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What's the best Perl IDE?

by cosmicperl (Chaplain)
on Sep 17, 2007 at 01:59 UTC ( #639314=perlquestion: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??
cosmicperl has asked for the wisdom of the Perl Monks concerning the following question:

Hi All,
  I've been coding Perl in TextPad on Windows for the last few years. This is just an advanced text editor, certainly not something geared up for working with Perl. I was on ActiveState today and see that they now offer a free Perl IDE called Komodo Edit. I also came across

As you guys generally know what's what and the best of everything, I was wondering what you guys are using, what's free, what isn't and what's best.

I'm sure if I start using a good IDE then my coding speed will be improved.

Lyle Hopkins

Update: I now use Komodo IDE and Padre for all my Perl coding. I find Padre is ideal for the Learn Perl course that I run.

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re: What's the best Perl IDE?
by kyle (Abbot) on Sep 17, 2007 at 02:46 UTC
Re: What's the best Perl IDE?
by erroneousBollock (Curate) on Sep 17, 2007 at 02:33 UTC
    Komodo Edit isn't really an IDE, but it's starting to look like a pretty good editor. IIRC it doesn't have perl debugger integration, but it does have Vi/Emacs key-bindings and support for XPI-based plugins.

    You could probably put together a fairly reasonable environment with a lot of work.

    ActiveState also make Komodo IDE which does contain a lot of Komodo Edit's missing features (but you must pay for them).

    I don't think that Komodo IDE has Visual Studio's edit-and-continue style debugging (that's probably extremely difficult to do with perl).

    IIRC Komodo IDE also doesn't have any sort of GUI designer.


      I suggested you to use epic Komodo IDE Perl Builder PSPad

      I wish vi fanbois and emacs die-hards stopped recommending them as Perl IDEs. They are editors, as much as you love them. They don't have debuggers, stack tracers, variable watching, breakpoints, regexp builders, or anything that makes up a real Perl IDE.

      That said, Perl IDEs are listed at

      There are two serious paid Perl IDEs:

      • Komodo IDE. I've been using it and it works. Debugging is slower than in Eclipse+EPIC, but it does remote debugging. Development on Komodo is clunky (they still haven't implemented basic features like moving panes around, or tooltip variable evaluation, although users have been begging for them for years).
      • Optiperl - I used it in 2006 and it was pretty good. I liked the tooltip evaluations and the cool background highlight of the blocks. But displaying complex data structures in the Watches pane was a mess: hashrefs can't be expanded and some display "REUSED_ADDRESS" instead of the actual hash; arrays of hashrefs were numbered in a totally idiotic way. For that reason, I stuck with Komodo. However, it's been 4 years since. Optiperl does remote debugging too, albeit with some issues. Its latest version, however, dates from February 2008, and it doesn't do Unicode. Komodo, by contrast, releases new betas all the time.

      The two serious free Perl IDEs are Padre and Eclipse + the EPIC plugin.

      I compared Komodo vs. Eclipse and stuck with Komodo because of its remote debugging capabilities.

      Padre is still immature but the good part is that you can improve it, since it's written in Perl, unlike EPIC (written in Java).

        > emacs die-hards stopped recommending them as Perl IDEs. They don't have debuggers, stack tracers, variable watching, breakpoints, regexp builders, or anything that makes up a real Perl IDE.

        Can't talk about vi but for emacs thats just FUD.

        Could you please at least try googling before making such bold statements?

        BTW: The Regex-tool in Komodo is Python based, with all incompabilities.

        Cheers Rolf


        UPDATE: perldb



Re: What's the best Perl IDE?
by bruceb3 (Pilgrim) on Sep 17, 2007 at 03:22 UTC
    I don't really know what the best Perl IDE is. What is your criteria?

    Speaking only for myself, UNIX is my IDE of choice. It has all of the tools that I need and it seems relatively straight forward to extend.

    'The UNIX programming environment is unusually rich and productive.'

    -- The UNIX Programming Environment.
    Brian W. Kernighan
    Rob Pike

    You might say that I am biased.

      This is a 4-years-delayed question. But, can bruceb3 or someone else explain what bruceb3 means by "UNIX as IDE"? I get that
      • nano, emacs, and vi are text editors
      • you can run your perl script from the a terminal window, run smaller versions of the code, etc. to debug
      What else?


