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Integrated development environment (IDE) refers to a type of software application that provides computer programmers with inclusive facilities for developing software. This is also known as an interactive development environment. An IDE contains the following features: an editor for source code, a debugger, and tools for build automation. Certain IDEs will also come with an interpreter and/or a compiler. More modern versions may contain an object browser, class hierarchy diagram, and a class browser. While there is a difference between an IDE and a software development environment, this boundary is often unclear.

Overall, the IDE is meant to make programming a more productive process because it contains a single program for all of the processes of development. The components of an IDE have homogenous user interfaces for maximum efficiency. Furthermore, an IDE is intended to decrease the amount of configuration that is necessary for the developer to place many utilities of development together. Because all of these capabilities are placed together in the IDE, the development of software is much faster and more efficient.

While many IDEs have one specific language for programming, others provide support for multiple languages. There are also IDEs that are text-based, although most modern versions are graphical. IDEs are generally required for visual programming. IDEs that are visual in nature allow the creation of new applications through building blocks, moving programming, or code nodes. IDEs have also begun to move to an online format that functions within a web browser. This is due to the increase in cloud storage and computation via the cloud.