Test Center review: 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
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.
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).
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.
Eclipse plug-ins such as EPIC's Perl Editor are perfectly fine, but not nearly as extensive or feature rich as Komodo. Third-party tools such as Zend Studio for PHP or Wingware's Wing IDE for Python are also exemplary products. But these one-trick ponies do little to bridge team effort across multiple languages. A single, standardized IDE for all dynamic language development promises to reduce training requirements and boost team efficiency and productivity.
Further, ActiveState's enterprise distributions offer pre-compiled, quality-guaranteed builds with service level agreements, support, and interim point releases that, in my experience, are typically packed with new features -- not just bug fixes.