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What is your favourite "lite" IDE that is free?

Ajith Kallambella
Sheriff

Joined: Mar 17, 2000
Posts: 5782
Ok, I am not looking for those be-all-do-all IDEs which are resource hogs( Eclipse, JBuilder, ...). I am not looking at plain-dumb no-clue-what-java-means editors either. What's your favourite IDE that falls somewhere in between these two extremes?
JEdit, TextPad...
Please qualify your response by saying why you think it is cool. Seriously, I am evaluating a strategy for using a lite IDE team-wide for a team size of about 50+. We do have one of those be-all-do-all IDEs, but let's just say we also need something lighter and quicker...
[ March 07, 2003: Message edited by: Ajith Kallambella ]

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Paul Stevens
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 17, 2001
Posts: 2823
JCreator Pro.
It has all of basics. It has code completion. It has templates. You can create projects if you want. You can create multiple configurations with separate JDK to build your apps. The interface can be adjusted somewhat to your own taste.
It is inexpensive and lightweight. It is fast.
There is also a free version which basically doesn't have code completion.
Andy Bowes
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 14, 2003
Posts: 171
Take a look at Gel Gel Home Page. It is written in Delphi for the windows platform so it is actually a native code application, therefore v fast and v slim.
This Java editor is seriously lite ~3Mb and pretty fully featured (including code completion, source control integration, support for HTML & JSP, syntax highlighting etc ). Best of all it is totally free.
I tend to use IDEA from IntelliJ myself but that is neither lite nor free. However it is worth every penny in my opinion down to the amount of refactoring and intelligence that is built-in.
[ March 07, 2003: Message edited by: Andy Bowes ]

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Les Hayden
Greenhorn

Joined: Jun 19, 2002
Posts: 28
I agree with Paul. I looked at a few shareware / freeware systems and decided to use JCreator. I even shelled out the $$ to buy the pro version.
Why:
Easy to install and use. This is important to me because I teach at a local community college and I needed something the student's could use without intefering with learning Java.
Simple interface. See above. After they learn how to use javac and java, they can easily tranfer to the JCreator environment to compile and run simple applications.
With the pro version I can define additional file formats to edit.
Why not:
As near as I can tell, it doesn't work with J2EE. However, I haven't tried that yet.


Les Hayden
Frank Carver
Sheriff

Joined: Jan 07, 1999
Posts: 6920
I haven't tried several of the suggestions here, but currently I make a lot of use of TextPad.
Advantages are that it knows about a lot of file types, including java, can install itself on the "right-click" menu to open files direct from the explorer, and can save projects (or "workspaces", as it calls them). It also doesn't get "in your face". Lots of Java IDEs seem to fill the screen with boxes, tabs, icons and other screen furniture leaving only a keyhole to see the code through; TextPad give plenty of space for the most important feature.
Disadvantages are that the free version has a nagging popup when it starts, and it's not quite as Java-aware as some. The version I use also has an annoying bug where it can lock up (losing all unsaved edits) if you right-click and try to open a file inside it's own file open dialog.
I used to use (and really like) Kawa, but unfortunately later versions introduced more bugs than features, and it was eventually sold on and de-supported.
[ March 07, 2003: Message edited by: Frank Carver ]

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Paul Stevens
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 17, 2001
Posts: 2823
Gel is pretty neat. But it is still in beta. Some of the defaults didn't seem to be chosen very well. They are easily configurable though.
Simon Harvey
Greenhorn

Joined: Nov 23, 2002
Posts: 13
I use textpad alot as well. Its a great wee editor and the fact that it instals itself on the right click menu is a real help.
Having said that though, I'm assuming that by quick you mean quick to load and work with? If thats the case then textpad is great. It loads in under a second on my machine and the popup is very inconspicuous and doesnt bother me at all. its gone in three seconds anyway and its not like it takes over the screen.
If however you're talking about reducing development time, I wouldnt be going into battle withou a visual debugger. Although Syste.outs have their place, using it as your sole debugging tool is a but limiting. Its somewhat like insisting that you dont what to see the crime as it happens - you only what to blanket your code in out statements and then somehow infer what happend by any clues you can see after the crime - completely unecessary if you ask me
Good luck
Simon
Frank Carver
Sheriff

