I've heard so much about Textmate - The Missing Editor for Mac and that it is the best one for Ruby.

What is your choice?

And what is the best Ruby editor on Windows?


+5  A: 

I use and love Textmate.

However, a colleague of mine has been jumping all over vim with a Ruby on Rails plugin that does syntax hi-liting and all manner of magic.

I think with proper training, though, the macro-system in textmate can allow for near as efficient keyboarding as vim.

On Windows, I use TextPad ( It has lots of plugins that I like. It very quickly can search for text in entire directory trees and has some very nice memory management (open a 30MB file in Notepad vs. Textpad and you'll see what I mean!!)

Matt Rogish
TextPad has never been free. There's a trial version but you're supposed to cough up $30 to use it after that.
Huhm, guess I've been ignoring the nag screen. Never noticed that it wants me to pay!!
Matt Rogish
+5  A: 

SciTE is the one that comes with the rubyforge installer which has worked fairly well for me.

Scott Hanselman has a updated version of Notepad2 which supports ruby syntax highlighting.

And don't forget Ruby in Steel and NetBeans if you're looking for a more full fledged IDE.

Jason Navarrete
+3  A: 

The One True Editor, but only if you have time to futz with it. There are ruby- and snippet-modes available, but you have to configure them yourself.

Ben Straub
+25  A: 

For me, on the Mac it definitely has to be TextMate.

You may want to check out the TextMate clone for Windows, E-TextEditor.

I just picked up TextMate last weekend, the layout of the file drawer is really nice for Rails projects. However I really dislike the lack of auto-formatting options and auto-complete.
James McMahon
nemo - TextMate does have various auto-format and auto-complete options. The auto-complete isn't quite like Visual Studio -- but I'm not sure that makes sense for Ruby anyway
Since I posted this, TextMate (at least for me) has been well and truly surpased as the best editor/IDE for Ruby and Ruby on Rails work by RubyMine. I've switched and haven't looked back.
The only problem with TextMate is its inability to handle national encodings (cyrillic in my case). Not only it's inconvenient, I find author's argumentation on this subject inadequate (if not insulting): he doesn't believe there're so many people in those countries willing to pay for his product.
Nikita Rybak
@Nikita: To be fair, the author needs to pick which features to implement when (assuming his list of features is long enough that he can't just do all of them). In picking the order to implement them in, he needs to take into account the ones that will result in the best ROI and. If he feels many other features will result in more sales then encodings, then that's a valid reason to bump that one down the list.
+26  A: 

I love Vim with rails.vim and snippetsEmu to get TextMate-like bundles.

VI has additional benefits. It's on almost every Unix/Linux distro by default, Windows has a decent GVim implementation and MacVim is great. The plugin ecosystem is thriving. Put your .vim/ and .vimrc into dropbox, and you one one environment available on every computer you have.
Additional VI plugins that will assist you in Ruby development:- NERD_tree, Project window- fuzzyfinder_textmate, emulates TextMate's fuzzy finder- vcscommand, in-VI source control management- dbext, in-VI DB access tool
+5  A: 

IntelliJ is good for doing Ruby and Rails development. The included subversion diffing tools are fantastic.

+14  A: 

I've spent (wasted?) a lot of time in the last few years, and gone through them all (including Jedit, e-text editor, Aptana, Scite, FreeRide to name a few) looking for the perfect editor.

And I have now ended up back with the absolute basics. All I need is syntax highlighting (with a colour scheme that's easy on the eyes) and a folder view for my project inside the editor.

So I use GEdit in Linux, pimped using this guide, and Notepad++ in Windows (also sometimes in WINE in linux) Notepad++ syntax colouring is easy to modify from within the program and my syntax scheme is available here

Now instead of testing and playing with editors I actually write code :)

ouch. I should follow this .

+1 for E

It does more bugs than most other editors I've used, but taking those into account, I think it still comes out ahead of any of the other editors I've used

Orion Edwards
+2  A: 

For me: The eclipse plugin for programming ruby (RDT).

