Best Ruby on Rails IDEs and Editors To Use In 2023
Dec 6, 20218 min read
Senior full stack developer and CTO at Ideamotive.
Navigating the complexities of software development in 2023 necessitates rigorous organization and meticulousness, particularly in crafting well-structured, clean code. This is where Integrated Development Environments (IDEs) prove indispensable. They offer automated refactoring capabilities, including method extraction, file repositioning, inline variable extraction, among others, thus enhancing code quality and maintainability. Indeed, IDEs expedite tasks that could otherwise be significantly time-intensive, demonstrating their instrumental role in facilitating efficient and effective software development practices.
The choice of the IDE is the decision of the same importance for the programmer as the choice of the programming language. An IDE is your primary programming tool, so it has to be of maximum convenience. There are dozens of IDEs available on the market. Which IDE is the best editor for Ruby on Rails? Read further to find your day-to-day IDE of choice so that you can focus on writing clean code to build useful software for clients.
Text editors and integrated development environments (IDEs) might seem similar, but in fact, the difference is significant. A text editor is a simple tool for writing text or code with restricted functionality. The feature they provide is reduced to copy, cut, paste, undo, redo, and syntax highlighting. In contrast, the IDE is much more than that. A typical IDE consolidates multiple facets of writing a computer program in one software. In addition to the editing functions, they also support auto-completion, building executables, debugging, refactoring, version control, and many more. Below we picked and reviewed 11 of the most popular Ruby on Rails IDEs.
To learn what Ruby on Rails is and why you should pick it for your next IT product, check our complete Ruby on Rails Guide.
The best thing about RubyMine is its intelligence. The Git integration helps run all the Git commands quickly and resolve conflicts. Another awesome trait of RubyMine is its capability to autocomplete the code and provide suggestions for frequent methods. The local history feature makes editing of the code more convenient. With this feature, all of the histories of local changes are recorded in a file so that programmers can revert some unwanted changes without launching a version management system. In addition, RubyMine is installed with an integrated console so that you can launch the server and test WebServices/APIs without fuss. The UI of this Ruby on Rails IDE is pleasant for the eye and represents the progressions done in a record when compared to the last submit.
What is the current state of Ruby on Rails in 2023? Read our blog post to find out!
One of the most famous and trusted environments is Microsoft Visual Studio Code. A software reviewing website TrustRadius awarded Visual Studio Code with 9.2 points out of 10, making it the best editor for Ruby on Rails. What are the main competitive features of Visual Studio Code that make a top-class editor? Like other advanced IDEs, Visual Studio Code is smart. While most of the code editors provide only syntax highlight and simple autocompletion, Visual Studio Code goes far beyond. The IntelliSense feature also supplies programmers with parameters info, quick info, and member lists.
The version control is managed through the integration with Git. For those engineers who develop products for the cloud environment, specifically for Azure, Visual Studio Code has also what to offer. By installing the Azure CLI and Azure App Service packages, you will receive an opportunity to deploy directly to the cloud. In case you want to customize your Ruby on Rails IDE and expand its functionality, there are hundreds of extensions ready for use. Installed plugins run in a separate process to make sure that they don’t slack the editor. A pleasant notion about Visual Studio Code is that it’s free and runs everywhere.
At the top of open-source Ruby on Rails IDEs accommodated for the development of web applications, we find Aptana Studio. Currently, it has more than 6 million downloads which are reliable proof of developers’ trust. Although it is mainly used for building and debugging websites written with HTML and CSS, Aptana Studio can also be exploited by the Ruby on Rails developers, who can maintain their code with plugins.
The main competitive feature of Aptana Studio is an automated debugger. The other reason developers love Aptana Studio is its deployment wizard that supports such protocols as FTP, SFTP, FTPS, and Capistrano. Also, a built-in terminal facilitates the quick execution of operating systems commands, such as navigating projects with several Git repositories. The UI of the Aptana Studio is simple yet elegant. The outline view is excellent for navigating classes by their method names.
