Looking for a new Rails IDE for Windows

by Jim Alateras

It looks like development for the RadRails plugin for Eclipse has stalled and the key contributors are flat out working on a startup venture. Who can blame them we all need to eat. So the search for an alternative Windows Ruby\RailsIDE has started. I've read a log about textmate/, the mac os editor and was curious why they never offered a Linux/Windows version. Well the power of textmate has come to windows with .e-texteditor.

I just downloaded it the demo version and first impressions are very positive indeed. Not enough there yet to move me from Eclipse but it is getting there.

You should take a look at it.


Michael Silver
2007-03-04 13:45:16
Another one that looks promising is RoRed:


I still prefer Eclipse, but I think it's only a matter of time before a non-java ide takes it over. There is also some talk that Borland (now CodeGear) is working on an IDE for Ruby.

Eric B
2007-03-04 13:58:26
Be interested to hear your thoughts on Ruby in Steel. If its good enough, I'd look into buying visual studio in order to use it...

It is sad about radrails. It died right before it included debugging and code completion...

2007-03-04 14:01:12
I recently moved from RadRails to e-texteditor. Personally I think it's the greatest thing since sliced bread!
2007-03-04 15:44:11
For textmate lovers there is also intype. http://intype.info/

Looks really promising. I personally use eclipse with the radrails plugin and RDT.

2007-03-04 15:51:17

Does e-texteditor support integration wit subversion.

Jacob Rus
2007-03-04 16:30:44
I'm a TextMate user who was forced to use windows for a week. Just for kicks, I tried out both of these editors. And let me tell you, neither Intype nor E is anything like the original. A few reasons:

1. They are damn ugly, and though I guess this just generally goes with being a Windows app, in this case trying to squish a Mac GUI onto the Windows platform just makes it worse. Windows has its own GUI guidelines and principles, and they are different from those on a Mac. Also note, the differing monitor gamma on windows makes many of the themes look pretty bad.

2. They don't have recordable macros. Since the beginning of emacs, recordable macros have been the hallmark of any good programmers' text editor. TextMate implements them very well.

3. They don't allow users to create language grammars or preference items. What makes TextMate so great is not the built-in feature set (though this is indeed very powerful and nice), but the incredible ability for even novice users to customize the environment.

4. The column editing mode doesn't really work. One of them had it sort-of-implemented, and the other not at all. But TextMate's column editing is really well done.

5. Most of the commands break. TextMate's commands are designed to be run on a Mac. Cygwin, as impressive as it is (shoehorning most of a linux install onto windows is no mean feat), is just not the same. The sad fact of life is that creating scriptable applications is just not as nice or easy on an operating system like Windows lacking in a decent command line. This means that things like TextMate's amazing subversion bundle, or its markdown preview, or its little script running environments, either completely fail, or at best have serious bugs, when used with these knockoff editors.

6. They don't have the amazing TextMate community to back them up. Right from the beginning, Allan set up a TextMate mailing list and wiki, and users got together to help build functionality. The TM community is incredibly vibrant, and speeds bundle development along at a surprising clip. Vim and emacs still support more languages, but when you consider they've been around for >10 times as long, with incredible institutional entrenchment, TM's progress is quite remarkable. And no, a "web forum" does not make up for the lack of a mailing list. Forums simply aren't a reasonable way to conduct design discussions.


Basically, both of these editors are trying to be jumpstarted by building off a foundation established in a Mac app. But for the foreseeable future, the experience will remain a pale shadow of the true TM experience. I was quite surprised that the E editor is trying to copy TextMate feature for feature. While the result is nicer than most windows text editors, because the syntax highlighting and snippets are already taken care of by the TextMate community, I think in the medium to long term, these editors would benefit most by trying to innovate themselves, or they'll always just be playing catch-up.

I really can't stress this enough. TextMate's success is built on putting power in the hands of users, not telling them the way to work. Both of these editors try to copy features, but end up missing the forest for the trees. While on the specific compatibility and general bugginess fronts, both may improve, I don't see this misplaced focus going away anytime soon.

Conclusion: go buy a Mac, and see what it's really all about ;)

2007-03-04 18:29:01
Thanks Michael! I've been using Jedit for the last year, but RoRed looks really cool. I'll give it a shot
Jim Alateras
2007-03-04 18:59:02

It did pass my mind to pick up a mac, but life ain't that bad yet :-)

Alex Muntean
2007-03-04 21:18:08
What about the new Komodo 4 IDE? It has lots of features http://www.activestate.com/products/komodo_ide/more_information.plex but it's kind of expensive: $295.

Well, probably I'll just buy TextMate after I'll get my MacMini :)

2007-03-05 02:31:04
It's not ready yet, but I'm keeping my eye on Netbeans. Here's Tim Bray's latest take: http://www.tbray.org/ongoing/When/200x/2007/02/26/Netbeans-6 .
For those who can hold out until Q3 2007, it's probably an option worth considering.
2007-03-05 07:01:43
It looks like Borland is working on a Visual RAD IDE for Rails. I've seen info that they may be looking for field testers soon, and their developers have hinted that it's on its way. Considering that their RAD PHP tool comes out this month, a Rails drag + drop environment is likely.
2007-03-05 07:13:25
What about Ruby in Steel? (VS language plug-in)
Huw Collingbourne
2007-03-05 08:56:17
I'm happy to see that someone noticed Ruby In Steel :-)

We have two editions - the Personal Edition and the Developer Edition.The Personal one is free, the Developer is commercial. Both provide editing of Ruby and RHTML, integrated debugging, project management and Rails tools. The Developer also has a very fast debugger, hover and drill-down watch variables, analytical IntelliSense etc.

We are always interested to hear from anyone who has specific feature requests and if anyone is missing some feature from RadRails, please let us know.

best wishes
SapphireSteel Software

2007-03-05 10:07:02
NeatBeans 6, try it. It's great!
2007-03-05 17:12:36
2007-03-11 16:28:17
RadRails development is speeding up again, because work on it will from now on be done by http://www.aptana.com/ Aptana. this was announced at EclipseCon.
Since Aptana is a company with people working on this fulltime, you can expect some serious developments soon;
Leslie Kaye
2007-03-14 07:20:35
Another new and free IDE for Windows you might like to try from my site at http://www.les-kaye.com/
Jerry Preissler
2007-03-15 04:59:04
Don't discount Eclipse yet. Take a look here for a view on the new Dynamic Languages Toolkit. The screencast that shows the ruby support looks pretty neat.
Daniel Berger
2007-03-16 10:47:51
There's one called RDE that I used when I first started with Ruby way back when.


Phil Thompson
2007-09-14 16:07:30
Just noticed this as I'm also getting a little annoyed at the state of RadRails / Aptana. It's been a while and as someone pointed out RadRails did get picked up but it seems things aren't moving very quickly. In fact, I've been using the latest version for the past month or two and I think it's actually worse than the last RadRails only version. So I too am looking for a Windows editor for Rails dev. Anyone like to comment on further developments of any of the editors mentioned (Just about to go check them out anyway).
2007-09-19 04:44:19
I am developing on a Windows machine as well, and RadRails/Aptana just doesn't work properly for me, and so I had to revert back to notepad!

So I was overjoyed when I found RoRED (currently only for Windows) which in my opinion is really wonderful. It lets you navigate your code by models, and has all the nice tidbits that makes the editing experience enjoyable.

It doesn't have support for SVN but as it uses the windows explorer for file browsing, you can just right click on the files to use TortoiseSVN. It sure is a hell lot better than RadRails or Notepad!

2007-10-03 06:49:47
Another one to add to the list: RIDE-ME