Developing software applications is a complex and time-consuming task due to the varying stages of development that require different tools. A survey of 14,000 developers found that inadequate development tools are a significant challenge that they faced in 2022. Keeping such figures into consideration, organizations must consider the impact traditional development platforms such as command line tools and text editors have on a developer’s performance. 

Such tools, due to their lack of automation, debugging, and execution functionalities can negatively influence a developer’s productivity. Due to such factors, top iOS development companies have implemented integrated development environments (IDEs) for creating iOS applications. Research has shown that Apple has the third largest IDE market share when the market is segmented based on operating systems. 

Apple’s market share in the IDE market servers is a testament to why these tools are growing in popularity. Among many others, Swift remains the most reliable option for iOS app development. Using an IDE for Swift allows developers to access all essential tools under one framework. However, before implementing IDEs for iOS app development, organizations must understand IDE and its functionalities in-depth. Let’s take a look at understanding an IDE and the pros and cons of the top seven IDEs for Swift.

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Understanding IDEs

An IDE (Integrated development environment) is a tool used for developing software applications. Using IDEs allows programmers to efficiently develop software applications. It helps increase their productivity because, unlike traditional tools, IDEs allow developers to access standard developer tools under one interface. Although one IDE’s specific functionalities and capabilities may vary from the other, they generally consist of development, automation, and debugging. 

IDEs perform development functionalities by using a source code editor that can assist programmers as they write code. Such editors have various features that include: 

  • Syntax highlighting through visual cues.
  • Language-specific auto-completion. 
  • Checking for bugs as the code is being written. 

These features help programmers increase collaboration and write error-free codes. These tools are also equipped with automation capabilities. This helps ensure that repeated development tasks such as compiling source code to binary code, packaging binary code, and tests are automated. 

This allows developers to allocate more time to writing code than performing redundant tasks. Lastly, these tools are equipped with a debugger that can allow developers to test programs and identify the location of bugs in their source code. 

Type of IDEs

IDEs can be classified into different types. These classifications are based on various factors and are as follows:

  • Multi-language IDEs provide support for more than one language and are essential when programmers are in the exploration stage. 
  • Mobile development IDEs are becoming increasingly popular as the efficiency of application developers increases. 
  • Cloud IDEs are best suited for organizations that use a cloud-based development process. 
  • Language-specific IDEs provide support for only one programming language. 

Regardless of their type, they allow developers to increase their productivity and have several benefits. Using such tools eliminates the need for configuring multiple development tools. It also helps businesses to standardize the development process throughout the organization. In addition, these tools come equipped with various help topics, which allow developers to learn and educate themselves continuously.

Using IDEs For Programming and Development

The dynamic changes in the technological landscape and user demands necessitate using IDEs for programming and development. Programmers who use traditional development platforms must manually configure and integrate each platform to ensure that their programs and applications are at par with user demands. Using an IDE eliminates such problems, as IDEs include standard development tools for writing and testing code. 

IDEs do not need to be manually configured or integrated. Their vast array of tools and capabilities, such as intelligent code completion and automatic code creation, allows organizations to speed up the development process. In addition to identifying bugs as the code is being written, IDEs monitor memory usage and hard disk space to ensure that the end product meets its operational metrics. 

Although using an IDE has numerous benefits, there are several factors that businesses must consider before their implementation. Some of the many factors that businesses must consider before implementing IDEs include security management, required coding techniques, and developer capabilities. 

7 Best IDEs For Swift Developers

Swift is an open-source general-purpose programming language that Apple designs. The programming language can be used for developing software applications for iPadOS, tvOS, watchOS, and iOS. Swift is strongly influenced by python and serves as a replacement for traditional C-based languages. Some of Swift's most popular software applications include Lyft, WordPress, and LinkedIn. 

Using Swift has numerous benefits, such as cross-platform support, dynamic libraries, and an open-source community. Swift is a competent standalone programming language for organizations. However, they can drastically improve their developers’ productivity using an IDE for Swift. The seven best IDEs for Swift developers are discussed below. 



XCode is critical to Apple development and is a highly productive IDE for Swift. It’s used for building applications for various Apple products, including the iPhone, iPad, Mac, and more. The platform is integrated with the Cocoa and the Cocoa Touch frameworks and has various built-in features that enable a smooth and efficient workflow. In addition, the trial version and the XCode IDE are free of cost. 


Among many other benefits is the XCode’s Assistant Editor tool. This feature allows developers to view useful resources during the current coding process without interruptions. This feature can be used to view search results for the code as well. In addition, this IDE for Swift allows developers to test their code regardless of the target device. 

