The Force.com IDE is a powerful client application for creating, modifying and deploying Force.com applications. Based on the Eclipse platform and built on the Tooling API, the Force.com IDE provides a comfortable environment for programmers familiar with integrated development environments, letting you code, compile, test, package, and deploy all from within the IDE. Much of the actual work, such as compilation, happens on the Force.com platform—the Force.com IDE performs the communication and result parsing transparently.
The Force.com IDE is open-source. You can download the source code on GitHub. We look forward to seeing how the IDE develops as the community tinkers with it!
Apex Code The Force.com IDE is the only tool you need to write and manage Apex classes and triggers. The Force.com IDE locates syntax errors, and its Apex Test Runner executes unit tests and integrates error messages, debug output, and code coverage reports. Learn more about Apex.
Visualforce Create and edit Visualforce pages, components, static resources, and controllers. Learn more about Visualforce.
Application Components Download and edit all metadata components available in the Metadata API. Create Eclipse projects containing definitions of your Force.com schema, tabs, applications, and more! Edit these components directly in the IDE and changes are saved back to your organization automatically. Learn more about Metadata.
Development Lifecycle Develop and test your project against a Sandbox or Developer Edition organization, then deploy the finished application into your production organization with the Deploy to Server wizard. Learn more about Enterprise Development.
Online Project Mode Keep your local metadata files up to date with your Salesforce organization and easily detect and resolve conflicting changes.
Schema Explorer View your Salesforce organization's schema and construct and execute SOQL queries from within the Force.com IDE. Similar to the Apex Explorer, the Schema Explorer shows information about all standard and custom objects and fields.
Code Share Apply Force.com application lifecycle management best practices through integration with any Eclipse-enabled version control system. Teams can now collaborate on the development, testing and deployment of their PaaS applications.
The Summer '14 (Force.com IDE v30.0) contains the following updates.
See the Force.com IDE Release Notes for a full description.