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Review: 10 JavaScript editors and IDEs put to the test

Martin Heller | Feb. 7, 2014
WebStorm and Sublime Text lead a field of diverse and capable tools for JavaScript programming

Komodo IDE has several features that most competing products lack. One is its HTTP Inspector, which is excellent for debugging AJAX callbacks. Another is its Rx (regular expression, or regex) toolkit, which is an excellent way to build and test regular expressions for JavaScript, Perl, PHP, Python, and Ruby.

Another differentiator is the database explorer, which lets you examine the structure and content of various databases. SQLite and Oracle support are built in. I installed a MySQL extension in a few minutes, and it worked well. Unfortunately, extensions for additional databases, such as Microsoft SQL Server and PostgreSQL, don't seem to be available. For this particular purpose, you either need to use a separate database client program or an integrated development system that knows about lots of different databases, such as Alpha Anywhere.

Collaboration is another Komodo IDE differentiator — think Google Docs for code. You can create sessions for groups of files, add contacts to sessions as collaborators, then work together on the same files at the same time, with near-real-time synchronization.

Collaboration is not a replacement for source code control, but it's a useful supplement. Komodo IDE integrates source code control using CVS, Subversion, Perforce, Git, Mercurial, and Bazaar. Only the basic version control operations are supported. Advanced operations, such as branching, must be done using a separate source code control client.

While Komodo doesn't have its own JavaScript document formatter, it takes advantage of the best free open source for this purpose. Out of the box, the default formatter for JavaScript files is JS Beautifier, but another nine options are available through a drop-down menu.

Komodo IDE does not support debugging client-side JavaScript, but it does debug Node.js, both locally and remotely. It also debugs Perl, Python, PHP, Ruby, Tcl, and XSLT. Of course, you can always debug in Firefox with Firebug.

Komodo IDE has a DOM viewer that lets you view XML and HTML documents as collapsible trees. It also lets you do XPath searches to filter the tree.

JavaScript is not supported by Komodo's code-profiling or unit-testing modules. However, JavaScript and Node.js are both supported by Komodo's Code Intelligence module, which implements code browsing, auto-completion, and calltips.

Komodo IDE can publish groups of files over FTP, SFTP, FTPS, or SCP. Komodo can also synchronize files and detect potential publishing conflicts that could cause you to overwrite other people's changes.

Overall, Komodo is a good but not great JavaScript IDE and a good but not great JavaScript editor. However, it may well serve your needs — especially if you also work with Perl, Python, PHP, Ruby, Tcl, or XSLT.

Komodo IDE provides advanced JavaScript editing, syntax highlighting, and navigation, but doesn't include significant JavaScript code checking. It supports dozens of programming and markup languages, with emphasis on Perl, Python, PHP, Ruby, Tcl, and XSLT, and it includes debugging, refactoring, source code control integration, and unit testing. (Click the image for the complete view.)


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