+8  A: 

NetBeans 6.1+ is actually very good for Ruby. It has a decent syntax highlighted editor that does its best to understand your code, highlighting syntax errors and offering fixes for certain classes of problem (but you can turn those off). You can ctrl-click on identifiers to leap to the definition (most of the time) and there's decent completion.

Aside from the editor, it has decent support for running and debugging your apps.

Just tried netbeans, and it is indeed very good. The only problem is it's laggy and oh so slow :-(
Orion Edwards
+1  A: 

I have heard good things about komodo.
Its not free, but neither is textmate.

Komodo has a free version that is actually pretty good. I've used it for Perl project and been very happy. It allows you to script macros in JavaScript or Python, does syntax highlighting and completion as well as can be done for dynamic languages.
I also like Komodo Edit(free version). I use it for both Ruby and Python, and the syntax highlight and autocomplete is pretty good for both of them. I haven't tried the pay version though.

Try Notepad++. It has a lot of usefull features along with colorer and intellisense. And its free.

+2  A: 

Try Aptana Studio. It's a big shot indeed as it is Eclipse based but it's full blown with features, syntax highlighting, code completion and refactoring support.


You gotta try vim.

+4  A: 

Hey for running and debugging ruby scripts better use "Ruby in Steel" this is better IDE you can use with Visual Studio 2005/8 and next you can try Eclipse and Netbeans IDE.. Just see the link for your refrence

Creative Thoughts

Textmate is nice, although it's only available on OS X and it's not open source. I find customizing it to be easy, up to a point.

However, I've been using NetBeans for a few months for Ruby and have grown to love it. Its syntax checking and navigation abilities are great. The plugin community is large, and for mixed projects (JRuby with some Java), I can't imagine using something else.

Clinton R. Nixon
As a few people have noted, E is a Textmate clone for Windows:
Walt Gordon Jones
+2  A: 

Activestate, they make Komodo which is really good, they also make a free variant that is just as powerful in all aspects, except for pro debugging and such.

It is Called Activestate Edit. Quite good.

Coda from Panic on Mac is also quite good, especially given that you can do remote edits just like it was local, even over ssh and weird ports. I wish Textmate would have that feature. But as a ruby on rails editor, there is just Textmate and E-Texteditor.

Trausti Thor Johannsson
I'm trying Coda, looks nice... TextMate still wins, though...
Fábio Batista
I prefer textmate when doing Ruby and XML and Javascript, but I actually prefer Coda when doing Perl and PHP. Coda is not good with Ruby and TextMate is not good with PHP/Perl. I need both
Trausti Thor Johannsson

Even if you pick a GUI as a primary editor(I prefer Textmate, or GEdit dressed up as Textmate) you should spend some time getting to know one of the simple command line editors like VI or Nano. You really don't want to be trying to get to know a new editor while you're debugging something over an ssh connection. Nano is readily available in most package management repositories and has onscreen hints about what commands are available.

Aaron Lee

I have tried a lot of windows editor, but for the moment I settled on PSPad. It supports highlighting for ruby, rails and rhtml almost out of the box. It is reasonably lightweight, allows for ineditor file browsing, has limited autocomplete capability.

Though it is only distributed through an installer, you can actually copy the directory and have it run anywhere without installing it.

It can be found here : PSPad

+3  A: 

Emacs has syntax highlighting and code completion for Ruby and Rails. It is also rad.

If you want to be a programmer for the rest of your life, and you want to have an editor you can take to any platform, vi and emacs are for you. VI is easy to learn and simple to use. Emacs is difficult to learn, but incredibly powerful to use.

Adrian Dunston
+2  A: 

For a full IDE, Netbeans is great. The debug power is awesome. Textmate is also nice for text editor only.

Scott Holden

Coming from the java/intellij world, I needed a more full-featured ide for my development. I have found netbeans to be the ide that fits my rails development the best. It offers common things like syntax highlighting, autocomletion, ability to run rake tasks, and an integrated debugger.

