According to Wikipedia an IDE(Integrated development environment) is a software application that provides comprehensive facilities to computer programmers for software development.
This blogpost is a response to a very basic question for every newbie in the salesforce community
"Which tools do you rely on for Salesforce Deployment?"
So lets find the answer. In my search for the best IDE regardless of your role in the Advanced Development Lifecycle, it is important to understand at a high level how all of the Force.com development tools operate, and the development tasks that overlap with each other.
You can find below the list of the tools in the market and I have used all these tools except the Welkin Suite IDE. So went through their documentation to make this comparison.
The Force.com IDE is a powerful client application for creating, modifying and deploying Force.com applications. Based on the Eclipse platform and built on the Tooling API, the Force.com IDE provides a comfortable environment for programmers to code, compile, test, package, and deploy.
Force.com IDE have buggy code completion feature but its ability to use eclipse svn plugins to integrate with Version Control like GIT. And its other strengths are being cross platform and built-in advanced debugging tools.
MavensMate for Sublime
This is my favorite IDE built on SublimeText, I am using this from the last 2 years and its insanely fast. Easy to start working with mac but in windows we have to tweak a bit before making it work. There is no build in SVN Integration but using a git plugin on sublime you can manage the GIT pull/push features. Mavensmate is build with excellent code completion features and highly customizable templates. Excellent User interface and uses ToolingAPI and MetadataAPI to get the best out of salesforce.
You can play games while waiting for your tests to complete.
MavensMate for Atom
Only works on Windows platform and is similar to the .NET Visual Studio. It also includes both an desktop and online Integrated Development Environment (IDE) that provides developers and administrators with the necessary tools to help them build highly scalable and robust Force.com solutions regardless of their skill in Salesforce.
Welkin Suite IDE
According to their site Welkin Suite IDE provides a comprehensive feature set to considerably improve comfort of development and your productivity.
ASIDE is an all new Salesforce IDE in the cloud. It makes writing code, testing code, and deploying code even easier. ASIDE is easy to navigate with a minimal interface. There are four main sections to work from
Easy Deployment Manager
IntelliJ Plugin - Illuminated cloud
Most awaited plugin for the IntelliJ Community. It has all the basic features of the basic IDE
- Intelligent context-sensitive code completion
- Extensive code navigation and cross-referencing
- Integrated API documentation
- Content type-aware static resource management
- Template-based source file creation
- Highly-configurable source code formatter
- Integrated Apex unit test execution and code coverage metrics
- Source code validation and deployment
- Powerful Force.com connection management
- Flexible and efficient metadata deployment and retrieval
- Anonymous Apex and SOQL query execution
Salesforce Developer Console
Salesforce Developer Console is completely browser-based and you work directly with your org’s code and there is no notion of local copies. As a result, your code saves more quickly with excellent code completion functionality. You can run tests, query the database, and even modify the records returned by a query, but you don't have the ability to deploy to other instances.
So based on the list of What should an IDE do, I made this comparison chart.
My personal favorite is mavenmate only because I got used to it and build a lot of plugins around it to make my life easier. Choosing the best IDE depends on our personal coding habits too. So I am going to leave this here by concluding that the above mentioned tools can probably make your Salesforce development process easier and smoother. Please leave your comment if you think I missed any IDE comparable to the above tools.
Bon coding :)