You have been using the Salesforce GUI or Developer Console for writing custom codes and that is okay for lightweight development. But for heavy development work, you need a professional IDE that offers features like integration with source control, syntax highlighting, auto-completion, debugger, offline editing, etc. Here is a list of popular Salesforce IDEs to choose from.

(Tools, that I personally use or have used and recommended are marked with a heart)

1. Visual Studio Code with Salesforce Extension ()

  • One of the most popular IDEs for Salesforce Development and my favorite
  • Provides features for working with development orgs (scratch orgs, sandboxes, and DE orgs)
  • Prerequisites include VS Code Version 1.26 or later, Salesforce CLI, Salesforce DX Project, Java Platform, Standard Edition Development Kit 
  • Free 
  • Blog Post: How To Get Started with Visual Studio Code for Salesforce

2. Developer Console

  • Create, debug, and test applications in your Salesforce org
  • Perform tasks such as Debugging and Troubleshooting, Editing and Navigating Source Code, Testing and Validating Performance, Executing SOQL and SOSL Queries
  • Includes a command-line for various useful commands
  • Free

3. Welkin Suite

  • Provides powerful features for increased development productivity and comfort
  • Offers Point-and-Click development possibilities
  • Debugging Options, Development and Comfort, Lightning Component Support
  • Paid plans start from US$ 12.50/month (Free 30 days trial)

4. Illuminated Cloud

  • Brings the modern feature set of JetBrains’ powerful IDEs
  • Intelligent auto-completion for all Salesforce programming languages and metadata types
  • Recognizes issues in your code and offers suggestions for how to correct them
  • With its refactoring capabilities, own and evolve your Salesforce code
  • Paid plans start from US$ 90/year for Personal license

5. AWS Cloud 9

  • Cloud IDE for writing, running and debugging code
  • Includes a code editor, debugger, and terminal
  • Automatic bidirectional sync of code from Salesforce to IDE, though no deployments to different orgs
  • Requires AWS EC2 instance
  • No separate charge except for the cost of running the AWS EC2 instance
  •  Video (3:36 mins) – Introduction to AWS Cloud9

Don’t see the tool of your choice listed here? Please feel free to mention it in the comments below for other readers’ benefit.

Want to see a list of more of such useful resources & tools under different categories? Please do take a look at the resources page.