This allows programmers to identify bugs, navigate the application’s interface, and measure quality. In addition, XCode also has a native interface builder that allows developers to create UI mockups that can be used for testing the code in a simulated environment. It also allows developers to fix coding errors using keyboard shortcuts. 


Similar to all others, XCode also has a few drawbacks. One of its major drawbacks is the code changes required when shifting from one version of iOS to the other. Despite its capabilities, this IDE for Swift lacks an auto-complete feature. This means that the IDE will only highlight part of the code with errors. 

In addition, XCode can malfunction when exporting app packages and archives without providing any alerts or warnings. It consumes a significant amount of computer memory when operating multiple tabs. Such consumption may lead to a system crash or IDE becoming unresponsive.


AppCode is an IDE for Swift used to develop iOS and macOS programs and applications. In addition to providing support for multiple programming languages, AppCode can be integrated with other development tools such as CocoaPods, Jira, and Subversion. Programmers considering using the IDE can opt for a free trial version or an individual monthly plan that costs $8.90. 


AppCode is equipped with capabilities that allow it to analyze code structures. This allows developers to have a seamless code refactoring experience. In addition, this IDE for Swift also has a configurable user interface and supports various testing frameworks that include Google Test, Kiwi, and XC Test. 

The such testing capability allows developers to efficiently analyze test results and optimize code accordingly. One of its distinguishing features is that it provides both over-the-call and online support. All these features help programmers to adopt a streamlined approach to application development and allow them to produce error-free code. 


Although AppCode is an excellent IDE for Swift, it has a few drawbacks. Programmers have reported that the platforms lack the required tools for integrating advertising codes and videos. In addition, the IDE lacks cross-platform capacity and has a significant learning curve that needs to be overcome.  

Since AppCode is specifically made for macOS and iOS app development, the platform can not be used on a Windows computer. In addition to such drawbacks, developers have reported that AppCode’s debugging capabilities are not at par with other alternatives. Lastly, this IDE has significant loading time and resource consumption. 



CodeRunner is another great programming editor that can be used as an IDE for Swift. It offers high-quality code completion features and can be used to run code in 25 languages. In addition, the IDE can operate projects with multiple files without needing a manual setup. The lightweight IDE can be downloaded from its website or can be bought for $19.99. 


Programmers using this IDE for Swift can avail of various benefits. It has tons of editing features and over two hundred syntax modes. In addition to its auto-completion feature, CodeRunner has built-in bug identification capabilities. This allows developers to identify errors while coding and helps them produce error-free codes. 

One of the main benefits of using CodeRunner is that programmers do not need to use print statements for debugging. Its native debugging features allow developers to set breakpoints throughout the code. Meaning that they can explore the stack, interact with the debugger, and edit variables in a seamless manner. 


Although CodeRunner is a competent IDE for Swift, it does have a few drawbacks that organizations and developers must consider. Since it’s a lightweight programming editor, it’s unsuitable for complex projects. Some developers have cited slow updates as a significant drawback of the platform. 

In addition, its pricing is also seen as a negative among those who want to use the tool to advance their knowledge and skill set. Another drawback that makes it a less preferable option is that it does not provide debugger support for languages such as Apple Script. Lastly, users have reported CodeRunner’s support time is slightly extensive and is often seen as a drawback. 

Visual Studio (VS) Code

Visual Studio

VS Code is one of the more predominant platforms used as an IDE for Swift programming. The IDE combines the capabilities of a source code editor with powerful development tools. It’s a free, open-source platform that can be used for Windows, Linux, or macOS. Although it has many benefits, the platform also has a few drawbacks. 


Similar to all others, VS Code has various features that help make programming and development seamless and more efficient. It uses IntelliSense to enhance its autocomplete capabilities. This allows developers to ensure code completion based on function definitions, variables, and imported modules. 

In addition to enhancing the coding capabilities, the VS Code comes with integrated Git controls. This allows programmers access to greater speeds and supports non-linear workflows and data integrity. In addition, the platform is frequently updated, allowing developers to use the latest development tools available. 


One of the significant drawbacks of VS Code is that it’s meant to be a lightweight platform and therefore doesn’t compare to Visual Studios with regard to its capabilities. VS Code has a comparatively slower launch time than its competitors. In addition, the platform is not fondly known for memory consumption. 

It can cause problems when multiple instances are operated. Those looking to use this IDE for Swift will encounter a few problems as the platform does not come with native support for the language. Programmers must search for and install an extension for VS Code that allows them to use the IDE for Swift.


