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Is there a Linux IDE that can rival Visual Studio?


Written by:
2009/08/05 10:51 AM RssIcon

Linux, many would think, is the operating system to rival Windows. What makes so many people gaga over Linux? Is it because it’s mostly free and open source, or is it because it’s better than Windows. The arguments get very heated on both sides. But this post is not to see which is the better OS, but to see if there is an IDE (Integrated Development Environment) that can rival Visual Studio on Linux.

Linux, Traditionally has not been a GUI (Graphical User Interface) design platform. That is not to say that you cannot create GUI’s for Linux. It seems that most Linux programmers would prefer to hand code all their applications.

For me, I prefer the RAD (Rapid Application Development) approach. I like to do as little as possible, without compromising quality, as quick as possible. In today's world time means money. If I am charging R650 p/h or even R350 p/h, creating the app in as little time as possible will be better from an economic point of view for the client. I mean really, they won’t want to pay millions because I cannot type fast enough.

What makes  good IDE.

So if we are going to look at IDE, what makes a good IDE. What should a good IDE have as it’s least of functions.

  • GUI
  • Visual Designers
  • Syntax highlighting
  • Code-collapse
  • Class-view
  • Auto complete
  • Built-in compiler
  • Auto code generation
  • Task Automation
  • Refactoring features
  • Code snippets
  • Features for integration of application design and code, e.g. class diagram view
  • Multiple programming languages
  • Plug-in facility
  • Drag ‘n Drop
  • Good Code Editor
  • Syntax highlighting
  • Extensibility
  • Debugger
  • RAD
  • Unit Testing
  • Support for frameworks
  • Database integration
  • Tool Chain
  • Profiler
  • Code Coverage
  • Source Control
  • Multiple Platform support
  • Project Management
  • Actively being developed
  • Well Supported
  • Good User base

Visual Studio

Microsoft Visual Studio is an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) from Microsoft. It can be used to develop console and graphical user interface applications along with Windows Forms applications, web sites, web applications, and web services in both native code together with managed code for all platforms supported by Microsoft Windows.

Visual Studio supports languages by means of language services, which allow any programming language to be supported (to varying degrees) by the code editor and debugger, provided a language-specific service has been authored.

To my mind Visual Studio support everything if not most of the above points on a good IDE. Except perhaps the multiple platform point. Obviously Visual Studio is Windows Only.

Many Linux supporters would complain about Visual Studio’s big foot print and it’s aggressive use of resources. But hey,  when you cram so much stuff and features into a product, it ain’t going to fit on a floppy disk.

I also suppose that we have to include price. Many of the Linux IDE’s are free, but not all. Is this a determining factor. Not everything that is free is good, neither is everything that you pay for good. But the point is Quality normally costs. Did you get your PC for free, is your car free, does your plumber do work for free?

Visual Studio does have free products, limited but free. Check out the Express Editions.

Visual Studio supports the following languages amongst others.

  • C/C++
  • VB.NET
  • C#
  • F#
  • M
  • Python
  • Ruby
  • PHP
  • JavaScript
  • CSS

Linux IDE.

I must admit that I am at a bit of  a disadvantage here. Because I do not use Linux that often, I am not up to speed with the latest technology. But just trying to do a search and download some of the best IDE’s out there has proven to be a bit of a mission.

First thing I notice is that there are just too many IDE’s out there. IDE’s of varying sizes and varying features. But not that I can find which fits the bill, well according to the short list of features needed as per above.

It seems to me that most IDE’s are designed for a specific language. Very few support multiple languages, and very few support as many as Visual Studio does.

The Top Linux IDE’s

Here is a list of what might be considered as the top Linux IDE’s. Each has their pro’s and cons in their own right. But in my View, still cannot compete with Visual Studio.

  • Code Blocks: Very extensible and fully configurable
  • Anjuta: Versatile development environment for GNOME
  • Eclipse: Java based environment combining a number of different Eclipse projects
  • KDevelop: An easy to use IDE for KDE
  • NetBeans IDE: Java based IDE from Sun Microsystems
  • Sun Studio: Sun Microsystems' flagship software development product
  • MonoDevelop: GNOME environment for the development of Mono and .NET applications
  • Geany: Small and lightweight IDE based on Scintilla
  • CodeLite: Powerful and lightweight C/C++ IDE
  • Zend Studio: Almost the complete PHP package.

The scope of this post, nor my available time, doesn’t allow me to evaluate each of these Linux IDE’s. But from what I have seen on the surface, they are good in their own right. But definitely not in the same league as Visual Studio. But then again that is my opinion.

What do you think? Have you used any of the Linux IDE’s? Have you Used Visual Studio? In your opinion, how do they compare? Is there one that you’re using that is not mentioned? What is it like?

Leave you comments in the comment box below. Looking forward to hearing your opinion.

Related Reading:

The most popular programming language

Writing PHP Code in Visual Studio

C# (.NET) vs. PHP Which is a better web development platform

Why Linux is not for the masses

Is PHP a skill set or a professional track.

The Top 10 Programming Languages You Should Learn

Developing C# applications using Free Tools.

Introduction to Web Apps with C#3.0 and Visual studio 2008.

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1 comment(s) so far...


Re: Is there a Linux IDE that can rival Visual Studio?

Thanks for this list.
I've just tried out Anjuta. Which appears similar to vis studio.

By peter on  2009/10/30 03:18 PM
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