I admit, I’m an old die-hard. I prefer using vim and a makefile. Whenever I do Arduino development the Arduino IDE kills me. From the very beginning when it opens up this tiny little window, to the horrid multi-document interface, and finally to the end when I have an error, and the error message displayed below has absolutely no clue on what the problem really is.
You could take the obvious approach, and code with something like Notepad ++ or Sublime Text (or vim! VIMMMMMMMMM!!!) or you can hit the middle-ground. Enter Arduino for Visual Studio / Atmel Studio. Having used both Visual Studio and Atmel Studio (which the new Atmel Studio basically is Visual Studio….) I can say it’s not too bad. It’s a plugin for VS/AS and it’s free (not free and open source, but free for your personal use). I recommend grabbing Atmel Studio 6.1 that way if you want to do some bare metal coding on atmegas/avr’s you can go that route too.
I won’t go too far into the specifics, but you just install Atmel Studio 6.1, then the plugin. From there you load your sketch and enjoy a better working environment that is not too bad. (Still doesn’t beat vim!) Oh and BTW when you install the plugin, don’t be alarmed by the 30 day trial notice, that is for their debugger not the actual plugin.
If you need more of a visual aide, I found this video by humanHardDrive who shares my despair of the Arduino IDE, and he is showing some of the features of using this combo. Of course there are plenty of other tutorials and videos on the visualmicro site.
Do yourself a favor, seriously.