Sublime Text

SublimeText is a minimalist cross-platform editor that can be used as an IDE for Swift. This IDE is packed with many features, including auto-completion and support plugins. Those considering this platform can opt for a free trial or a free version. In addition, developers can opt for a personal version priced at $80. Organizations considering this platform will be required to pay yearly fees changed by the number of seats. Although prices are $65 per seat for the first ten seats, they decrease if businesses need additional seats. 


SublimeText supports multiple programming languages and allows developers to receive real-time alerts about parsing errors. Its users created variables and code folding developers to view larger pieces of code in a compact and easy-to-understand manner. This, in turn, results in a coherent programming experience that helps developers produce error-free code. 

It has other great features and benefits, making it a feasible IDE for Swift. SublimeText includes a highly efficient search feature that allows developers to easily navigate files, lines, or symbols. In addition, its command palette ensures that developers have access to quick keyboard invocation for arbitrary commands. 


SublimeText, similar to all others, does have a few drawbacks. The platform does not have a major development team, so updates and fixes are released as frequently as developers might expect. Another drawback of the platform is that it is mostly suitable for experienced users and is not a beginner-friendly option.

Among all other drawbacks, developers have stated that SublimeText can improve its cross-platform integration and pricing mechanism. Those considering using the IDE for Swift will need to manually download and install the Swift-Sublime-Package using the platform’s package control. 


CLion is another cross-platform IDE for Swift. Although the platform is primarily designed for C+ and C++, it provides support for other programming languages. It can be integrated with other tools, including Clean-Tidy, CMake, and ValgrindMemcheck. Developers considering using the IDE can opt for a free trial version. The individual version is priced at $8.90 per month for the first year. However, organizations opting for the corporate version will have to pay $19.90 per month for the first year. 


Similar to other major IDEs, CLion features a smart code editor. Using the feature, developers can decode and analyze the code. It also allows developers to have automatic code completion about predefined guidelines. In addition to highlighting errors, this IDE also provides suggestions that can be used to make corrections. 

CLion is not limited to a permanent interface and allows programmers to customize it per their requirements. It also has a built-in UI that can be connected to initiate remote GDB or local processes. It can be used as an audit program to identify team members who made changes to the existing code. 


Despite its features and capabilities, developers and organizations must consider its drawbacks. Although this is a great IDE for Swift, it does not feature a built-in compiler and has limited Makefiles support. In addition, the IDE can only be operated on 64-bit systems, and its CMake tool is incompatible with older projects. 

Although it supports multiple languages, it requires users to download and install Swift plugins manually. CLion can become slightly unresponsive when working on large projects. Lastly, the functionality of some libraries can be hindered if programmers use an integrated terminal. 


Atom is an open-source text editor that programmers can use as an IDE for Swift. The editor has been developed by Gifthub and is a suitable option for both beginners and expert programmers. It is a desktop application developed using HTML, CSS, Node.js, and JavaScript. Atom offers online support to developers, is suitable for both iOS and desktop platforms, and comes free of cost. 


One of the main benefits of using this IDE for Swift is its automatic completion feature. This allows programmers to write code in a more timely and efficient manner. In addition to its developing capabilities, Atom comes with four user interface (UI) themes and eight syntaxes that are pre-installed on the system. 

It also allows developers to create their own themes or install additional ones from the Atom community. The IDE has a vast array of features; however, only a few are activated by default. This entails that developers have additional flexibility with regard to customizing the editor. 


Despite its astonishing capabilities, the editor does have a few drawbacks that organizations must consider. Some of its features need to be installed via extensions, meaning that developers may witness fluctuations in speed. In addition, some other drawbacks of Atom include its lack of ability to import key bindings from other editors and extensive memory consumption. 

Although it’s a feasible option for programmers, users have cited its electron framework as the core reason behind the tool’s lack of speed. Some programmers have reported that Atom does not provide a complete IDE experience because it does not allow access to the terminal and lacks high-quality IntelliSense.  

Key Takeaways 

IDEs have become a necessity for developing software and applications. These development platforms have various features that enable developers to have coherent development experience. Some of these features include auto-completion, debugging, and built-in GUIs. 

However, before finalizing an IDE for Swift, developers must consider whether the IDE provides native support for the language or requires an additional plugin. Developers and organizations must also consider several other factors. These factors include compatibility, memory consumption, and pricing schemes. Feel free to reach out to us if you need expert advice on choosing the optimal IDE for your organization.

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David Malan
Account Manager
A specialist in the field of market analysis in such areas as software development, web applications, mobile applications and the selection of potential vendors. Creator of analytical articles that have been praised by their readers. Highly qualified author and compiler of companies ratings.

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7 Best IDEs For Swift Developers: Find The Right IDE for Your App