Todd Johnson

I've tried a ton of editors then started using TextMate since it came out. Since then, I've occasionally tried others, but have always come back to TextMate. The bundles system awesome, it's quick start-up time and non-bloated-IDE feel have me convinced it's the best, most productive editor for Ruby available.


I tried all the IDE style tools, and Sun's NetBeans has the best Ruby support by far. It also has good debugger support. But, in the end I reverted to TextMate because all the IDEs are built in Java and just run slow. I never noticed it so much when doing Java work, but it really bugged me after doing Ruby for a while. The native tools are just a lot faster and my expectations for speed came to match that experience.

Michael Latta
+26  A: 

NetBeans from Sun, with the Ruby package. Syntax highlighting, auto complete, debugging support, unit test support. Plus it's multiplatform and free.

I did not see your answer, just after I post it... sorry
This looks great thanks!
I was using NetBeans on OS X and had endless problems with the syntax highlighting. I am back with Textmate now.
Toby Hede
Which version. I am currently using NetBeans on OS X and have never noticed issues with syntax highlighting.
+1 to this. As an update to those who stumble across this older post, Netbeans on OSX feels much more Mac-like since Netbeans 6.7 was released.
Matt Garrison

I just love NetBeans, and because they have full support for Ruby, I would give you NetBeans as my recommendation.

+4  A: 

I use TextMate on my Mac. It does a pretty good job as a general purpose editor, and works well with Ruby. It does syntax highlighting, etc, and has a file explorer built in. So if I have a rails project in a directory called MyWebSite, from the command line I just type:

mate MyWebSite

TextMate opens up with its built-in file explorer showing all of my project files. I love that feature since so much of Rails takes place on the command line anyway.

Jason Jackson
+2  A: 

Aptana provides all the things you're looking for. If you've already used Eclipse, you should feel right at home.

+18  A: 

There are several discussions on this very subject here on SO:





Might want to check these out.

Thanks for the links, I did not see those when I searched before submitting the question.

I used Aptana for about a year before I switched over to E Texteditor. It's like Textmate for windows.


Has anyone tried 3rdRail by CodeGear. Looks pretty nice.


I'm a Textmate guy, but also recommend JEdit and VIM Ruby/Rails bundles.


emacs, run fast from eclipse and eclipse based IDE's. my experience has been huge memory leaks in the jvm when using them.

Mark Lubin

BBEdit, especially now that verion 9 is out (better project support, non-modal find, diff-by-character).

I tried (briefly, I admit) using TextMate, and I could see how strong it was as an editor, but in the short time I was using it the anti-aliased text drove me nuts. Sure, the text display settings can be changed, but though I put some effort into switching to Monaco 11pt non-anti-aliased, I could not get it to not look like ass. In the end, this was mostly due to the default profile's use of boldface and italic text, which looked horrible when anti-aliasing was turned off. There may be an easy way to go through and remove that kind of text styling in one step, but I couldn't find it, and I didn't want to deal with manually tweaking the profile to exclude it.


Zeus does syntax highlighting and code folding for the Ruby language.


I have recently started working with Ruby on Rails. One thing I like about RoR is that you don't have to be tied to any specific IDE to be productive. You can start working with any text editor which you have experience with. As I have been developing on Windows platforms for long time, i have explored all different text editors from notepad2, notepad++, pspad, programmer's editor, textpad, editpad, editplus, e-text editor. My favorite text editor so far for any programming and text tasks is notepad++.

In recent months, I am starting to use VIM. Initial learning curve is steep (if you are windows person). but as you learn and configure VIM the way you like it, it will become center piece of your development.

Specifically for Ruby, get VIM with RubyonRails plugin. Don't forget to download NERDTree for better file explorer in VIM.

Aptana Studio community edition is best if you require IDE.

Hope this helps.


Preface: all these are my personal opinions

On Mac

  • TextMate is probably the best in terms of pure editing for Ruby. I like the command and the inteface.
  • I love to use Panic's Coda, however, when I'm working remotely on our dev/staging servers. It's simply an amazing product for managing several different projects/servers at a time.