The bitter notice about Aptana Studion is that it is no longer maintained. The latest update was released three years ago, in 2018, which implies that Aptana might not work with the latest version of programming languages.
NetBeans is a development environment created by Apache and distributed with a free license. Built with Java, NetBeans can be installed on any platform regardless of whether it is Windows, Mac OSX, or Linux. Java’s “Write once, run everywhere” principle applies to NetBeans as well.
Netbeans is one of the best editors for Ruby on Rails that has everything to make the writing of a code comfortable and pleasant. The matching pairs for braces, brackets, parentheses, and quote marks are inserted automatically by the editor. Collapse and expand features allow you to hide vast blocks of code, such as method declaration, comments, import statements, etc. so that your writing doesn’t look monstrous. There is a smart autocompletion feature to help you write code faster and more precisely. Code suggestions are sorted by relevance, and the most useful will appear at the top. To invoke the compilation, just press Crtl+Space. If you are not satisfied with the default shortcuts, you may easily customize them as you wish. Fixing errors in the code is facilitated by the smart hints that highlight such common mistakes as missing field and variable definition, problems with import, braces, and so on.
The UI of NetBeans is simple yet pragmatic. The support of different coloring for the code units helps quickly find keywords, variables, fields, and parameters.
Unlike RubyMine or NetBeans, VIM is not an integrated development environment but a screen-oriented text editor. In 2019, 25% of respondents of the StackOverflow Developers survey recognized it as their most favorite text editor. Among the programmers, VIM is recognized as a reliable classic. For more than half a century, engineers have used vi (predecessor of VIM) and VIM to develop their products. Unlike most of the IDEs, VIM is universal and suits programming with any language. VIM is lightweight and can be run even on the slowest computers. Originally developed for UNIX, VIM also operates on Windows, Linux, and macOS.
The other feature that distinguishes VIM from commercial IDEs is licensing. VIM is a Charityware, which means that you can use it as much as you like, but you are inspired to make a donation for ICCF Holland organization that helps the children of Uganda.
Another old-school text editor that was released in 1976 is Emacs. Originally created by David A. Moon and Guy L. Steele Jr., the editor was rewritten in 1986 by Richard Stallman, a founder of the GNU project. At the core of Emacs stands the Emacs Lisp programming language. Initially designed for the Unix operating system, Emacs editor can be also installed on Linux, BSDs, Windows, and macOS. The functionality of the Emacs includes project planning, calendar, debugger interface, IRC client, mails, and newsreader. A pleasant feature is the full support of Unicode for almost any existing human script. All of the mentioned above make Emacs the best Ruby on Rails IDE for Ubuntu.
A commercial option of a sophisticated text editor for programmers is the Sublime Text. The latest version of Sublime Text 4 was released in May 2021 and introduced some new features. The autocomplete engine has been rewritten from scratch. Now it is more accurate in providing smart completions based on the existing code of a project. Suggestions are also enhanced with data about their kind. The tab multi-select has also been improved.
An advantage of Sublime Text is its integration with Sublime Merge, a cross-platform Git client. The UI of the Sublime Text does a marvelous job of picking the right colors for coding and syntax definitions which makes the code extremely readable. The other nice feature is the auto dark-mode switching that is more pleasant for the eye. Since Sublime Text is a lightweight editor, it is capable of processing huge files. While most of the editors can’t open CSV files with millions of lines, Sublime Text does it with ease.
A disadvantage of Sublime Text is its bad integration with the third-party vendor’s coding. For example, Sublime Text doesn’t suit the programming of Cisco devices. Finding the right plug-ins and extensions also requires extra effort and research.
Unlike all of the previously mentioned IDEs that are desktop applications, Cloud 9 is an online or browser-based development environment. Distributed as freeware, it is owned and maintained by Amazon. The core features of Cloud 9 include editor, debugger, and terminal. Amazon’s IDE comes with prepackaged tooling for more than 40 programming languages, and Ruby with its framework Rails is supported as well. As a cloud-based product, Cloud 9 shares all of the benefits inherent for cloud-native applications.
