I'm after a free (and Free) lightweight IDE at least on Windows, and preferably cross-platform as well, which handles:

  • XHTML, CSS and Javascript (maybe even jQuery..!) syntax highlighting
  • FTP deployment
  • Version control integration (CVS, SVN, Git, whatever)

What've people found to work?

EDIT: I've tried a few of these, and have chosen Aptana, even though it isn't the highest-voted solution. It's quicker than Eclipse, and seems more suited to Web development (e.g. I just typed in a few FTP details and it sucked down the site onto my hard disk. Nice and easy.) I hope that it's reasonable/acceptable behaviour to accept the non-highest answer; this is my first answered question, so thanks everyone for answering!

For posterity, the other solution I would strongly consider is Eclipse PDT.

+10  A: 

NetBeans is my IDE of choice (

Jack Sleight
Netbeans is a really good choice it does all the basic web languages, has FTP support and really good intergration with various version control systems.It also has really good PHP support since version 6.5 and really good support for a number of different JavaScript libraries including jQuery.
Mark Davidson
+19  A: 


+2 for with Aptana plugin though.
Noah Goodrich
Ya, with Aptana plugin, its cool for Front end Development.
+17  A: 

Aptana is the best IDE for JavaScript. It also supports jQuery. It's based on Eclipse, so you can make it work with Eclipse Plug-ins. It supports SVN right out of the box.

I wouldn't say that Aptana fits the "lightweight" category though.
Simon Hartcher
Only Aptana Pro which costs $99 supports SVN if you use their plugin
Aptana is the best ide for javascript that I found so far.
I think Aptana is more lightweight than Eclipse, Visual Studio, Netbeans and IntelliJ :P
@Adam, the free version supports SVN with Subclipse, which is the best SVN plugin IMO. I suggest to use the 1.5.1 version of Aptana which has a better JS support and supports Smarty syntax too.
Fabien Ménager
what version of eclipse does aptana sit on? Last time I used it it was quite a few version behind?
Nathan Feger

gvim - If you are good at vi, this is very powerful.



+7  A: 

Open Komodo (or Komodo Edit) and Eclipse.

Anders Sandvig
Komodo is nice, if a bit slow to start.
Yeah, but I only start it once every time I reboot or turn on the computer... ;)
Anders Sandvig
Komodo Edit comes with jQuery intellisense, but it doesn't have VCS integration. On Windows you can use TortoiseSVN, TortoiseHg, or TotoiseGit.
T. Stone
+17  A: 

Visual Studio Web Developer Express edition.

not sure i'd call it lightweight!
compared to the Pro or Team edition I would call it lightweight. Currently i am using everyday because its more optimal for what I do. VS Pro seems huge/bulky in comparison
+1  A: 

jEdit has plugins for FTP and different version-control-systems. It also supports syntax highlighting for nearly everything.


Here is a perfect free two software :

For CSS : TopStyle Lite

For FTP : FileZilla

For General Use (Notepad Replacement) : Notepad2


Textmate rocks my socks. Maybe it doesn't do deployment, but I use capistrano for that, and it hits every other requirement you have.

EDIT: oh free... Textmate isnt free. But well worth the purchase.

Except the requirement to run under Windows.
Haha, I fail today.
E Text Editor, sold as 'The power of Text Mate for windows', very similiar to Text Mate. Although also not free.
+1  A: 

+1 for Netbeans. Great Java and Ruby/Rails support - now also comes with Python support.

I've been using IntelliJ lately as they offer a 30 day free trial and it rocks. So, so clever. It needs to be tried to be believed. Just need to raise the funds or persuade the boss to buy me a license...

I used IntelliJ a bit with my previous was amazing, I agree! Although Eclipse has done a lot of catching up.
Robert Grant
+1  A: 

Aptana checks all your boxes. Comes as a standalone or Eclipse plugin.
Notepad++ is very cool if you need something fast and light. I'm not sure if it has plugins for SVN or jQuery but it may do.




I still think that Eclipse is the best by far.

In terms of capability but also because of its plug-ins and the community behind it.

Remember that it has the level of Visual Sudio but is FREE which is really rare this days.

Eclipse Doesn't have the level of a Visual Studio ;)Visual Studio Express is FREE.
Robert Grant

Thanks for the answers (so far!) guys. I'm trying to download a few options and give them a go; this is a really helpful list. I'm ideally looking for something more lightweight than Eclipse (or derivatives); I use it every day and it's a good tool, but it's quite heavyweight. However, possibly a stripped-down version would work, I'll give that a go.

Robert Grant
you should put your responses by editing your question, not answering it yourself =)
Oh - sorry! I obviously didn't read the FAQs carefully enough before starting :)
Robert Grant
+1  A: 

I use #Develop - it is the free and light weight C#/VB.NET/IronPython/IronRuby/Boo IDE. You can find a quick review of #Develop on my blog.

Pronounced Sharp-Develop it has integration with many tools such as NUnit, FxCop and more.

Dror Helper
Does it have JavaScript support? I went to the site and I can't see that it does.
#Norsredna - Unfortunately SharpDevelop does not have (at the moment) JavaScript support - hopefully they'll add some in future versions
Dror Helper

I've been using phpDesigner for a while. It's not restricted to PHP and doesn't contain any intellisense-style tips but I like it as it's pretty lightweight.

+1  A: 

I have used EditPlus (now $35) for years. Lightweight, with syntax highlighting and FTP deployment. No version control integration though.


I use PSPad for JavaScript, XML and XSLT.

+3  A: 

For CSS IntelliJ IDEA IDE is good. But it is not free. But you can get a trial version for one month. After that you can uninstall and reinstall. The AutoCompletion feature is very good in IntelliJ IDEA.

Now it will be free:
Peter Mortensen

I'm currently studying at a university and we have been told not to use an IDE as it can complete a lot of code for you (fine if you know what you are doing). I am currently using PSPad and it supports most formats too. PS Pad.

Cool Hand Luke UK
Tell them to sod off, and use whatever tools make you most productive. As long as you understand what's going on and can explain it if challenged, I see no reason to accept arbitrary limitations on tooling.
+2  A: 

For a "lighter" Eclipse environment for PHP, go to and pull the package down from there.

Then head over to, click on the link for the current stable downloads and pull down the JavaScript IDE plug-in to add on as well. (No need to get the core, it's already in the PHP download.)

That's interesting; do you mean the one under Incubated Components?
Robert Grant
That's the only one there, so, yep.

eclipse FTW

Scott Evernden
+3  A: 

NetBeans 6 is fantastic because it supports pretty much all the languages you're likely to use for web development.

The JavaScript editor is just amazing; it highlights errors as you're typing, just like you may be used to when editing a static language such as Java. Given that there's no compiler to validate your JavaScript, this is a huge time saver.

It also itegrates with all the popular SQL databases.

People who last tried NetBeans at vesion 5 or earlier should really give version 6 a look. The product has transformed since then.

David Easley
I agree with that last bit - Netbeans 6 is so far ahead of the other versions it's ridiculous.
Robert Grant