I've checked a lot of answers here for similar questions, but my requirements were different.


I'm a developer transitioning from traditional compiled languages to modern web-centric languages, the lion's share being JavaScript-focused (Node.js, ExpressJS, Jasmine, etc). Even though I have Visual Studio 2013, and it has most of those features, it's insufficient for my needs out of the box, and quite frankly, buggy so far. E.g., it'll occasionally redline something that actually works.

Speaking of time, I don't have much time to try out a bunch of IDEs right now let alone get comfortable with them.


-Easy/Gentle learning curve. I want to install this thing and get going, not mess around setting up a bunch of custom crap and praying I didn't screw anything up.

-Debugging with good, detailed error reporting

-Free* (for commercial use)

-Windows 10 compatible (Most stuff rated for 8/8.1 seems to work so far)

-Offline version (No 100% cloud apps)


-Customizable UI color schemes for text/background

Stuff I tried that I didn't like, or stuff I'm not down for since it isn't free:

-WebStorm: Not Free. I hear great things about this IDE, here.

-Brackets: Auto-formatting is out of control with this program, and instead of easily changing this within the program/UI, you have to create configuration JSON files? Are you kidding me? Yeah, this definitely fails the learning curve... Stupid overkill.

-Sublime Text 2: Not free, and not javascript friendly out of the box

-Notepad++: Very handy, but still just a text editor

-JavaScript IDE for Eclipse: I still don't know what the hell I have to do to run a simple JS file with this, but I've given up. I don't even care, anymore. Over it.

-Cloud9: Cloud-based IDE. Yeah, no thanks. That's too much control in the hands of my tool instead of the other way around, plus the whole being connected to their cloud requirement. I didn't think it would be an issue until I actually tried it.

-Atom: Most annoying code-completion UX I've ever seen. First I laughed, then I cried.

-Microsoft WebMatrix 3: I couldn't install this on Windows 10, because I couldn't install its pre-reqs on Windows 10. Boo.

* If WebStorm is the difference between night and day with free IDEs, please stress this point. I won't consider it an acceptable answer, but I will take your recommendation seriously and grok on the free vs. premium dilemma.

4 Answers 4


Not the fastest but one of the most reliable of the free Java & JavaScript IDEs is Eclipse - you might even find that a lot of things are familiar as several embedded compiler tool chains use customisations of eclipse as their IDE.

  • Free, Gratis & Open Source
  • Cross Platform - including Windows 7/8/10, OS/X, Linux
  • Written in Java
  • Highly Customisable
  • Good debug & testing support
  • Lots of plug-ins available for things like various version control integrations, *git, svn, *
  • Learning Curve is not too steep
  • Massive and helpful user base
  • Several predefined packages including Eclipse IDE for Java Developers and Eclipse for PHP Developers, the latter specifically includes:
    • JavaScript Development Tools
    • PHP Development Tools
    • Eclipse XML Editors and Tools
    • Eclipse Git Team Provider
    • Mylyn Task List
  • Support for other web languages including PHP, XML, etc.
  • 1
    Would you happen to know if Eclipse has changed much in the last 8-10 years? I can't say I was terribly fond of it when I gave it a whirl back then. Either way, good answer! This one's certainly a contender, but I'm sitting tight for now. Dec 17, 2015 at 6:15
  • Hi @SteveBarnes . Sorry to for this silly question, but was there any particular reason for your answer's emphasis on Java and not JavaScript? Dec 18, 2015 at 5:13
  • 1
    Less to type & most IDEs that cover Java also do JS + a distinct lack of Caffeine at the time may have had a Freudian influence! I'll update. Dec 18, 2015 at 5:43
  • I was in the same boat last night when I first responded x.x I came back to for updates and had to do a bit of a double-take :) Thanks for taking another peak! Dec 18, 2015 at 5:44
  • 1
    No problem - It is just coming up to 06:00 here. Dec 18, 2015 at 5:56

Brackets does meet (almost) all of your needs.

I am happily using it for AngularJS on Windows 10. I don't code Java and am not aware if there are/aren't plugins for your version control. Check that out for yourself. I can attest to the rest, though.

What I particularly like is the live preview mode. Changes to the HTML/CSS show up immediately in the browser, without having to save files.

Try Brackets. You won't regret it. Guaranteed - or your money refunded.

  • 1
    I loved the live preview feature! But yeah... It is not my goldilocks :( Dec 19, 2015 at 5:12
  • 1
    You mean that Brackets is not your Goldilocks? Then, keep searching, but either comment here or (better yet) edit your question to say exactly what features it is missing, so that others can help your search. Good luck
    – Mawg
    Dec 19, 2015 at 9:01
  • 1
    Thanks, @Mawg. This has gone from asking a question to partaking in some half-baked across a dozen text editors and IDEs. That's exactly what I was trying to avoid... Such is life, eh? Dec 22, 2015 at 0:52
  • 1
    I feel your pain ;-) But, if you don't want to try them all out yourself (and I don't blame you), then you have to give extremely detailed requirements. Personally, I would split features into "must have" & "nice to have". YMMV, for instance, you may wish to prioritize them. Most of the SE posts that I start never get completed. The exercise of trying to clearly explain to a 3rd party forces me to concentrate so much that I end up answering my own question. Again, YMMV. Or, you could just settle for "good enough", instead of pursuing "best" ...
    – Mawg
    Dec 22, 2015 at 8:21
  • 1
    Btw, your statement "Brackets: Only a text editor" totally flummoxes me. Are you sure that you have tried it? (no offence intended) It has all of the standard features that I could want of an IDE. If you find something better that also supports AngularJS, then I will switch in an instant. But, until then, I don't know of a better one (for me)
    – Mawg
    Dec 22, 2015 at 8:23

The relatively recent release of VisualStudio Code appears to meet all the criteria. I've just now downloaded it to try out.



Check out Atom.

  • It is very easy to learn how to use
  • It is Free
  • No to much support for debugging, although you should be able to find an addon or extension
  • Supports Windows 10
  • Customizable in terms of overall themes (called "ui themes") and code themes (called "syntax themes"). There is a vast repository of themes (see here)

Hope this helps.

  • I didn't, but I almost downvoted this answer. Atom has what I would consider to be one of the dumbest UXs I've ever seen in a text editor. I'd share a video if it wasn't a hassle, but instead of auto-completing code, it appends the current line with the entire code snippet, so you get console.l[autocomplete option for 'log'] and instead of it doing console.log();, it does console.console.log(); Just awful. Dec 22, 2015 at 0:48
  • 1
    You are right about the auto-completing feature of atom (or rather, the lack of). I forgot about that when I was recommending it.
    – qbush
    Dec 22, 2015 at 5:03

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.