Joined: Jan 07, 1999
Posts: 6920
If however you're talking about reducing development time, I wouldnt be going into battle withou a visual debugger
This intrigues me.
Do you really have to deal with enough complex run-time bugs to justify using a debugger? I'm not trying to be facetious here, I have honestly never felt the need to use a debugger for Java.
When I have used debuggers in the past (to catch memory leaks in C/C++, for example) I have found them extremely irritating; stepping in and out of stuff and messing around with breakpoints and variable watches seemed so slow and repetetive compared with just adding an extra unit test or two, running the test suite and seeing what fails.
What features of an interactive debugger do you use, and how much time do you think they might be saving you compared with a more programmed approach?
Ashik Uzzaman
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 05, 2001
Posts: 2370

I tried UltraEdit, Notepad, Textpad, JEdit, Code-Genie, IntelliJ and finally stick with Textpad as lite IDE. The reasons I identified -
  • Very lite and quick
  • Beutifier support
  • Strong support for regular expressions
  • Support for multiple programming and scripting languages (almost all)
  • Support for Macro (I don't use though)


  • I use Sun One Studio, Community Edition as heavy-weight IDE.


    Ashik Uzzaman
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    In my opinion there is no better IDE dan IntelliJ, it's simply the best.
    Max Habibi
    town drunk
    ( and author)
    Sheriff

    Joined: Jun 27, 2002
    Posts: 4118
    After reading this thread, I tried Gel. Have to say, I'm very impressed.
    M, author
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    Frank Carver
    Sheriff

    Joined: Jan 07, 1999
    Posts: 6920
    For those of you who have recommended Gel, can you explain a bit more about why/what you like about it?
    I just installed it and was disappointed by the way it filled the screen with wierd, large empty "browser" windows, leaving only a tiny area in the middle for editing. It didn't appear to be a particularly "lite" IDE.
    I have now uninstalled it after finding that it uses absolute file names in its "project" files. This is a real problem for me as I routinely work on projects stored on removable media (which appear as different drive letters on different machines) and access my projects over a network (which may be mounted on different drive letters).
    Gel didn't even allow me to change the location for a file, but instead asked me if I wanted to remove it from the project every time I tried to do anything.
    So far I have found that TextPad and Eclipse can use sensible (relative to the project file itself) file names in their project files - does anyone know of any other editors or IDEs which do this too?
    Andy Bowes
    Ranch Hand

    Joined: Jan 14, 2003
    Posts: 171
    Hi Frank
    IDEA 3.0 also allows you to define projecvt paths that are relative to the project directory rather than having absolute values.
    As I mentioned earier in the thread it is my IDE of choice as I find it basically just works in the same way as I think . It's refactoring capability is second to none IMHO and I really like being able to restructure the classes/package structure without having to manually find all of the references.
    I am a bit disappointed that you weren't too impressed with Gel. It's basically lite in terms of it's memory footprint and it's cost on your pocket (i.e $0) and I find it runs v fast. I was amzed to find so many features in such a small download.
    I have a large screen to develope on so all of the tabs & other panels still leave me with a reasonably sized text area.
    I think the choice of an IDE is very much down to your own personally preferences and you need to find the one that suits you so that you can be as productive as possible.
    Thomas Paul
    mister krabs
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    Joined: May 05, 2000
    Posts: 13974
    Originally posted by Frank Carver:
    Do you really have to deal with enough complex run-time bugs to justify using a debugger? I'm not trying to be facetious here, I have honestly never felt the need to use a debugger for Java.
    I guess you never had to work with someone else's code! I have had programs with bugs in them that were written by some guy that left six months ago. The visual debugger allows me to step through the code to see what exactly the code is doing. I can examine the contents of variables without having to stop and put in more print statements. I have found it useful just for examining program flow on programs that are confusing. Maybe you never work with other people's code or maybe you only work with well written programs that are clearly documented so this might not make sense to you.