        I can't speak for bruceb3, but what I do is this: I have a set of text consoles (bash) open. The top-left one is where I display documentation (man, perldoc), the upper-right one is where I have an editor open (vim), and the bottom screen is the compile/run screen. It's much like an integrated GUI, but I have the flexibility of window placement and tools in each window. The advantage is that I can do the same thing on nearly every system I use, irrespective of the OS running on it. While an integrated GUI may have "smart" interactions between the screens which you may miss, I normally find most of the "helpful automations" in them more a distraction/hindrance than a help.

        +----------------+------------------------------------------------+ | Help window | Text editor (large font) H | small font | H | | H | | H | | H | | # | | # | | # | | # | $ perldoc perlf| H +----------------| H | Compile/Run | H | Window | H | small font | H | | H | Error msgs and +------------------------------------------------+ | line numbers show up on left/bottom H | # | # | # | # | $ # +-----------------------------------------------------------------+

        Then I just choose the window I want, use the up-arrow to choose the command I want and press Enter. Once you're set up with a little history, then you can cycle through your windows pretty quickly and get through projects quickly.

        I normally have the other monitor set up with a similar set of windows with a home-grown database viewer and alternate windows for less-common operations.

        Update: I use vim as my editor in the editor window, so I often write little perl scripts to edit the currently-selected block of text (such as filling out column names with formatting in SQL, adding code snippets, reformatting, etc.) without leaving the editor. It doesn't give you all the features that IDE users have, but considering that you write your own scriptlets, you get what you *want*. For example, in my DB query tool, I've added row and column filters, column and table nicknames, variable substitution, etc., so I can do some fairly complex queries with very little typing.


        When your only tool is a hammer, all problems look like your thumb.

        To add something to the "what else":
        • It's the same IDE regardless of language. I use a forest of xterms with editors in some, manual pages in others, and tests/runs in yet another set. Whether I code in Perl, C, shell, SQL, LaTeX or something else. I even do mail that way, although usually I don't have a need for manual pages, or test runs.
        • I haven't had the need to change my IDE for the past 20+ years or so. That's right. I spend *0* time learning IDEs the past 20 years. Whether I use Solaris, HP-UX, AIX, Linux or CIGWIN. It's just a matter of untarring a bunch of dotfiles and maybe installing a package or two and it just works. (Ok, so I learned how to use RPMs in the past 20 years -- but I had to do that anyway).
        • The most basic components of my IDE (vi + man) are just on every platform I've ever worked on (is it POSIX compliant? You get vi and man). Install the OS, and you have them. I can have the core of my IDE up and running even before the install CD has stopped spinning.
Re: What's the best Perl IDE?
by Popcorn Dave (Abbot) on Sep 17, 2007 at 03:41 UTC
    On Windows, I use a combination of the context text editor in combination with the Perl Tk Debugger. Context does syntax highlighting and it's free.

    Revolution. Today, 3 O'Clock. Meet behind the monkey bars.

    I would love to change the world, but they won't give me the source code


      I used to use Context until it started displaying weird behavior. It would pop up weird messages that gave the impression of a viral infection. Lately, I've started using Notepad++ along side of Nedit under Unix and Cygwin.


        Well, I've never had problems with ConTEXT on Windows, so I give it the thumbs up.

        You can assign F9-F12 to whatever you like: Running perl programs with or without "-c" or "-d:ptkdb", as the previous poster said. And you can assign "hot-key" macros to print out bits of code you type often ("use strict/warnings;" or to provide a module template*).

        ConTEXT works with plenty of languages too, so will highlight your C/HTML/Python/SQL/CSS files nicely too. It's nice and fast, I always feel as if IDEs for perl (tried Komodo, Oasis, and several others a while ago) are slowing me down but maybe I have to look at them again (it's been a while since I looked).

        I didn't find all these things in Notepad++. Zeus looks interesting though, has some IDE-like things that ConTEXT doesn't have, lists of classes files, a workspace window.

        * and yes I know module-starter and h2xs will do that on the command line ..:)

        Interesting. I've used it on both WinXP and Vista but never seen that behavior. But I'll definitely be watching now.

        Did you have the latest version?

        Revolution. Today, 3 O'Clock. Meet behind the monkey bars.

        I would love to change the world, but they won't give me the source code

Re: What's the best Perl IDE?
by Hercynium (Hermit) on Sep 17, 2007 at 15:24 UTC
    I know this topic has been covered before, but in the spirit of helping, I'd like to offer my $.02 in this thread.

