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Monday, July 28, 2008

Killer Java IDEs for Beginners: Arachnophilia

Arachnophilia was once one of the leading Windows-only IDEs for web page development. Now, it has grown. It's written in Java, so it runs on any current system. It also has grown to support far more than HTML. It also supports Java and a slew of other languages.

It's simple and easy to use, but very powerful. It does syntax highlighting, recognizing Java's keywords, strings, and so on, making it easier to see mistakes when entering programs. It will also match parentheses, brackets, and braces for you, making it easier to avoid--or find--errors in your program there.

Arachnophilia has a great code beautifier built in. So if you're in the practice of not always doing all the indenting you might when you first enter your program, it will go through and clean up the program with all the proper indenting and newlines to make it look really nice.

The interface is easy to configure. You can add new buttons to your toolbar, and make new buttons that do specific tasks the way you want them to. If you want a single button that backs up your old source file, saves and compiles the present one, then runs it with specific java command line options, you can make it moments with Arachnophilia.

If you work with more than Java, having one IDE for all of them is convenient. For example, if you're working with HTML and CSS as well as Java, and maybe doing some JavaScript or python on the side, you can use Arachnophilia for all of them.

My only complaint with Arachnophilia is the lack of inbuilt printing functions. But this is a minor concern. Also, if you're a Mac user, you may find it odd to be using the control key for keyboard shortcuts rather than the Apple/Command key.

Arachnophilia is the IDE that I use with my high school classes, as I mention on my other blog. I use it myself, especially on my little ASUS Eee computer which has limited screen space and not a lot of storage space. It's not an IDE that's just good for classwork. It's good enough for real work.

Give it a try.
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