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JetBrains Web IDE

January 29, 2010

As I already mentioned in a previous blog post, I’m kind of (re-)learning HTML and CSS. The best way for me to pick things up again is by getting my hands dirty and work myself through a simple example. So I decided to work on some sort of prototype of a web application without using any web framework like ASP.NET MVC, Fubu MVC, Ruby on Rails, etc. … Just plain old HTML and CSS, like the Internet gods intended. I also didn’t want to suck all the fun out of it either, so I decided to use Web IDE from JetBrains as my IDE for churning out this prototype.

I must say that I was pleasantly surprised by some of the features that this IDE has to offer. The first and most obvious one is probably intellisense that just works as expected.

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Also notice the on-the-fly code inspection (colored marker bar on the right) that should be familiar when you’re a Resharper addict like me. Web IDE provides W3C XHTML/CSS validation while working in the editor which is really useful.

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Being the uncertain type, it was also nice to see all the familiar refactoring features from Resharper being available as well. Renaming a class or id is just a breeze. All the corresponding HTML or CSS files are consistently updated.

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Navigation is there as well (CTRL-N and CTRL-SHIFT-N).

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This looks just like Resharper for web developers, but there’s more. At first, I had all the HTML and CSS files including all the image file in the root folder of the project. I wanted to divide and conquer by putting the images and CSS files into their own separate folder. As I prepared myself to change all the references in the HTML files, Web IDE did that all for me when I dragged the files to their final destination. Now I didn’t had to go over all the HTML files and manually change the links. How cool is that!

Web IDE also provides source-control integration Subversion, Git, Perforce, etc … and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. While working on the prototype of the web application, I mostly focused on the layout and not so much on the behavior so I didn’t use much of the JavaScript capabilities. But I was told that it is comparable with the JavaScript features in RubyMine as described by Peter in this blog post. This is something that I’m going to explore when I start learning more about JavaScript :-).

Although being the first version and still in beta, the IDE seems pretty stable and I couldn’t notice any performance hiccups so far (which cannot be said for all IDE’s these days).

I do hope that there will be some support for ASP.NET or other view engines like Spark, NVelocity, etc. … in future versions. In fact, I still silently wish that JetBrains would come up with an IDE for .NET. Being realistic about it, I don’t have high hopes for something like that coming out but it would totally rock if they decided to build one. Sweet dreams :-)

Bottom line, when you’re doing web development in Visual Studio, make sure to also check out Web IDE. It will probably help you to become more productive along the way.

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Jan Van Ryswyck

Thank you for visiting my blog. I’m a professional software developer since Y2K. A blogger since Y2K+5. Curator of the Awesome Talks list. Past organizer of the European Virtual ALT.NET meetings. Thinking and learning about all kinds of technologies since forever.

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Thank you for visiting my website. I’m a professional software developer since Y2K. A blogger since Y2K+5. Curator of the Awesome Talks list. Past organizer of the European Virtual ALT.NET meetings. Thinking and learning about all kinds of technologies since forever.

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