Are there any IDEs targeted at shell scripting, specifically bash and zsh scripts? This means having syntax-highlighting for shell scripts and more importantly debugging environments with features like breakpoints, variable inspection and modification, etc., just like those available for regular programming languages like Python, Java, and C.

For instance Microsft Windows Powershell has IDEs like Powershell Plus and PowerGui.

Googling brought up a combination of ShellEd, an Eclipse plugin for editing shell scripts, and BashEclipse, a Bash debugger that works with ShellEd; I haven't tried it yet.

Are there any other shell scripting IDEs for Un*x similar to this combo? Does anyone have some experience with them?

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    I did not downvote but whoever did, did so because you are not asking a question. The only question in your post can be answered with a Yes/No. What are you actually asking? How do these programs work? What they do? What are you trying to do exactly?
    – terdon
    Commented Mar 8, 2014 at 22:48
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    A bash IDE? Nuclear fission to boil water for tea...
    – jasonwryan
    Commented Mar 8, 2014 at 23:00
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    Actually, having a bash debugger is a very good idea -- just as with any programming language, your code will be better if you step through each line in the debugger slowly, examine the variables, think about what the code is doing, etc. A debugger is the best way to do that, even if your program or script doesn't have bugs. You can get bashdb in most distributions, which will allow you to do that in text mode. Also, the aging DDD graphic debugger can be made to work with bashdb so you have a more "visual" experience.
    – Stabledog
    Commented Mar 9, 2014 at 5:59
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    Yes, certainly one can do that. And many do, and that's how they get by for years. If that suits you, I wouldn't try to convince you otherwise. In my opinion, its an inferior approach that taxes the brain with low-value tasks (like mentally keeping track of the values of variables, etc). The idea of a good debugger UI is freeing up those cycles for thinking about the program. In my experience, this matters -- you have more attention free to focus on thinking about what the program is doing if you're spending less of it on such things.
    – Stabledog
    Commented Mar 10, 2014 at 20:20
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    For those of us with electric kettles or ranges in the US or Europe, a good part of our baseload electrical generation is supplied by nuclear power plants, so when we boil water for tea, we are using nuclear fission, at least partially. Commented Aug 20, 2015 at 0:48

8 Answers 8


I wouldn't say it is either well known or well used but you might have a look to basheclipse:

enter image description here

I must admit I have no experience with basheclipse and even failed to install it due to an eclipse version mismatch.

On the other hand, I'm using bash and ksh93 specific debugging features, especially the trap ERR and trap DEBUG ones but not the debuggers based on them kshdb and bashdb

  • I find it rather ironic that your screen-shot is of a Windows-style window. Commented Mar 10, 2014 at 17:54
  • @NigelNquande To be honest, I'm not a basheclipse (or eclipse for that matter) user. I definitely use debugging features provided by ksh93 and bash, but no GUI. This screenshot is taken from the basheclipse site. It might be some gnome theme or just a real Windows 7 screenshot given the OS="cygwin" line.
    – jlliagre
    Commented Mar 10, 2014 at 21:11
  • Well, IMO, if you're going to do something, do it with boots on, not half-aed (but that's neither here nor there to anybody else). To me, bash on Windows seems half-ased when it works perfectly well in GNU/Linux. Commented Mar 10, 2014 at 21:15
  • @NigelNquande As I wrote, this isn't a screenshot of mine. In any case, I only use bash on Windows when I have no choice and cygwin is quite efficient to hide the underlying OS.
    – jlliagre
    Commented Mar 10, 2014 at 21:33
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    @user7000 I wrote and even failed to install it due to an eclipse version mismatch but I don't remember what eclipse version it was. Is is documented to work with Eclipse 4.5.2 though: sourceforge.net/projects/basheclipse/files/?source=navbar
    – jlliagre
    Commented Dec 13, 2017 at 7:55

A purpose-built IDE would sort of defeat the purpose of shell scripting, not to mention that it's nearly impossible to do, because most of what shell does is calling external commands - how do you debug that? Debugging with checkpoints is counterintuitive for a shell - shell scripts usually operate heavily on files and thus have destructive side-effects on every call. Scripting BY DESIGN works line-by line, so your "environment" is actually the terminal itself - you can always echo variables, your environment is always there for you, there is no "prescribed flow" that you would have to interrupt. You progressively do whatever you want to do, line by line, testing each time if you got what you wanted and then paste these lines into a script to use again. Any IDE would actually just disable most of what you can do in the shell itself.

