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An Integrated Development Environment (IDE) is an application that facilitates application development. In general, an IDE is a graphical user interface (GUI)-based workbench designed to aid a developer in building software applications with an integrated environment combined with all the required tools at hand.
Most common features, such as debugging, version control and data structure browsing, help a developer quickly execute actions without switching to other applications. Thus, it helps maximize productivity by providing similar user interfaces (UI) for related components and reduces the time taken to learn the language. An IDE supports single or multiple languages.
The concept of IDE evolved from simple command based software which was not as useful as menu-driven software. Modern IDEs are mostly used in the context of visual programming, where applications are quickly created by moving programming building blocks or code nodes that generate flowchart and structure diagrams, which are compiled or interpreted.
Selecting a good IDE is based on factors, such as language support, operating system (OS) needs and costs associated with using the IDE etc.