5.2: Integrated Development Environment

Exam Board:


An IDE (Integrated Development Environment) provides programmers with the following facilities (tools) to help create programs:


The editor is software that allows a programmer to enter and edit source code.

Editor features may include:

  • Automatic formatting (e.g. automatic indentation).

  • Automatic line numbering (this helps to identify exactly where an error has occurred).

  • Automatic colour coding (e.g. Python turns loop commands orange and print commands purple).

  • Statement completion (e.g. offering to auto-complete a command as the user is typing.)


Links together pre-compiled code from software libraries. For example the import random command in Python links to the random library.


Pre-compiled code is loaded into RAM to be executed.


Identifies errors in the code with the exact line of the error to help fix the problem.

Break point

The programmer selects a specific line and the program displays the variable value at that point.


The code can then be executed one line at a time to find exactly where the error occurs. This process is called single-stepping.

Variable Watch


Displays the current value of a selected variable.

A variable can be watched line-by-line to see how the value changes


Memory Inspector

Logs the values of variables and outputs of the program as the code is executed line by line.

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Displays the contents of a section of memory and how it is being used by the program.

Error Diagnostics

Displays information about an error when it occurs, such as the line it occurred on and the error type (e.g. syntax or runtime). This helps the programmer to fix the error.

Specific errors can be detected such as a syntax error. See 10.3.

Compilers & Interpreters

Both tools convert the source code written by a programmer into machine code to be executed by the CPU.


A compiler converts the entire source code into executable machine code at once. After compilation, the program can be run again without having to recompile each time.

An interpreter converts source code into machine code line by line. An interpreter must reinterpret the code each time the program is required to run. See 8.1 for both tools.

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Questo's Questions

5.2 - Integrated Development Environment:

1. Describe the purpose of each type of IDE facility:

  • a. Editor

  • b. Interpreter

  • c. Compiler

  • d. Linker

  • e. Loader

  • f. Debugger

  • g. Break point

  • h. Variable Watch

  • i. Trace

  • j. Memory Inspector

  • k. Error Diagnostics   [2 each]

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