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    Frank Carver
    Sheriff

    Joined: Jan 07, 1999
    Posts: 6920
    Maybe you never work with other people's code or maybe you only work with well written programs that are clearly documented so this might not make sense to you.
    I wish! :roll: It's actually quite the reverse. My job is almost always to go in and fix/improve/add-to a large body of existing code, typically designed and built by people learning on the job and trying to jam in as many buzzwords as possible. The first step is always to understand at least the part where I need to make the initial changes.
    I guess the difference is that I prefer to get the code in question "on the bench" to work out what it does, rather than trying to do it in situ. First I put together an ant build script (most projects I get called in to work on have an ad-hoc or clumsy manual build process); then include some simple JUnit tests as part of the build; then add tests to the JUnit suite for each bit I work on, as I work on it.
    I've discovered over several contracts that this puts me "in the fast lane" compared to the other developers who often have to completely build/deploy/restart whole large applications before they can laboriously try and find out if their code works using logfiles and debuggers. I find the vast majority of my faults at build time, and the rest are mainly requirements misunderstandings or look-n-feel.
    Maybe there's a difference in the type of applications we work on. I tend to work on web/servlet/JSP/database middleware stuff, often with a lot of connections to (and depdendencies on) other machines. Perhaps my approach is more suitable to this kind of work?
    [ March 10, 2003: Message edited by: Frank Carver ]
    Paul Stevens
    Ranch Hand

    Joined: May 17, 2001
    Posts: 2823
    Originally posted by Frank Carver:
    For those of you who have recommended Gel, can you explain a bit more about why/what you like about it?
    I just installed it and was disappointed by the way it filled the screen with wierd, large empty "browser" windows, leaving only a tiny area in the middle for editing. It didn't appear to be a particularly "lite" IDE.
    I have now uninstalled it after finding that it uses absolute file names in its "project" files. This is a real problem for me as I routinely work on projects stored on removable media (which appear as different drive letters on different machines) and access my projects over a network (which may be mounted on different drive letters).
    Gel didn't even allow me to change the location for a file, but instead asked me if I wanted to remove it from the project every time I tried to do anything.
    So far I have found that TextPad and Eclipse can use sensible (relative to the project file itself) file names in their project files - does anyone know of any other editors or IDEs which do this too?

    All those windows are configurable. In fact I closed almost all. That is how it will come up next time. As I said the first time there is alot of little setup stuff to get it how you want but it does remember them. From Ajith's original question. It didn't sound like projects was what was needed. Just a free java editor. So all comments made are from that view.
    Ajith Kallambella
    Sheriff

    Joined: Mar 17, 2000
    Posts: 5782
    Thank you all for your feedback. I'm not sure if I made it clear in my original question - we already have a full-scale IDE however, we also need a "lite" version that is preferably Java aware.
    Many of these developers are people who travel and hence use laptops 90% of their time for development purposes. We are considering standardizing all tools/products for the development box and hence the search for a low-cal IDE.
    Barry Gaunt
    Ranch Hand

    Joined: Aug 03, 2002
    Posts: 7729
    For "trying things out", protyping, education, evaluating simple java expressions I use BlueJ as an alternative to Eclipse.
    It's got a debugger, and simple editor. And it will soon have JUnit capability. It's not perfect, hangs sometimes, but it's lightweight and fancy free.
    I almost forgot, you can just create standalone instances of classes and invoke their methods, and there's visual representation of class relationships ( is-a, has-a ).
    [ March 11, 2003: Message edited by: Barry Gaunt ]

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    Thomas Paul
    mister krabs
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    Joined: May 05, 2000
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    Originally posted by Frank Carver:
    Maybe there's a difference in the type of applications we work on. I tend to work on web/servlet/JSP/database middleware stuff, often with a lot of connections to (and depdendencies on) other machines. Perhaps my approach is more suitable to this kind of work?

    Actually, I do the same kind of work and I find in those cases that the IDE doesn't help me much. But I also do a lot of batch processing stuff and for that I find the debugger very helpful.
    Chris Mathews
    Ranch Hand

    Joined: Jul 18, 2001
    Posts: 2712
    Personally, I don't think I could live without the Refactoring capabilities of many modern IDEs. In this capacity, nothing comes close to touching IDEA. I could do the Refactorings by hand... but why?
    I do like to have a decent text editor around for quick changes. UltraEdit is my current favorite. I tend to do most of my JSP work within text editors.
    Like Frank, I am not too keen on debuggers but to each their own...
    [ March 11, 2003: Message edited by: Chris Mathews ]
    Paul Stevens
    Ranch Hand

    Joined: May 17, 2001
    Posts: 2823
    Originally posted by Ajith Kallambella:
    Thank you all for your feedback. I'm not sure if I made it clear in my original question - we already have a full-scale IDE however, we also need a "lite" version that is preferably Java aware.
    Many of these developers are people who travel and hence use laptops 90% of their time for development purposes. We are considering standardizing all tools/products for the development box and hence the search for a low-cal IDE.

