Review: The 6 best JavaScript IDEs

WebStorm, Visual Studio 2017, Visual Studio Code, NetBeans, Komodo, and Eclipse pull out the stops for JavaScript, Node.js, and friends

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At a Glance
  • WebStorm 2017.1

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    on JetBrains
  • Komodo IDE 10.2.1

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    on ActiveState
  • NetBeans 8.2

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    on Oracle
  • Visual Studio 2017

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    on Microsoft
  • Visual Studio Code 1.11.1

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    on Microsoft
  • Eclipse Neon.3 with Web Tools Platform 3.8.2

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    on Eclipse Foundation

JavaScript is used for many different kinds of applications today. Most often, JavaScript works with HTML5 and CSS to build web front ends. But JavaScript also helps build mobile applications, and it’s finding an important place on the back end in the form of Node.js servers. Fortunately, JavaScript development tools—both editors and IDEs—are rising to meet the new challenges.

Why use an IDE instead of an editor? The main reason is that an IDE can debug and sometimes profile your code. IDEs also have support for ALM systems, integrating with the likes of Git, GitHub, Mercurial, Subversion, and Perforce for version control. But as more editors add hooks to these systems, ALM support is becoming less of a differentiator.

Eclipse Neon with Web Tools Platform

Back in the ancient days when Java Swing was new and exciting, I enjoyed using Eclipse for Java development, but soon moved on to other Java IDEs. Three years ago, when I did some Android development with Eclipse, I found the experience OK, but poky. When I tried to use Eclipse Luna with JSDT for JavaScript development two years ago, it constantly displayed false-positive errors for valid code that passed JSHint.

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