Topic: Ruby on Rails Text Editors – Which one to choose and Why?

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Ruby on Rails is no doubt one of the popular and easy to learn Programming languages out there. And with that there is a plethora of text editors out there that support Ruby on Rails programming. But there are a few which are meant to be Ruby specific. Let’s have a look to what some of these can do?

Radrails is from the makers of Aptana studio, one of the popular IDE’s out there. They also have a ruby specific IDE called Radrails let’s look into some of its features.

    * It Supports Ruby 1.8.x and Rails 2.x
    * It has Rich code completion for Ruby, Rails, JavaScript, CSS, and HTML
    * It has Integrated Ruby and JavaScript debugging
    * It Runs on Mac, Windows, and Linux, as a standalone IDE
    * Its Free and open source

The one kick ass feature of this IDE is that It also boasts of An in-IDE command line for advanced users to start working with Rails commands quickly without leaving the IDE. This is a great advantage; you can keep your task bar clean without having a separate CMD window to start the server and another to punch in your codes. All this can be done inside the IDE itself.

Although a feature packed IDE, It’s on the heavier side. Firing up this IDE will take its own sweet time on a normal windows machine.

If you are a newbie to Ruby on Rails, It might be a bit confusing to Use this IDE at first, but they have a lot of video tutorials to help you out with it.
If you are an experienced user and know how to rock with Ruby on Rails. Go for it. It’s your dream come true.

A download copy of RadRails is 120 MB and is a bit on the heavier side.

You can download a free copy of Radrails here


This is one of those IDE’s that support almost all popular programming languages. It also has a separate Ruby on Rails specific IDE, although in comparison to Radrails, this one lacks a few on features. But it’s good to work with. Let’s look at some of its features that it has to offer.

    * Ruby Source Code Editor
    * Ruby and Rails Debugger
    * Ruby Gems Installation Manager

It does miss out on an in-IDE command line which Radrails has to offer. It otherwise does a pretty good job, highlighting syntax’s and auto completion.

If you are not too much dependent on an IDEs and use it do write ruby on rails code and would like to keep the command window open side by side to generate tasks, this is for you.

The download size is 92 mb and is bit on the lighter side.

You can download a free copy of netbeans Here

(Recommended for ROR Beginners)

Jedit is a standalone, No nonsense Editor. It Supports Auto indent, and syntax highlighting for more than 130 languages, including ruby.

It does what it does best that is Highlight your Ruby syntax’s. There is nothing extra here and this one comes under a different category. It Works good for traditional programmers and beginners who like to do a lot of coding by hand.

The download size is 2.9 mb

You can downlaod a free copy of Jedit here
Jetbrains Rubymine


Jetbrains Rubymine, Claims that they have the most intelligent Ruby IDE! Do they really have one? Let’s dig in on some of the features:

    * New Refactorings and Code Duplicates Detection
    * Easier Testing with Cucumber, Shoulda and RSpec
    * Web Pages Building With HAML and Sass
    * New Code Inspections and ‘Quick Fix’ Actions

A very advanced IDE and with lot of testing features, it also boasts about “quick fix actions” which makes your codes cleaner.
This is not a free IDE and comes with a 30 days trial, after which you will need to purchase it. It is not a standalone version but they have different setups for Windows, Mac and Linux.

The download size is 63.56 Mb

You can download a trial version of Rubymine here

Here are a few more
SapphireSteel’s Ruby in Steel is a commercial plug-in for Microsoft Visual Studio.
Redcar - Free
3rdRail – Commercial

So which one is best for you? That’s for you to decide. Selecting an IDE is a personal choice. However for beginners I would hesitate to suggest using Radails or Rubymine. They are indeed eye candy and has a lot of features that are so tempting to use but they do cause a bit of confusion while learning ruby on rails for the absolute beginner. It is always best to use the traditional CMD window in the beginning to get to know the exact working of rails, and then slowly use  these IDE as you advance once you get your techniques right. For starters you can use JEDIT or Notepad++.

Most of the Professionals out there use normal text editors with out the eye candy stuff, Writing each code from scratch.

So Which one are you using and why?