Integrated Development Environment

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An Integrated Development Environment or IDE is a software application or a collection of applications that provide a software developer with a (typically GUI) front end for most tasks he needs to perform during the development process, as a minimum an IDE would have a source code editor, an interface to build automation tools and an interface to a debugger.

However the definition of an IDE is not nailed down and this can vary from tools like version four of VisualAge C++ that encapsulate literally all available development tools into an GUI based program to something like Preditor/2 or Enhanced Editor that are actually just a text editor that have such a flexible environment that they can control and encapsulate all the programs and utilities you need to develop your software with.

Note that IDE can also mean "Integrated Drive Electronics", a hard drive that has the controller built into the drive itself, and is also commonly used as a synonym for a PATA hard drive.

Language specific

Please note that this only lists IDE's that are shipped on their own, IDE built into toolkits and development environments are listed as parts of the environment, the only exceptions to this are IDE's shipped with tool kits that actually allow you to re-target them to other kits, but these are rare beast indeed.

Java IDE