    I've tried all sorts of different editors and IDE (and semi-IDE) tools and on Win32 have settled down with two:

    EPIC for Eclipse is excellent, especially with the debugger integration. There are still some rough edges, but that's only when compared to Eclipse's Java integration. Most of my big projects are done using EPIC. I heartily reccomend it to all Perl devs, especially if you already like Eclipse.

    For light-weight day-to-day use, I prefer Notepad++. It's a programmer's text editor using Scintilla as it's core. It's fash and relatively light on resources. It supports function/module browsing, (detects user-defined subroutines!) code folding, excellent syntax highlighting, and is overall very pleasant to use. However, it's default configuration needs tweaking for the best experience. Also, it's search/replace regex engine leaves much to be desired... however, there are a number of good plug-ins to help with that and you can configure external tools like perltidy or launching a shell, etc...

    Of course, all editor and IDE preferences are subjective, and can depend on your workstation, problem domain, mood, and shoe size.
      Try out Optiperl under win32 - I'am a newb to perl and found it very convinient to use in many ways - though it is 59.00 USD ...

      some of its features:

      # Complete emulation of a real server - scripts can be run indirectly from html documents.
      # Live preview of the scripts in the internal web browser.
      # Feature packed editor with syntax highlighting.
      # Completely integrated debugging with live evaluation of expressions, watches, breakpoints, flow control. Remote debugging of scripts located on your web server.
      # Code completion, and hints while programming. Automatic syntax checking. # Box and line codin
      g give a better view of your code. # Saveable desktops.
      # Code librarian that supports ZIP files and code templates.
      # Context sensitive help on core perl and module documentation.
      # Powerful query editor to create the environment and data sent when calling CGI scripts.
      # Many tools like URL Encoder, Perl Printer, Pod Viewer and others.
      # Projects to organize and publish a set of scripts.
      # Version converter to handle non supported perl functions in windows.
      # Opening, saving and running scripts on remote servers. # Printing script and exporting as HTML with syntax highlighting.
      # Searching and replacing with regular expressions in projects and files.
      # Extremely versatile user tools. You can create perl code to integrate with the editor. CVS support.
      # File and FTP explorer.

      I heartily concur on both points. I use EPIC for eclipse for big projects, not just for the debugger (which is handy) syntax highlighting, code completion etc. but also because it comes with CVS already integrated, and its very easy to set up SVN integration which is what I use (w00t! version control!). Plus its free and works on both linux and windows environments. For developing on windows I use Notepad++ as well (I don't believe there is a linux version), and on linux I use emacs.
      I echo the above reply.

      On windows I use notepad++ when i want to be quick and eclipse with th epic plugin for more serious work. I keep meaning to install eclipse on linux but haven't got round to it.
Re: What's the best Perl IDE?
by Joost (Canon) on Sep 17, 2007 at 19:43 UTC
      I second that!!!
Re: What's the best Perl IDE?
by rvosa (Curate) on Sep 17, 2007 at 07:02 UTC
    My initial disclaimer is that this is largely a matter of taste and of experience with any given IDE (especially w.r.t. coding speed). That said, I like Komodo IDE the best for perl per se, but have recently been doing quite a bit of java coding as well and have therefore settled for eclipse with e-p-i-c, which is very good too.
      I would second eclipse. I've been using it for Java and PHP for a few years now so Epic was a natural choice for me when I decided to learn Perl. There is a vi plugin available for Eclipse if that is your kind of thing.
Re: What's the best Perl IDE?
by mihal (Initiate) on Jun 01, 2008 at 06:47 UTC
      For an editor (for perl and in general) I would recomend geany (, it's available on both Linux and Windows, support lots of languages, and it's free.
Re: What's the best Perl IDE?
by Anonymous Monk on Apr 16, 2009 at 00:37 UTC
    Get a good text editor and then Strawberry Perl. When your ready to try a file just type "perl <directory_here>/<filename>.pl" and it will interpret the file.
      To me there is no better than IDE VIM. But I highly recommend the Padre_ for beginners.
      To me there is no better than IDE VIM.
      But I highly recommend the Padre for beginners.
        Komodo IDE beyond doubt.
Re: What's the best Perl IDE?
by Anonymous Monk on May 06, 2015 at 11:37 UTC
    I use Geany.

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