King of the dynamic IDEs

Multilingual ActiveState Komodo 5.0 conquers Perl, PHP, Python, and Ruby projects with strong debug facilities, excellent code control, and an unbeatable set of utilities

Komodo IDE 5 from ActiveState is the most comprehensive code editor and debugger available for enterprise teams that develop applications using a range of dynamic languages. Komodo's strong debugging skills are blended with broad-based coding support for Perl, PHP, Python, and Ruby, not to mention Tcl, Java, C, C++, Visual Basic, and many more. With powerful HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and XML support, Komodo is a great Web 2.0 companion as well.

The latest release, Version 5.0, updates the IDE's source code control (SCC) wizardry to give development teams seamless checkout across distributed code repositories. Newly added support for Mercurial, Git, and Bazaar complement Komodo's existing coverage for CVS, Subversion, and Perforce.


JavaScript, Perl, PHP, Python, Ruby, and other dynamic languages are remaking the Web and bringing programming to the masses. Where should programmers place their bets? See "Dynamic programming futures."

New code formatting tools, which support Perltidy and PHP Beautifier plug-ins, promise to help teams homogenize dissimilar coding styles -- a common disorder of distributed development. And overall, Komodo's workspace has been cleaned up and made easier to customize, which should help new users more easily get their bearings. Plus, multiple workspace instances can now be run simultaneously (see screen image).

In the past, one of my biggest nits with Komodo was sluggish performance -- an affliction that grew in lock step with the size of the project. I'm happy to report that ActiveState has successfully addressed this issue. Komodo is now based on Mozilla's Gecko 1.9, bringing XULRunner bootstrapping and a livelier JavaScript engine by way of the Tamarin runtime. Additionally, an internal update to Python 2.6 -- from which Komodo draws most of its functionality -- has improved stability and brings a more OS-native feel to the Mac.

Detracting from an otherwise superb product, Komodo does not yet support development in .Net languages such as C# and ASP.Net. I would also like to see steps taken to integrate collaboration tools -- along the lines of efforts coming out of N-Brain, for example, where the UNA IDE bundles a whiteboard and chat facility.

Why spend good money on an IDE when a plethora of free Python editors and open source Eclipse plug-ins are readily available for the download? Quite simply, it's a matter of capability and pedigree.

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