Ruby IDE: The 9 Best IDEs for Ruby on Rails Development

ruby ide

Ruby IDE is all you need to get started with your programming journey with Ruby programming or development with Ruby on Rails web framework to be more practical. There are many IDEs available in the market, both free and paid, and selecting one can be a time-consuming task.

Ruby is powerful programming language but learning and writing code in Ruby is much simpler than most of the other languages. Ruby got all its fame after the Ruby on Rails framework became popular and developers around the globe started using it for web development.

You can get started in a simple notepad, use a feature rich editor like Emacs, VIM, Sublime Text or go ahead with a full featured IDE like RubyMine or Aptana Studio - RadRails.  

Which Ruby IDE should you go for?

This is a question that you need to answer based on your liking, development style, requirements and budget at hand. Most of the Ides and editors used for Ruby development are either free or offer a free trial version, so, it is always beneficial to try out a few before closing on to one.

In case you simply want to try Ruby scripting - check out some of the online Ruby Editors like http://tryruby.org and repl.it. Many of my friends who do freelance development in Ruby language either use Emacs with “Ruby mode and Robe” or VIM for Linux and MacVim with vim-ruby for Mac OS X, and to turn VIM into a perfect Ruby on Rails IDE, they use vim-rails, continue reading for more details on this.

On the other hand, enterprises typically go for RubyMine, which is the most powerful IDE out there in the wild and comes with enterprise grade support. Aptana with RadRails too is quite popular among professional developers and is used widely.

If you want to learn the depths of Ruby, here is a perfect course for you (currently on discount) – The Complete Ruby on Rails Developer Course.

Our team has gathered details and captured feedback on most of the IDEs and Editors used for Ruby programming. Let us check out which is the best Ruby IDE, or a perfect Ruby on Rails IDE out there in the market.

Also on noeticforce.com - Best Java IDE and Editors for Programming

1. RubyMine- Best IDE for Ruby (Commercial Version)

RubyMine is a full featured IDE for Ruby and comes packed with most modern set of features that facilitate rapid web development. RubyMine is developed and marketed by the company named Jet Brains that specializes in creating development tools for many programming languages.

Talking about features, RubyMine works well with major frameworks like Ruby 2.4 and Rails 5, Puppet, AngularJS RubyMotion, React and more. It provides seamless support for development in front-end technologies like JavaScript, ERB, HAML, SASS, Less, HTML5, Coffee Script, Typescript, etc. with support for code refactoring, debugging and unit testing.

RubyMine also offers seamless integration with version control systems like Git, Mercurial & SVN, databases/sql, composer, remote deployment, Vagrant, Capistrano, Chef, Ruby Task Runner, Bundler, RVM/Rbenv, Rails Generator, Zeus and many others.

Unit testing and debugging with RubyMIne is an absolute breeze, you get graphical UI for Ruby debugging and running unit tests, you can set breakpoints, run RSpec, Shoulda, Cucumber and Minitest with ease.

RubyMine being an enterprise grade IDE comes with license cost, and mainly targets professional developers. It however, is offered, free of cost to teachers, students and for developing open source projects.

The latest version of RubyMine comes packed with Docker support, Rubocop support as well as RVM Gemsets. You can download the trial version (free for 30 days) of RubyMine here at – Download RubyMine trial version.

2. VIM – Perfect Linux Ruby IDE (Editor to be precise)

VIM is an old-time classic and those who use VIM, they love it, specially developers who love using keyboard (and only keyboard, no mouse) for lightning fast coding.

VIM is free to use and available under GPL license as open source software. The popularity of VIM can be gauged from the fact that engineers at Facebook have used VIM during the early development of Facebook itself.

VIM is known to be most feature rich free text editor, it can easily be metaphored into a powerful Ruby development environment with right customization and configuration. There are plugins available like vim-ruby for Ruby Scripting and vim-rails for Ruby on Rails web development. If you intend to use VIM on Mac OS X - MacVim with vim-rails & vim-ruby is the way to go along with plugins like Ctrl-P and powerline.

VIM is your perfect option as a Linux Ruby IDE cum editor. Initial configuration and setup can sound like a task but once up and running, it is nothing short of RubyMine, Sublime Text 3 or Aptana Studio.

Read more about VIM here at - Vim.org and check out more about vim-rails here at – vim-rails.

3. Aptana Studio (RadRails)

Aptana Studio is another best in class Ruby on Rails IDE which is owned by the company named Appcelerator, it is available as open source and free to use IDE for Ruby development.

Specifically talking about Ruby and Rails development, RadRails was a separate entity earlier and was quite popular too, merged/acquired later by Aptana Studio. Some of the key features of RadRails include Code Assist, Integrated Debugger and Outlining.        

Aptana’s another product Studio3 is used as programming environment for many other programming languages including Python, PHP and the web pillars – CSS, HTML & JavaScript.

You can read more about Aptana Studio here at - Aptana Studio for Ruby

4. Emacs - Ruby Editor cum IDE

Like I mentioned earlier, most of the Ruby and Rails projects do not really need to carry the overhead of resource heavy full featured Ides. A lightweight, sophisticated and mature text editor with right kind of configuration would do the job.