On Windows

  • Notepad++ has everything you will ever need for anything ever. Great syntax highlighting control, tabbed windows, split panes, great selection of plugins covering everything from generic text transformations to a hex editor and diff-style document comparisons. If I could marry it I would.


  • vi. 'Nuff said.
Coda is expensive, but pretty sweet!

Emacs with ruby-mode is my favorite. It's available for Linux, Mac & Windows and is my personal IDE for all programming languages I've worked in for the last 6+ years. Emacs can be intimidating at first (goofy keyboard combos for all the commands), but once you've passed the "beginner" stage via tutorials, you wont go back.


On windows I use Aptana with the Radrails plugin, but the best way to go is to get a Mac and Textmate.

+12  A: 

Rubymine is the latest addition to IDEs.


for what its worth, i am developing on Vista at home, and XP at work.

I was using Notepad++, but i have recently changed to SCITE, and i find it great for Ruby.

Ive also begun using Emacs, difficult to begin with, but useful too.


This will depend on your style of coding.

If you like Java style with full IDE and in-editor debugging, Aptana with Radrails works pretty well on Mac/Windows. It also has the added bonus of having lots of helpers built in, so it makes it easier to get started.

Personally though, I love Textmate (for mac; I used E before that on Windows). It loads super fast, and can run tests easily with great syntax coloring and useful code completion. If you want to do the whole debugging thing you can still use "debugger" rather than just checking off a line like with Aptana. If you're using something like Autotest for testing though, this makes a lot more sense than a full IDE.


I currently use NetBeans on a MAC and haven't had any issues at all. Speed hasn't been a problem for me. If you don't like NetBeans, JetBrains has just released RubyMine (see: RubyMine is a pretty cool IDE, but I don't see any reason to switch from NetBeans, as someone wrote, RoR is IDE-Agnostic, so pick what you like best and keep it movin'...


On Windows : E

On Linux : Vim

On Mac : TextMate

Yoann Le Touche

I toggle between the Ruby-Enhanced version of Notepad2 and Sapphire Steel depending on what project I work on.

Philippe Monnet
+1  A: 

For Windows? Really, don't bother with E-TextEditor... it's a nice idea and a good feature set (thanks to TextMate!), but it is waaaay too buggy.

Since getting a recommendation from a Twitterite, I switched to Sublime Text ( and find it delightful.


My choice for Mac is definitely TextMate.

For Linux i may use Vim or Gedit.


I use NetBeans at work and e at home. I've considered switching to RubyMine, has anyone tried it?

Matt Grande
I've used both, and while I was very comfortable using Netbeans as a time, it didn't work so well when using non-out-of-the-box Rails functionalities. I switched to Gedit, until I tried Rubymine. The support for these things (rvm, haml, cucumber, etc...) is great, or at least you can count on people working more actively on it.

We are using Netbeans 6.5 or later for our Scrumpad project and its working great for us. I would definitely recommend Netbeans for ruby or rails projects.


First of all, I would strongly advise against Rails development on Windows. It will be very painful. You will want to spin up a Linux Virtual Box at the very least. As for IDE you really can't be Vim in my opinion. Especially with the right set of plugins. I have been very fortunate to work with Tim Pope who writes a lot of the plugins out there for Vim. I have a tutorial on setting up Vim for Rails development on my blog.

Adam Lowe
+1  A: 

If you are looking for a IDE I suggest you try out at least netbeans and rubymine. Both are great IDEs.


I use aptana radrails bundle. Its free, fast, and easy.

I also use notepad++ and Scite


Textmate 2, if it ever comes out... ;P

Kristian Mandrup

macVim(or gVim) + Project plugin + snipmate plugin + awesome colorscheme = heaven for any project!

Cody Frazer
+2  A: 

There's an open source Ruby-based text editor being advertised on StackOverflow at the moment called Redcar. Look at the screenshots and you can see it supports Rails.

woooo redcar :) Check out the sort lines functionality. I MADE IT!! :)