But long before that would ever happen, Microsoft’s developer tools and environments started humbly with the MS-DOS-based command-line utilities and basic text editors of the 1980s. But thanks to Borland and other competitors that innovated with integrated developer environments (IDEs), Microsoft’s developer offerings matured quickly to match these increasingly sophisticated offerings. And by the end of the decade, the firm offered a variety of DOS-based IDEs for assembly language (MASM, the Microsoft Macro Assembler), C and C++ (Microsoft C and Microsoft C/C++), BASIC (GW-BASIC, QBasic/QuickBASIC, Visual Basic), and other languages (like Pascal and Fortran).
IDEs were important then for the same reason they are today: They allowed developers to write, build, and test their applications from a single place rather than requiring them to drop out of an editor to the DOS command line to compile, build, and test. IDEs offered simple integrated commands for these tasks, and over time, they offered ever-more-sophisticated aids to make software developer easier and less error-prone.