Emacs is an absolute stunner and lovable editor for Ruby scripting and Ruby on Rails based web programming, it is available free to use, is GNU and can be customized and configured as per the needs.

Emacs is used by many Ruby developers, and for that reason, there is a dedicated Ruby plugin called enhanced-ruby-mode for supporting Ruby programming. Additional packages to further enhance Emacs for Ruby include names like - rubocop-emacs, ruby-tools, rvm, rake, bundler, chruby, rbenv and many more. One of the best options specifically when you are looking for a free Ruby IDE.

Official Emacs Website – Emacs Editor

Also check out - enhanced-ruby-mode.

5. Sublime Text 3 / Ruby Editor

Sublime Text 3 is a powerful code editor loved by thousands of developers. It also happens to be my favourite code editor and a candidate for all-time best code editors.

Sublime Text 3 core is lightweight, configurable, feature rich, modular and gets its powers via the use of plugins. There are many plugins available out there in the wild that can be used to transform the text editor into a full featured Sublime IDE for Ruby programming.

Sublime Text 3 is supported on Windows, OSX and Linux. Official website - sublimetext.com.

6. Atom – Another Free Ruby IDE

Highly configurable text editor from the house of GitHub folks, available under MIT license and free to use for personal as well as commercial development. Atom has fast grown in popularity and boasts a huge community that keeps the editor updated with new features on regular basis. As of today, there are tons of packages and plugins available to customize and extend the core features of Atom Editor.

Atom is supported on windows, Ubuntu (Debian Linux), Fedora 22+, Mac and Red Hat Linux. It can easily be turned into a complete Ruby editor for windows or Mac by using various plugins.

How to turn Atom into Ruby Editor Free?

When it comes to Ruby and Ruby on Rails development, there are many packages like linter-ruby, linter-rubocop, ruby-test, trailing-spaces, scss-lint, toggle-quotes, Sublime-Style-Column-Selection etc. that can be used to morph the core Atom Editor into Ruby Friendly Editor, loaded with features.

You can read more about Atom here at - atom.io.

7. Cloud 9 - Best Ruby IDE in the Cloud

Here we are talking about a different animal all together – Cloud9. Cloud9 offers development environment for almost all programming languages including Ruby. Cloud9 is fast becoming popular among medium to large enterprises and companies like Heroku, Soundcloud, Mailchimp and Mozilla etc. are already using Cloud9.

You get the hosted development environment of Ruby on Rails in Cloud9 and accessing the command is like how you do on your own computer. Open the command and type ruby followed by the program name.

Much like - ruby hello_noetic.rb

You get almost all the features that you need for Ruby on Rails development including file manager, text editor, preview, unix shell, chatting for team collaboration and much more.

The way cloud9 works is that you get workspaces to work on that can be public or private. For beginners and for learning programming etc. you can opt for free subscription where you get one free public as well as one free private workspace. Anything more than that and you will be asked to go for paid subscription model.

Read more about Cloud9 here at - Cloud9.

8. MVSC – Visual Studio Code for Ruby Development

Visual Studio code is another solid IDE for programming and many Rubyists are using mvsc for Ruby development. All you need is to install the extension vscode-ruby that provides full Ruby language and debugging support.

It utilizes rubocop for formatting, rcodetools for autocomplete, Rspec and cucumber for unit testing and debugging. Other useful Ruby gems would include ruby-lint, reek, fasterer and debride

Check out more here at - vscode-ruby

9. Komodo

Komodo is an IDE from the house of company names ActiveState and is among the best when it comes to Ruby on Rails development.

Komodo IDE is a full featured IDE and offers Graphical Debugging, Code Profiling, Version control and integrated tools and much more.

Official Website – Komodo Web Editor

Conclusion

Ruby is general purpose programming language and is often compared with Python when it comes to readability and easy to understand syntax. Like Python, Ruby is also one of the strong candidates for learning programming, for beginners.

Ruby doesn’t compare with Python in terms of usage since Python has wide spread applications area whereas Ruby is mostly limited to web programming. Because of the limited application area and being a simple language, there are not many dedicated Ruby IDEs or Editors.

If you ask me, Ruby needs just a feature rich good Editor like VIM, Sublime Text, Atom or Emacs. A full features IDE like Eclipse for Java etc. is not really needed for most of the projects.

In this article, we covered most of the IDEs and Editors to ensure that you can find a perfect Ruby IDE for Linux, for windows or a Ruby IDE for Mac.

Let us know your experience with Ruby programming and the best Ruby IDE of your choice via comments, cheers!!

Further reading - Python IDE Mac, Windows and Linux: Best of Noeticforce

Bestselling Course (Check for sure) - The Complete Ruby on Rails Developer Course

About The Author: noeticsunil

Sunil is the founder and contributing editor at noeticforce.com. He writes about anything and everything that makes modern mobile apps, web apps and websites possible. Passionate about coding in any language including Python, Swift, JavaScript, PHP, Java, Android & iOS dev, not excluding CSS/HTML. 

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