What’s The Top IDE?

Integrated Development Environments, referred to by the acronym IDE , are the cornerstones of application development.

Every wondered which one is the best?

A new study from Evans Data of over 1,200 developers worldwide may shed some light on that answer.

Evans’ study ranked the top 11 IDEs, including Adobe/Macromedia Studio 8, Borland Delphi, Borland JBuilder, Eclipse, IBM Rational Application Developer, IBM WebSphere Studio, Microsoft Visual Studio .NET, NetBeans, Oracle JDeveloper, Sun Java Studio and Sybase PowerBuilder.

In terms of usage, Evans is quite clear about the outright winner.

“Microsoft Visual Studio continues its long-standing reign as the most-used IDE anywhere,” the Evans Data study concluded.

“For many years, Microsoft Visual Studio has dominated the development tool scene, both because of the huge installed base of Windows, but also because of the world-class quality that Microsoft devotes to its tools.”

Adobe/Macromedia Studio 8 came in second and Eclipse, took third in terms of usage.

At the bottom of the list of 11 for usage is IBM Rational App Developer and Sybase PowerBuilder.

Though IBM Rational App Developer was at the bottom for usage, when ranked by users regarding features and experience, it came in first.

“It received the highest ratings for Modeling and Design Tools, Documentation, the Make/Build function, and the Quality of Tech Support options,” the Evans study said. “In addition it received high scores, though not the top score, in virtually every other category.”

Microsoft Visual Studio wasn’t all that far behind though, getting rankings that were close to IBM Rational App Developer and overall good marks in nearly all of the ranked categories.

“Our studies indicate that developers use 2-3 IDE’s normally,” John Andrews, president of Evans Data, told internetnews.com.”We don’t believe the overall rankings are influenced since they are ranking each IDE separately.”

As it turn out, according to Ashok Reddy, program director, Rational product offerings, IBM Software Group, the IBM Rational Application Developer IDE ranked in the Evans Data study cannot be used by Visual Studio users.

There are, however, other Rational software lifecycle tools that can be used by Visual Studio developers and were not considered in the Evans Data survey.

In terms of overall rankings, Netbeans and Eclipse got the lowest scores for respondents. According to Evans, Eclipse is currently the most popular Java-based IDE and may become the most popular overall in any language. The study pointed to the “evolving nature” of Netbeans and Eclipse as the reason behind the lower scores.

“Open source applications are by nature dynamic and evolutionary,” the study said. “While they initially have a disadvantage to applications that are carefully researched, designed, architected, and produced by vendors that stand behind their products with support and service, the force of the community behind them will look at weaknesses as opportunities and they will be addressed in innovative and most likely powerful, ways.”

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