Integrated Development Environment

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An Integrated Development Environment (IDE) is computer software consisting of an editor, a compiler and (usually) a debugger (see, for example, Delphi programming language). Although some multiple-language IDEs are in use, typically an IDE is devoted to a specific programming language, as in the Visual Basic IDE (available only from Microsoft). Sometimes a version control system, as well as various GUI builders can be integrated.

IDE's are an alternative to the makefile system of program building under which configuration files were written besides code. These makefiles describe options of how the compiler is to operate. Makefiles themselves were an advancement from just running the compilers/debugs, with options given on the command line. IDE's removed this complication by controlling this collection of tools, now usually under a graphical front-end.

The most popular IDE today is Microsoft Visual Basic, which simplifies access to the Windows API. For more complex work in the Windows' environment, however, programmers usually choose Visual C++, C# (C-Sharp) or Delphi (based on the Pascal programming language).

Under the Linux environment many programmers still use makefiles and their derivatives, however IDE's are becoming increasingly popular. KDE's environment KDevelop is an emerging IDE based on the gnu development tools (g++, make, gdb), which includes a graphical front-end creator.


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