SleepJunk13 wrote:
> Is there a standard IDE out there that most people use? I'm looking at 
> Mondrian and Arachno now, but I'm not sure which. I'm also looking at 
> FreeRIDE as well, but I don't know.

Well, there's no right answer to this. Everyone has a different coding 
style, workflow style, and personality, so everyone fits best with a 
different editor.

The two standard editors amongst professional Unix programmers are Emacs 
and vi. There has been something of an ongoing tongue in cheek holy war 
between their adherents for twenty-some years now. (See 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Editor_war , which also lists some 
advantages of each.) Both are open source, completely free (both libre 
and gratis) and now also available as precompiled binaries for Windows, 
Mac, and most other platforms.

I (and many other people) swear by Emacs. There are two main forks, 
XEmacs (http://www.xemacs.org/) and GNU Emacs 
(http://www.gnu.org/software/emacs/). Emacs is _extremely_ powerful - it 
is actually a LISP interpreter with a whole lot of predefined LISP code 
to make it work as a text editor. There are file browsers, editing modes 
with syntax highlighting, autoindent, autocomplete, etc. for most 
programming languages, including Ruby, and there are optional Emacs LISP 
addons available for just about anything a computer can do. (Really. 
Almost everything. Web browsers, mail readers, http servers, Tetris, AI 
chat programs....) The flipside is that the learning curve is not 
particularly shallow, but there are good tutorials and lots and lots of 
documentation available. I do have friends who are just as passionate 
and productive with vi, though (and they love to point out that vi 
doesn't immediately take up 35 megs of memory when you start it.)

I have tried various other commercial, shareware, and free IDEs and 
editors over the years, and I have never found any feature that they 
have that Emacs doesn't do. On the other hand, I always find lots of 
things that Emacs can do that they don't do. I always keep coming back 
to Emacs :)

If you're serious about programming, I recommend you take some time to 
try them all. Try Emacs for a few days, try vi or vim for a few days, 
try the demos of the commercial editors, try Eclipse FreeRIDE and the 
other free IDEs... It's really a matter of personal choice and taste 
more than anything else, and trying a bunch of editors yourself is the 
only way to figure out which one suits you best.

Best,
Paul

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