I mostly develop in Java, and thus use eclipse for my usual IDE; However, I've heard some complaints that others consider it too 'bloated', and in any case I don't think Eclipse does languages other then Java nearly as well as it handles Java. Thus I've been meaning to branch out to trying other IDEs to see if I like any other's more, and figure I'll try out something new for my next project.

My only Must haves are:

  1. Fully featured without paying for a license
  2. Good support for Ruby on Rails project, including fronted javascript/html
  3. Supports both Linux and Windows development (though I suspect all IDEs do)

My desirable, but not required, are:

  1. Decent support for other languages, including java (in hopes that if I like it I can make it my primary IDE)
  2. Active community for expanding, creating add-ons, or otherwise keeping the IDE up to date with new technologies and development trends.
  3. Some sort of support for remote debugging and/or creating/connecting to a web server so I can host my code and interact with it while still easily debugging any issues I found.
  4. Reuse of eclipse hotkeys or other features to make a quicker spin up to the new IDE from eclipse background (far less important)

1 Answer 1


This is my experience, coming from Eclipse.


If you want a full featured IDE pay for Rubymine (they have a discount for many things). If you want a zen code experience go for Github Atom.

Long story

As I said I first started from a Java background, and by default I used to program in Eclipse. It was awful already at the time but that was my only option they taught me at Uni. Also at the first working place everybody was using it, so I had no choice. Netbeans was ok-ish, still not great for me.

Then I had to move to a Ruby on Rails project and I really tried to use Eclipse on that. No comment on this.
So I looked around and I found Rubymine: it wasn't free but due to the project I was working on was Open Source they have free license (and many discounted for other reasons).

At the time (2011) because I was on a Mac my choices were fewer than today, but Netbeans seemed to have some nice RoR integration as well (still experimental at the time). It looks like the integration progressed and now the RoR support is provided as a community plugin.

After the RoR experience I landed in JavaScriptWorld (NodeJS + Jade + JS), where a text editor was all you needed and it was the time where you weren't cool if you weren't using Sublime Text 2.

So I started coding in JS without all the clunky IDE stuff that I used to have, but now I could just add only what I needed as a separate plugin if I wanted to. I carried on working to the RoR code now and then and I gave Sublime Text a try with it. I actually enjoyed coding way more than before: before I could run the tests with one click within the IDE, lookup the function declaration with one click, etc...
Now it took my two clicks or some keyboard shortcut but the fact that I had a sleek and clean UI was really making the code experience way better for me. The only thing I needed was the syntax highlight which is great, and that's it.

Fast forward to today. I had a try to the new Atom editor from Github because sublime Text was having some trouble to parse a very long minified JS. Since then I didn't look back: it is like Sublime Text (most of the features were a clear rip off of it), but way more plugins, and customisation.

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