Alex Marshall Alex Marshall is a marketeer, web developer and designer. He also likes retro technology, classic cars and in his spare time enjoys travelling.

What we love and hate about Java IDEs – IntelliJ IDEA

1 min read

Last time I took a look at the Eclipse IDE, in the continuation of a series of articles about integrated development environments (IDE) and what we love and hate about them, this time in the third article in the series we take a look at IntelliJ IDEA.

What is IDEA?

ideaIDEA also known as IntelliJ IDEA is a Java IDE by JetBrains, and is available for download in two forms, one which is a community edition and is based on an Apache 2 License and commercial edition.

It is often simply referred to as “IDEA” and is a premier IDE (Integrated Development Environment) for Java, Groovy and other programming languages such as Scala or Clojure.

IntelliJ IDEA Community Edition is mainly used on Java, XML and Groovy code applications, or doing Swing development, and includes various features such as refactorings and code inspections, coding assistance, debugging, TestNG and JUnit testing frameworks, popular version control systems integration with CVS, Subversion and Git support, and integration with Ant and Maven build tools.

The Ultimate edition comes with Enterprise technologies which support  Java EE, Spring, GWT, Struts, Play, Hibernate, Google App Engine, OSGi and others, there is also support for HTML, JavaScript, CoffeeScript, CSS, integration for templating engines with a variety of supported languages, with refactoring capabilities: ActionScript, PHP, Groovy, Scala, Python/Jython, Ruby/JRuby, Clojure, features that are not available in IntelliJ IDEA Community Edition.

IntelliJ IDEA is capable of Deployment and debugging with servers like Tomcat, GlassFish, JBoss, Weblogic, WebSphere, Geronimo, Resin and Jetty.

What we Love about IntelliJ IDEA

  • Great for code completion, It will even find matches within methods, for example typing .numb will show all methods, for example .getNumber(), .setNumber().
  • You get what you pay for! (IDEA isn’t cheap if you purchase the Ultimate Edition).
  • Very clean GUI useful for quickly hiding and showing only what you need to look at.
  • Global and local history is very useful for going back in time for a particular file to when it worked (Awesome!).
  • Very powerful at refactoring.
  • Inbuilt static analysis.

What we Hate about IntelliJ IDEA

  • Its Pricey,  It’s a little expensive if you want the Ultimate Edition.
  • The support for mercurial could be better.
  • Regularly It see errors logged in the error log. Doesn’t seem to have any effect on the IDE, but not what you would expect from a £153+vat piece of software.
  • There aren’t many Plugins available.
  • Does not fill in new Unit test classes.

Next time I will be looking at the NetBeans IDE in the series of What we love and hate about Java IDE’s.

This post is part of our “NetBeans article Index” series. In these articles, we aim to explore NetBeans in different ways, from useful hint and tips, to our how-to’s, experiences and usage of the NetBeans IDE.

In the meantime why not tell us What IDE’s you use? and what you love and hate about it.


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Alex Marshall Alex Marshall is a marketeer, web developer and designer. He also likes retro technology, classic cars and in his spare time enjoys travelling.

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