    If you just want an editor that does java highlighting (among others) Context is also nice. I still like JCreator for simple editing. Gel seemed to be nice after you configure it.
    prashant patel
    Ranch Hand

    Joined: May 02, 2000
    Posts: 69
    Gel - Having used the little IDE my opinion - has more features than textpad,editplus and other editors, highly recomended where the pc as less memory, provides good integrated support for version control and a decent code completion, has a good base for more improvments.


    prashz
    Zulfikar Dharmawan
    Ranch Hand

    Joined: Feb 01, 2002
    Posts: 74
    For heavyweight IDE, i use WSAD for Linux
    For lightweight IDE, i use vi


    Zulfikar Dharmawan
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    Joel McNary
    Bartender

    Joined: Aug 20, 2001
    Posts: 1815
    I really like TextPad as a lite editor. The right-click-in-explorer, regex search-and-replace, block-selecting, and line sorting have been huge time savers for me when writing java code. I liked it so much I paid to register it. (The reminder to register when saving files got just a little too annoying.) Pity it's only a Windows utility.
    I, too, use SUN ONE CE as my heavy-editor.


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    javatool
    Greenhorn

    Joined: Jan 05, 2003
    Posts: 6
    why not try JawaBeginer?
    It is lite and powerful.
    http://www.pivotonic.com
    Rich Vick
    Greenhorn

    Joined: Dec 01, 2004
    Posts: 2
    I am looking for a new editor/IDE/debugger (yes I use them) and will be looking into a couple of those suggested. But I'm beginning to suspect that my long tiome favorite (SlickEdit) will not be replaced anytime soon. It does code completion and finds references and definitions etc. and it is not a resource hog like Eclipse or Sun One.

    My perspective may be unusual on this board as I am developing for embedded applications (the embedded entities and host-side applciations that work with them).

    I just decided to stop evaluating Eclipse and suggest a new name for it - OBTUSE.



    RichYank


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    Santosh Mishra
    Greenhorn

    Joined: Oct 13, 2004
    Posts: 1
    Try EditPlus..Its great editor only and Java aware.

    Thanks
    Jeanne Boyarsky
    internet detective
    Marshal

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    140

    "Rich Yankee",
    We're pleased to have you here with us in the IDEs forum, but there are a few rules that need to be followed, and one is that proper names are required. Please take a look at the JavaRanch Naming Policy and adjust your display name to match it.

    In particular, your display name must be a first and a last name separated by a space character, and must not be obviously fictitious.

    Thanks,
    Jeanne
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    Jeroen Wenting
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    Joined: Oct 12, 2000
    Posts: 5093
    After using a lot of different IDEs and editors over the years I've settled to JBuilder, Eclipse and VIM.

    Eclipse is nice but slow, JBuilder is very nice, and VIM is the universal editor available on all platforms with minimal overhead and very fast editing features once you get to know it.

    Took to using Eclipse mainly because I couldn't afford to upgrade my JBuilder at the time and at that time Borland didn't allow use of their free versions for commercial purposes.
    Now that they do, Eclipse is sitting more or less idle


    42
    Rich Vick
    Greenhorn

    Joined: Dec 01, 2004
    Posts: 2
    Thanks Jeanne and Jeroen.

    I updated my profile so you can see my real-looking name, and I downloaded the JBuilder Foundation version.

    My previous experience with\ JBuilder was that it built code that could only be executed in the IDE (it was the personal edition, a few years ago) and that made it useless for my purposes.

    The only disappointment I've had thus far with the Foundation version is that when I installed the documentation, the IDE still couldn't find teh samples etc. - but I also later found teh PDF's. I think this docmentation will be good enough, especially since the tool is free.

    Thanks again - I'll try not to be too offensive
    Jeanne Boyarsky
    internet detective
    Marshal

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    140

    Rich,
    Thanks for updating your display name.
    Jeroen Wenting
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    I think if you couldn't run code outside the IDE that's because you used the Borland specific GUI packages which have by now been deprecated and you didn't add those to the classpath when running outside the IDE.
    As the PE probably didn't include a distribution license for those packages the docs may not have mentioned that little tidbit of information
     
    I agree. Here's the link: http://aspose.com/file-tools
     
    subject: What is your favourite "lite" IDE that is free?
     
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