For fully qualified scripting languages (Python, Perl etc) you do have all this, but bash/zsh/ksh/... are interactive "glue" for other commands and are their own debuggers.

However, most text editors will highlight the code for you, and emacs will (provided you find the right packages, I never bothered with doing that for shell scripts) provide programmable keyword completion. I believe vi can do that as well (don't start a flamewar here please).

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    How do you define a "fully qualified scripting language?" Commented Dec 19, 2015 at 4:44
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    @TrevorSullivan in his own way. Don't, please, give into the hate.
    – Det
    Commented Nov 6, 2016 at 21:36
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    @Det: It was a legitimate question -- if we can't all agree on a common, concrete definition of the phrase, then we might as well not have a discussion about it. I'm just curious what is meant by that phrase. Commented Nov 7, 2016 at 17:59
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    I don't agree IDEs defeat the purpose of shell scripting. You might want to clean up your shell scripts (e.g. inline extraneous variables, detect unused variables - which is what I'm trying to do in cleaning up my System V Init scripts which are getting unnecessarily long especially when duplicated from existing examples). Commented Dec 12, 2017 at 23:55
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    I would also add that and IDE provides intellisense or other tools so I don't have to keep googling or looking at man pages to remember some stuff. It also allows me to keep all my scripts together in a project, step over lines, inspect incoming arguments, test loops and switches, break apart a pipe for inspection, etc.
    – cjbarth
    Commented Dec 22, 2017 at 15:09

Rogalmic wrote VSCode plugins for bashdb and zshdb.

They are based on my debuggers for bash and zsh, so they handle a lot of the edge cases that are lacking in say the eclipse debugger for bash.

  • It's cool and saved me a lot of money.
    – DawnSong
    Commented Jul 9, 2022 at 5:00

I also endorse the idea of using an IDE for bash scripts.

One can write bash scripts using the jupyter notebook.

The jupyter notebook can be installed via anaconda while a bash kernel for jupyter notebook (or jupyterlab) can be installed with the following commands (source):

pip install bash_kernel and

python -m bash_kernel.install

After that, you can select bash on a new launcher instance of anaconda navigator, as shown below.

The only thing is that (as far as I know) it does not work with commands that you have to input to the prompt, such as read or any other argument that you pass after calling the script. But other than that, it works pretty well.

enter image description here


I know this is very late for this thread, but there are options available now.

From MasteringUnixShell.net:

Sublime Text: Sublime Text has many powerful features that makes coding painless. It has all basic features mentioned on this page and many others like: multi-select (hold CTRL and put mouse cursor in another line), creating your own snippets(lines of code that repeat), minimap(zoomed view of entire file).

Atom: Atom is developed by Github so it supports Github integration. It is often called "hackable IDE of 21st century", so you could easy customize almost everything. Cool visual extension is "Power mode", every time you hit a key, editor does a little move, like you hit the screen.

Geany: Geany is lightweight IDE, aims to provide fast development environment. Features: filebrowser, save actions( autosave, instantsave, backupcopy), split window.

Kate: It is pre-installed text editor in Kubuntu. Some of useful features: embedded terminal, SQL plugin, find and replace, syntax highlighting, bracket matching, auto backup, auto completion with argument handling.

I'm just trying out Geany, having given up on ShellEd and BashClipse.

Hope that helps someone also looking.

  • I'm a late adopter and am beginning to regret it after seeing how good Atom and Sublime are. Autocomplete (for Bash, even for Java), Minimap, Git status. I need to serious re-evaluate whether I should be using Eclipse. Commented Aug 22, 2022 at 9:53

encountered this issue my self , mean that I searched for bash script IDE , there is a lot of plugins on populare IDE just like eclipse and many other. but find it lots of work dealing with IDE's just to build small bash scripts. in the other hand working with editors cause lots of syntax errors and waste of time , not to mention it's not fun at all.

so I found a online bash script tool for building scripts , it's called http://bashops.net , it's online , immediately can start working on building bash script , without getting busy in any installation.


I would like to suggest PyCharm Community edition with BashSupport plugin. This has excellent IDE functionalities with intellij intellisense.

  • Unfortunately, BashSupport has been retired. And the BashSupport Pro has a monthly subscription.
    – Ashark
    Commented Jul 1, 2021 at 10:02

Try this site. I'm also looking for the same thing and I want to be able to test the script first and not affect my system. This is an online editor for bash.


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