor
- Collaboration while editing code and chatting capability
- Integrated debugger
- In-built terminal
3. IntelliJ IDEA
Although you need to download an additional plug-in for Node.js app development, it is absolutely worth the while. This is because doing so allows you to make the best use of features like code assistance, syntax highlighting, code completion, etc. It is also built keeping in mind developer ergonomics which act as a productivity booster and improve user experience. The best thing about IntelliJ IDEA is that it allows you to compile, run, and debug the code within the IDE itself.
Other noteworthy features of IntelliJ IDEA include:
- Smart code completion
- Enhanced productivity and favourable user experience
- Inline debugger
- Build and database tools
- Framework-based assistance
- Built-in terminal
- Version control
- Cross-language refactoring
- Elimination of duplicates
Salient Features of WebStorm are:
- Seamless tool integration
- Navigation and search
- Built-in terminal
- UI customization and themes
- Powerful built-in tools
- Intelligent coding assistance
5. Komodo IDE
Komodo is a versatile cross-platform IDE that offers support for various programming languages like Node.js, Ruby, PHP, Perl, etc. You have at your disposal powerful utilities that make it easier to develop Node.js applications.
With the help of Komodo IDE, you can run commands, track changes, use shortcuts, create custom configurations, and get your job done quickly using multiple selections.
Salient Features of Komodo IDE are:
- In-built browser
- Syntax highlighting
- Customizable UI that supports split view and multi-window editing
- Version management
- Markdown and DOM viewer
- Availability of multiple add ons
- Code Intelligence
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Features like code refactoring, error checking, IntelliSense, key binding, code automatic build, and source code generation make Eclipse an extremely powerful and useful IDE. It also has an in-built debugger and a ready to go stack that makes it easier for developers to create Node.js applications.
Other salient features of Eclipse are:
- Git Integration
- Maven Integration
- Eclipse Java Development Tools
- SSH terminal
- Allows customization of in-built plugins
- Code recommenders tools
- Choose between browser-based and software-based IDE
- Light theme
WebMatrix is also a cloud-based IDE but it comes from the house of Microsoft. It is one of the best IDEs for Node.js Application development. It is lightweight, meaning it does not hog your computer’s resources (RAM, processing power, etc.) and most importantly, free. It is a fast and efficient software that enables developers to deliver quality applications way ahead of the deadline. Features like cloud publishing, code completion, and built-in templates make WebMatrix popular among web developers. Other key features of WebMatrix include:
- Code editor with an integrated interface
- Simplified coding and database
- In-built Node.js templates
The only shortcoming of WebMatrix is that its services are restricted only to Windows users, i.e. it is not compatible with any other operating system apart from Windows.
8. Sublime Text
Sublime Text is considered to be the most advanced IDE for Node.js application development. This is because it has very powerful and advanced features that allow you to quickly switch between projects, perform split editing and so much more. Sublime Text is ideal for writing markups, prose and code owing to its customizable UI. With Sublime Text, you can customize almost everything using basic JSON files.
Apart from that, Sublime Text also comes with multiple selection options that expedite the process of file manipulation, thus, giving a great boost to your performance. One of the best features of Sublime Text is its excellent responsiveness which is a result of being built using custom components.
Sublime Text is also compatible with multiple operating systems like Windows, Mac OS, and Linux. Other characteristic features include:
- Powerful API and package ecosystem
- Cross-platform compatibility
- Instant project switching
- Split editing
- Command Palette
- Multiple Selections
Atom is an open-source IDE that allows cross-platform editing, i.e. you can use it on any operating system (Windows, Linux, or MAC OS). It works on an electronic framework that comes with four UI and eight syntax themes pre-installed.
The salient features of the Atom are:
- File system browser
- Built-in package manager
- Smart auto-complete
- Cross-platform editing
- Multiple panes
- Find and replace tools
Top-notch features like inline editing, command line integration, preprocessor support, live viewing, etc. add to the list of reasons why you should use Brackets to create Node.js applications.
Key features of Brackets are:
- In-line editors
- Split view
- Live preview
- Preprocessor support
- User-friendly UI
- Automatic code completion
- Quick edit and Live Highlight with LESS and SCSS files
Codenvy is a cloud-based IDE that is designed for members of a project development team to work simultaneously. It has a portable Docker which makes it easier for teams to work on Node.js projects. It is also highly customizable that makes it suitable for Node.js developers to work on their projects in just the way they like.
In addition to that Codenvy offers various tools like version control and issue management that proves to real handy in case of a blunder.
Other important characteristics of Codenvy:
- One-click Docker environment.
- SSH access.
- DevOps workspace platform.
- Team-onboarding and collaboration.
- Language related services
I hope the tutorial was helpful and you were able to find the best IDE for Node.js Developers. If you want to add something to this guide or if you have any questions then feel free to reach out using the comment section.