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Ask DZ: What Features Would an Ideal IDE Have?

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You may love your IDE, but even the best IDE can get better.

Or you may be chugging along with a free, open-source, but less-than-perfect IDE, plugging the functionality gaps with plugins that may or may not integrate perfectly.

Either way, you've probably run into situations that your IDE, if it were perfect, could have handled better.

So, DZonistas: what features would an ideal IDE have?



Robson Almeida replied on Wed, 2012/02/15 - 9:16am

I think that the ideal IDE do not have to be open source, but freeware and with a good way to build plugins to it.
The features: code completion or embedded documentation, an easy way to find everything (like a text box where you write anything and it searches for files, types, properties, methods, configurations and so on ..), support a lot of languages, be fast, support for zencoding, provides a command terminal or a way to access the OS terminal and run everywhere (desktop, mobile and browser).

Mitch Pronschinske replied on Wed, 2012/02/15 - 11:07am

These are some basic features that I think an IDE has to have.

  • Syntax highlighting
  • Autocomplete
  • Built-in compiler
  • SCCS support
  • RegEx-based F&R
  • Code-collapse
  • Class-view
  • A "Birds eye view"
  • Member listing


Robert Stern replied on Wed, 2012/02/15 - 1:45pm



  • built in support for test driven development (optional creation of the test class when you create a new class with keyboard shortcut, built in coverage analyzis)
  • code police (instant notification about too complex/risky/too long/etc code)
  • can run in client-server mode to work with your teammate in distributed environment on the same code
  • better support for dependency injection frameworks
  • dependency injection visualisation
  • design pattern templating
  • clean code tools
  • CI server integration/feedback tools, can display PMD, Checkstyle and other stats downloaded from CI server
  • BDD support connection with known agile tools



Geertjan Wielenga replied on Wed, 2012/02/15 - 2:43pm

This describes the ideal IDE pretty well:

Mohammad Haq replied on Wed, 2012/02/15 - 5:31pm in response to: Robson Almeida

I dont really trust freeware that are not opensource.

Manjuka Soysa replied on Wed, 2012/02/15 - 7:18pm

Ideal IDE would depend on what you are developing. For web-apps it should be:
- Zero installation (IDE itself should be web-based)
- Support Model-driven development with common data models across all layers
- WYSIWYG design of interfaces
- Holistic approach to project tracking, requirements management, development, packaging, deployment and testing

Peter Karussell replied on Thu, 2012/02/16 - 8:05am

The best description for a perfect IDE I found here ;)

additionally two points Robert Stern mentioned:

 * built in support for test driven development
 * can run in client-server mode to work with your teammate in distributed environment on the same code

Matt Young replied on Thu, 2012/02/16 - 9:39am

Spring STS but faster.


James Sugrue replied on Thu, 2012/02/16 - 10:01am

I'd like some graphical view of all the projects/packages/classes without needing to do any "generate" cycle. Just a nice high level view of my source that I could keep zooming into to go a level deeper. Even better if it can nicely display dependencies between things. Of course trees are functional, but something more visual would be cool.

Erwin Mueller replied on Fri, 2012/02/17 - 10:13am

I would love to see further development in 3D visualization of the code, like in

Codstruction: 3D Software Visualization Tool

Also, the marketplace of Eclipse is a really good idea to promote and centralize the plugins.

Sadia Sulaman replied on Sun, 2012/06/03 - 10:43pm

Holistic approach to project tracking, requirements management, development, packaging, deployment and testin.
Goedkoopste hypotheek

Kookee Gacho replied on Mon, 2012/06/25 - 7:41am

By asking this question, I am hoping to come up with a comprehensive list of features for an ideal IDE.-Marla Ahlgrimm

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