Language: EN


What is an IDE

Let’s say you want to start programming. Well, where do we start? How do we do it? Do we turn on the computer and start pressing keys to see if something happens? No, what you need is a program to program.

It is common that we usually use IDE (Integrated Development Environment). This is a software that integrates all the tools we need for development into a single place.

Or, more rigorously (but longer), the IDE is a computer application that offers a set of integrated tools and features to facilitate software development.

Common functions of an IDE

In general, the IDE is a working environment that provides various tools in one place. In general, it consists of a text editor, a compiler/interpreter, and other essential utilities.

Initially, it may seem shocking to need a program to program. In fact, in many cases, we could only use a text editor. But we would need a lot of additional applications to compile, test, deploy, etc.

Of course, not all IDEs are the same, and some provide more functionality than others:

  • The lighter ones are more like text editors, with fewer features. But they start faster, take up less space.
  • The heavier ones provide more functionality, but require more memory, and are slower.

In general, a typical IDE consists of some or all of the following components:

Text editor

The integrated text editor allows us to write and edit source code efficiently. These editors often offer features such as syntax highlighting, autocompletion, automatic indentation, and advanced search, making the task of writing error-free code easier.


The compiler or interpreter is responsible for translating the source code we write into executable or interpretable format by the machine. Normally, an IDE provides options to compile or interpret the code with a single click, streamlining the compilation process.


The debugger is an essential tool that allows us to detect and correct errors in our code. The debugger allows us to run the program step by step, inspect the state of variables, and detect possible failures.

Source code control

Source code control is a tool that allows us to manage and control the different versions of the source code over time. It’s like a super-powered “undo/redo”. It is very common for source code control to be integrated into the IDE.

Graphic designer

It is an additional component that some IDEs offer to facilitate the development of graphical user interfaces (GUI). These tools allow you to visually create and design the appearance of windows, buttons, menus, and other elements of an application.

Project management

It is increasingly common for IDEs to include project management capabilities. These features facilitate navigation between complex projects, management of dependencies, and even creating tasks to distribute when several people collaborate on the same project.

IDEs are designed to optimize the productivity of programmers by providing them with a centralized interface to write, debug, and execute code.

Of course, there is not a single IDE. In fact, there are a lot of them! Each with its own characteristics, advantages, and disadvantages, and suitable for one or another language. In the next entry, we will see some of the main ones.