Brackets: Open Source IDE for the Web

Every developer has his or her favorite toolkit. Within that toolkit, they have favorite tools that they find easy, effective, and generally a joy to use. One of those tools to me is Adobe Brackets. Adobe has come a long way from the days of Flash and is making some pretty cool tools for authoring the web.

What is Brackets

Brackets is an open-source IDE for the web, built using web technologies. It brings some key tools for web authoring into one package, while maintaining speed, reliability, and extensibility. Brackets shines through its lightweight, unobtrusive design, which allows you to get work done in an effective manner.

Open Source

Brackets is an Open-source product, licensed under the MIT license. The source lives on GitHub, and community is encouraged to contribute, whether in the form of patches, new development, or plugins.

What Makes it Special?

Brackets contains a series of cool features which make it worth considering making the switch for.

  • Live Updates: Brackets can work with your Chrome Browser to live update your pages as you code them. This includes CSS selector highlighting, one of the useful features of inspecting pages in Chrome / Firefox. While live previewing is on, you can see any of your css / html changes happening live on the page as you code them.
  • Plugins: Brackets is extensible; developers have already been writing plugins to do all sorts of things from formatting, to spell-checking within the editor. If you’ve got a feature you’re dying to see, you can code it as an extension and add it to the project. Many of the early useful extensions have been merged into the project. Check out the full list of extensions.
  • Out-the-Box support for web languages: Brackets by default supports a whole host of web languages including CSS, SCSS, HTML, JavaScript, JSON, XML, PHP, C, C++, C#, Java, CoffeeScript, Clojure, Perl, Ruby, Python, SASS, LUA, SQL, YAML, and Bash Scripting. Do you support all these languages?
  • Regular Updates: Brackets is still very much a work in progress. It is stable enough that the developers on the project are using Brackets to develop Brackets (think about that for a second), but agile enough such that there is an update about every two weeks. The updating process is a little rough around the edges currently (requiring you to install a new executable and at some point going back and cleaning out the old ones), but I’m sure that will be fixed in a future sprint.
  • Development is Transparent: Speaking of updates, the development process in Brackets is transparent. You can go onto their GitHub right now and see the discussions that are going on for current and future features. For example, check out their discussion on code hinting.

Where to download Brackets

Downloads for Brackets may be found at http://download.brackets.io/.

For more information on Brackets, check out their Google+ page and / or their Twitter.

Summary

Brackets is s a great IDE for those of us who want something light, simple, and easy to use. Personally I want my IDE to feel a little like notepad, but with syntax highlighting and code completion. Of course different developers have different preferences when it comes to IDEs, so your mileage may vary, but Brackets is definitely something worth checking out. I use Brackets for my every day web work (it was used to code the template that Droidweb is currently using) and am enjoying it greatly right now. If you’re using it already or you try it out, we’d love to hear what you think about Brackets.

  • techtourist

    I was hoping that this would gives guidance for using Brackets on a Droid. I wanted to use it on a tablet for on the go coding. (installed Debian and hoped to download and install the .deb file)

    Thanks for the good part re: Brackets.


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