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Choose a Programming Editor

Robust text editors or IDE's that help with programming


If you have programmed before, you may already have a favorite programmer's editor. However, if you do not, or were thinking about trying other editors anyway, spend some time trying and considering these options common in the Ruby community ...

Note that while a plain text editor such as Notepad may work for small programs, it is worth your time to invest in learning to operate an advanced programmer's editor or development environment.


  • SciTE - General purpose code editor.
  • Redcar - Editor itself written in Ruby. Still under development, but has the potential to be very nice. Clean, simple interface.
  • Notepad++ - Advanced source code editor with a lightweight interface similar to Notepad (Windows only).
  • Eclipse - Integrated development environment.
  • NetBeans - Integrated development environment.
  • Vim - Steep learning curve, but very powerful general purpose editor.
  • Emacs - Steep learning curve, but very powerful general purpose editor.

These editors are not free (as in cost), but are popular in the Ruby world:

Task Discussion

  • __hsams__ said:

    SciTE isn't Windows & OS X only. I'm using it on Fedora Linux, and it's available on almost any OS you care to mention, but, strangely, OS X only seems to have a commercial version available... Anyway, I'll be mostly using Emacs.
    on 24 januari 2013 19:37

    Andre Dublin said:

    Thanks for the update, I'll make sure to reflect that in this task. I'm more of a vim guy myself, I couldn't hang with Emacs and all the ctrl+key commands all the time.

    on 25 januari 2013 00:17 in reply to __hsams__
  • S Briggs said:

    Already had Notepad ++ on my Windows PC before starting this course, but since No comment was made about it here, i guess its not the best for a Ruby newbie?

    on 25 november 2012 07:19

    Si Dunn said:

    I'm using Notepad++ as a Ruby newbie, and it works fine.

    on 25 november 2012 08:02 in reply to S Briggs
  • Jure said:

    Using RubyMine

    on 29 oktober 2012 08:12

    Andre Dublin said:

    How is RubyMine?  I've been bouncing around IDE's and text editors, and finally settled on sublime text 2 with a splash fo vi when im in terminal.

    on 30 oktober 2012 14:30 in reply to Jure

    Jure said:

    Uf! I have completely forgotrten about  Sublime text! I even translated part of it if I'm not mistaken (or was it some other editor..hmm)

    Anyway Rubymine is ok I guess. I would ruther work with emacs or vim but can't seem to fins enough motivation to learn the damn things :)

    on 30 oktober 2012 14:58 in reply to Andre Dublin
  • zyraken said:

    Will Aptana work with Eclipse. I know that the newest Eclipse version doesn't support Ruby.

    on 5 oktober 2012 10:53

    Andre Dublin said:

    I believe Aptana is stand alone? Last time I played around with Apatana I was using it to code Ruby.

    on 30 oktober 2012 14:29 in reply to zyraken
  • Ajiwo said:

    i just switched to emacs (about 2 months), but still cannot leave vim for some short (one line or two) notes

    on 30 augustus 2012 07:43
  • Frank Murphy said:

    I have never used Scite, but have installed it from Fedora repos.

    I have used Eclipse before for Java,

    So may use a combo of both, see how I go.

    on 3 april 2012 04:37
  • Mark Finlay said:

    I've used RubyMine, its a little clunky and slow at times but for a noob the project management and auto completion is pretty cool.

    I've been using vim allot lately as its handly when you have to do a quick change on a remote file, you can ssh into the server, cd to the file and away you go. Probably not the best way to to me manging changes to a deployed app but its quick.

    Does anyone have any good links to tuts on how to customise vim for ruby?

    on 8 maart 2012 08:33

    Andre Dublin said:


    I recommend Jeffery Way's Venturing into Vim: Premium Video Series

    You can customize macros and emulate code completion in Vim also.

    on 8 maart 2012 08:39 in reply to Mark Finlay
  • Anoniem said:

    I use Komodo Edit, Sublime Text 2 and Vim (mac os). 

    on 8 maart 2012 07:56

    Andre Dublin said:

    I've heard good things about Komodo and tried Sublime Text 2, I just can't seem to pull myself away from vim/vi cool

    on 8 maart 2012 07:58 in reply to Anoniem
  • Andre Dublin said:

    My favorite editor for now if vim, I can't seem to find any other IDE or text editor that will allow me to customize my text editor/IDE environment as much.

    on 7 maart 2012 23:06

    Alyssa said:

    What about Text Wrangler?

    on 7 maart 2012 23:21 in reply to Andre Dublin

    Andre Dublin said:

    I've seen a colleague use it before, and they enjoyed it.  It really boils down to what you are comfortable with and "typing style"...

    on 8 maart 2012 07:48 in reply to Alyssa

    Rhodee said:

    Its nice to see so many VIM people! I have been carefully curating my favorite commands and other plugins.

    If I might make some (humble) suggestions, given the purpose of this survey course:

    1. Vim is ugly out of the box. It was really painful for me to use. But I stuck to it, vowing to only use one editor for an entire year. If I knew then what I know now, I would recommend using two things for someone who is new programming and two to avoid. 

    • USE Vim-fugitive. Think of it as a package manager for all the wonderful plugins you will (eventually) install for your editor
    • USE NERDTree. This is a must, it will keep you organized and comes with a host of tricks that are useful from the jump, like bookmarks, creating and destroying files, etc.
    • DO NOT use Snipmate (yet). Mac people love TextMate. It is really nice, I know. But learning to program is as much about understanding concepts as it is about developing muscle memory (at this stage) Once you get the basics, go on and install Snipmate.
    • DO NOT use Vim Rails (yet). It is very useful but has nothing to do with Ruby. 

    2. Please if you are new to Git I strongly recommend keeping these links close by:

    3. Try to learn one new thing in Vim and Git to complement your Ruby journey. I am willing to help as best I can. I run *nix, rbenv and Ruby 1.9.3.


    on 8 maart 2012 14:04 in reply to Andre Dublin