With Cloud 9, you can access your project remotely from anywhere and on any device. There is no need to install any additional software to start working: a regular web browser is just enough. The project’s progress is updated in real-time, making collaboration between different teams more productive. The integration with AWS Cloud grants direct access to the AWS terminal so that you can quickly run commands. To learn more about the possible option of hosting the Ruby on Rails application, check our other article.
A unique feature of Cloud 9 is its convenience for the development of serverless applications. Amazon’s IDE preconfigures the development environment with all SDKs, libraries, and plug-ins required for writing, running, and debugging serverless architecture. Infrastructure for local testing and fixing of AWS Lambda functions is also provided.
Looking for a job as a Ruby on Rails developer? Contact Ideamotive! We are always happy to meet new talent.
Cyber safety is super important for modern IT products. Even a tiny vulnerability of a code can lead to a major data breakage as it happed to the clients of SolarWind whose networks were compromised through the malicious injections inserted into the Orion network monitoring software. Sometimes, the harmful insertion can be spread through the public open-source code.
A commercial platform that promises to ensure the safety and integrity of the open-source units you import is ActiveState. The platform supplies its users with a catalog of open-source indemnified packages that were checked and inspected for vulnerabilities. Afterward, a reliable build service provides isolated, ephemeral, and hermetic, verifiably reproducible builds. At the end of the build, received artifacts are examined to guarantee that the final packages you have applied aren’t compromised.
To make the development process more convenient, ActiveState Platform provides for free its own IDE, Komodo. It is integrated with Devdocs.io that makes the search of the documentation much easier. All you need is just to highlight the word or code snippet, and Komodo will trigger the relevant language docs. A live previewing feature frees you from the need to switch between browser and editor constantly. Now you can edit the code and try it without quitting Komodo.
Ever wondered which IDE is used by the team of Facebook? The answer is Atom. Initially created by Facebook’s Nuclide team, the editor is now developed and maintained by the web designers’ community.
A unique feature of Atom is its high customizability. There are thousands of open-source packages that you can install to expand IDE’s functionality. For example, a Teletype extension allows sharing a workspace with your colleagues so that you can collaborate on code in real-time.
Another popular plug-in is Hydrogen, - an extension that allows the programmer to run their code with an interactive REPL session with the language they choose. Run the complete file, a single line, selected pieces of code, or let Hydrogen pick the command.
Feel tired of those fancy IDEs with bright UI and redundant features? Then Arcadia is the best pick for you! It is a minimalistic editor written in Ruby for Ruby developers. Designers of Arcadia follow the principle: True beauty is achieved when there is nothing else to take away. Although this IDE is simple, its features are just enough to start coding. With Arcadia, you can browse sources, highlight syntax, autocomplete code, and edit scripts. For Linux, this Ruby on Rails IDE provides an embedded xterm. The sad news about Arcadia is that it is an abandoned project. The last version 1.1.0 was released in 2015 and was never updated after.
The modern market of IDEs provides plenty of solutions that can satisfy every need and taste.
If you are looking for a solid commercial IDE, RubyMine is the perfect pick for you. Oldschool programmers will enjoy a classical text editor VIM. There is an Emacs text editor for software enthusiasts who confess the GNU free-software philosophy. The best choice for developing cloud and serverless applications will be AWSCloud 9. An IDE with the highest flexibility and customization possibilities is Atom and Visual Studio Code.
Whichever of the mentioned best editors for Ruby on Rails you use, try to become a master of it: learn the keyboard shortcuts, pair with other proficient users, learn the best extensions, and share with your team. This will all pay dividends in the long run, and you’ll spend more time thinking about your code and less time typing.
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Dawid is a full stack developer experienced in creating Ruby on Rails and React Native apps from naught to implementation. Technological superhero, delivering amazing solutions for our clients and helping them grow.