Microsoft provides a free set of entry level developer tools called Visual Studio 2008 Express Editions. However, as far as I can tell, out of the box they do not support the languages I tend to use: PHP and Ruby (and starting to refresh my Python memory recently). Eclipse never appealed to me (never liked the UI and workflow). So, I took a look at NetBeans IDE 6.1 for the first time earlier this month. There’s a big 183MB installer for Windows that supports Java, C/C++, Ruby as well as a smaller 16MB Early Access for PHP plugin. I tried out the PHP edition and was surprised how fast it was (compared to my Eclipse experience on the same Core 2 Duo notebook running Windows Vista) and how well it seemed to work with PHP code. The fact that I liked what I saw in NetBeans IDE 6.1 surprised me since I tend to be old school and use vi or nedit when working on a Linux system.
It got me thinking though that Microsoft should provide some resources to the Visual Studio team to develop a Visual Studio Express Edition for IronPython and IronRuby.