I'm looking for a text editor (might be more of an IDE with all the features) that at first acts as a normal text editor. However, I need something that I can click an option like "build for production" that will do a number of things (depending on the configuration I have) like:

  • Minify the source code (i.e. take out the whitespace)
  • Obscure the code for a little extra security and maybe reduce the length of some names of some elements (i.e. id=navigation-inner-float-right --> id=a75). Since it won't greatly improve speed/security, this isn't a major concern of mine, just a personal preference. However, if it did do this, you would have to make sure to change the code universally so it still works.
  • Compile Less code
  • Remove unused code (related: Tool to remove unused CSS)
  • Unit tests for any code changed/affected code

Some other perks:

  • Open source (although must be )
  • Be able to locally debug/run any server-side scripting
    • Local MySQL database would be necessary for this feature to be useful
    • It'd be nice to have this part fully portable so I can develop on one machine and move to another flawlessly and effortlessly (similar to Vagrant)
  • Be able to clean up my code by reformatting with a command/remove trailing whitespace

Languages to be compatible:

  • PHP
    • Laravel (optional, but I'd really like to play with it)
  • HTML
  • CSS
  • Less
  • Javascript
    • jQuery (or better... any external library)
  • Node.js (optional, but I'd like to play with it)
  • RoR (optional, but I'd like to play with it)

To be perfectly honest, an external utility would be fine if it met all of the above expectations. I just feel an IDE that could offer all of this built in would be a little easier to use. Koala seems to be a step in the right direction as a utility, but it is limited to Less/Sass.

Overall, I'm looking for a build system. I've seen mentions of a "build process" (implying a build system) in multiple places including Yahoo!'s developer site, so it seems like they're available. However, that might all be in-house software. Is there something that I can use for free to do the equivalent?

  • I doubt it will do it out of the box, but Eclipse will be able to do some of that, and there are plugins into Eclipse that may be able to do some of the other things.
    – Lawrence
    Commented Jul 21, 2014 at 6:21
  • Do you know Grunt? It's only a command line tool yet and you have to provide the configuration in a JavaScript file. +1 I also need an IDE to spend more time on development than on build configurations.
    – ComFreek
    Commented Jul 23, 2014 at 11:33
  • @ComFreek Interesting... will have to mess around with when I have time. I can't find anything about PHP support... :/ Commented Jul 23, 2014 at 23:02

1 Answer 1


It seems hard to find an ide that fit all your needs, but now there is Visual Studio Code

All your requirements are possible but not out of the box. You have to create a task (with grunt/gulp for example) for compiling scripts, obfuscating, cleaning, minification and testing - Obscuring code; same as Minification. - List item

It is however:

  • Gratis
  • Able to debug Node.js (JavaScript and TypeScript), C# and F#
  • Format code (with Shift+Alt+F)

And it supports (among others):

  • With Syntax coloring, bracket matching
    • PHP, Ruby
  • With Syntax coloring, bracket matching + IntelliSense, linting, outline
    • HTML, CSS, Less, Javascript
  • With Syntax coloring, bracket matching, IntelliSense, linting, outline + Refactoring, find all references
    • Typescript

When using Typescript/Javascript you have a full debugging experience for node.js. When you're using php you can incorporate any framework you want but the editor isn't providing any extra capabilities for it.

Since you need to do most of the building with tasks you can use grunt/gulp on its own as well, but for editing and debugging visual studio code will provide you with some niceties.

  • Welcome to Software Recommendations! We prefer the answers to be rather long and elaborate then just a link and "This would do it". Could you explain how it does what the question needs? Which perks of the question does it fit and which does it not? Ideally the OP could vet your answer without visiting the external link. Have a look at this discussion about how to write a good answer. Commented Jul 14, 2015 at 8:12

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