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Best IDE (Eclipse or IntelliJ IDEA)?

Unnsse Khan
Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 12, 2001
Posts: 511
I know that I am asking a question that must have been answered / discussed a thousand times on JavaRanch...

I used to hate IDEs... I used to exclusively use gvim and now I am really liking Eclipse.

My question for everyone is... What does everyone else use? And also what really is better?

Eclipse or IntelliJ IDEA?

With thanks,
Sanjaya Sugiarto
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 25, 2004
Posts: 229
Eclipse:
Pros: Free, open-source, lot of plug-ins
Cons: Annoying bugs (like you cant do more than 25 undos), run sluggish under Linux (using GTK)

IntelliJ:
Pros: smartest IDE (you should try it yourself and you would understand what i mean), excellent keyboard-shortcut support, many many fine nice features, pure Swing and it is FAST, very stable, support Java 5
Cons: Cost some $$$, there are plug-ins but not so many compared to Eclipse (most plugins are stable and nicely developed. Not like Eclipse plugin which are very often buggy, immature, although the version is already 1.x.x, not beta anymore)

I myself like IntelliJ. Only in rare case, I use Eclipse.
What I miss from IntelliJ is J2EE support. Eclipse has a nice plugin for J2EE development like MyEclipse (IntelliJ does has J2EE support out-of-the-box but it is very limited compared to MyEclipse plugin for Eclipse). The J2EE support under IntelliJ would be superb when the IntelliJ 5 comes out (with "Fabrique" as plug-in)


<a href="http://www.wi.hs-furtwangen.de" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Business Information Technology - Hochschule Furtwangen University, Germany</a>
Jeroen Wenting
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 12, 2000
Posts: 5093
JBuilder is superior to either...

Eclipse is very good, for a free product. With some additions and performance improvements it would make an excellent commercial product even.


42
Paul Sturrock
Bartender

Joined: Apr 14, 2004
Posts: 10336

Its a very subjective thing. Try them both - see what you like. Personally, since Eclipse is free, I find it very hard to look beyond it. Eclipse's plugins make it very convenient to extend its functionality too. My experience has been that other commerical IDEs do the more advanced stuff better (profiling, design and modelling etc.), also if you are working in one specific environment, or with one particular product sometimes an IDE with a relationship to a software vendor can be helpful; such as using WSAD with WebSphere.


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Ilja Preuss
author
Sheriff

Joined: Jul 11, 2001
Posts: 14112
Originally posted by Jeroen Wenting:
JBuilder is superior to either...


Please tell me that you are joking...


The soul is dyed the color of its thoughts. Think only on those things that are in line with your principles and can bear the light of day. The content of your character is your choice. Day by day, what you do is who you become. Your integrity is your destiny - it is the light that guides your way. - Heraclitus
Ashok Mash
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 13, 2000
Posts: 1936
Eclipse

+1


[ flickr ]
Jeroen Wenting
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 12, 2000
Posts: 5093
Originally posted by Ilja Preuss:


Please tell me that you are joking...


I'm quite serious. Maybe I'm biassed, being a Borland customer for over a decade, but that's my opinion.
Yu Tao
Greenhorn

Joined: Dec 12, 2004
Posts: 28
Eclipse is Good
Ernest Friedman-Hill
author and iconoclast
Marshal

Joined: Jul 08, 2003
Posts: 24187
    
  34

Must... resist...

No, sorry, can't.

IntelliJ was hands-down the winner over Eclipse 2.2. But with the advent of Eclipse 3, it's a much closer call. The statements about plugins above are all true. The one thing about Eclipse that I still find annoying -- in contrast to the fairly unique thing about IntelliJ that I love -- is Eclipse's notion of an abstract "Workspace" in which projects appear. In IntelliJ, what you see in the Project window corresponds exactly to what exists in the filesystem -- it's a live view of the filesystem, in fact. But in Eclipse, you see Eclipse's more abstract representation of what's there, and sometimes the workspace and the filesystem can be out of sync, and that's enormously annoying.

One example: If you're using CVS with IntelliJ, you can do cvs update/commit/add/delete from your command line while IntelliJ isn't running (or even while it is) and when you launch IntelliJ (or bring it to the front) it knows the exact real state of every file. But if you do the same thing in Eclipse, Eclipse is very unhappy.

Jeroen's comments about JBuilder show, confirm, that the "best" IDE is a very subjective choice. Not everybody is going to agree. That's why it's good that there are choices!


[Jess in Action][AskingGoodQuestions]
Ilja Preuss
author
Sheriff

Joined: Jul 11, 2001
Posts: 14112
Originally posted by Ernest Friedman-Hill:

One example: If you're using CVS with IntelliJ, you can do cvs update/commit/add/delete from your command line while IntelliJ isn't running (or even while it is) and when you launch IntelliJ (or bring it to the front) it knows the exact real state of every file. But if you do the same thing in Eclipse, Eclipse is very unhappy.


In my experience, the auto refresh feature of Eclipse 3.x is quite reliable, at least on Windows.
Pablo Olmos
Greenhorn

Joined: Aug 20, 2004
Posts: 10
NetBeans 4.0 is sweet.
Steven Bell
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 29, 2004
Posts: 1071
Personally I use eclipse at both home and work. I really like it. However I don't think it can really be said that one is better than the others. I would say give a few a run and see what you like. For me cost was part of the equation so I never gave intelliJ a shot. I tried JBuilder and ran away screaming. I tried NetBeans, but by that time I was fairly familiar with eclipse and couldn't see a good reason to switch.
C Kutler
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 15, 2004
Posts: 62
NetBeans 4.0 is sweet.


I understand that NetBeans has the best GUI editor.

Some other differences from the other IDEs

Project system based on Ant so you can build and deploy outside of the IDE
JDK 1.5 support
Mobility
J2EE 1.4 support for web apps
Better Java/J2EE/Web Apps debugging


We learn by doing, there is no other way.
Ilja Preuss
author
Sheriff

Joined: Jul 11, 2001
Posts: 14112
Originally posted by Jeroen Wenting:
I'm quite serious. Maybe I'm biassed, being a Borland customer for over a decade, but that's my opinion.


Well, it's probably also a matter of working style - we don't use EJBs or applications servers, I don't care much for wizards, don't use a visual gui editor.

What I wouldn't want to live without are the dozens of quick assists, quick fixes, refactorings, the incredibly powerfull code navigation and the instant compilation. I haven't used JBuilder for a while, but I doubt that it could satisfy me...

(My view might also be somewhat influenced by having to maintain a product that was developed using Borland DataExpress - which is a big PITA...)
Warren Dew
blacksmith
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Joined: Mar 04, 2004
Posts: 1332
    
    2
I personally use CodeWarrior 8. However, Java support has been dropped from more recent versions, so I'll probably switch to IDEA.

I found I was more productive on IDEA than on Eclipse. My main problem with Eclipse is that it doesn't play well with other tools (similar to EFH's complaint). So far, the only real weakness I've found in IDEA is that it doesn't build .jar files, so you have to figure out manually what needs to go in the .jar and in the manifest.
Ilja Preuss
author
Sheriff

Joined: Jul 11, 2001
Posts: 14112
Another interesting IDE is Code Guide, especially the back-in-time debugger.
Unnsse Khan
Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 12, 2001
Posts: 511
Ilja,

Can you please provide a URL to Code Guide?
Jeroen Wenting
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 12, 2000
Posts: 5093
Originally posted by Ilja Preuss:


Well, it's probably also a matter of working style - we don't use EJBs or applications servers, I don't care much for wizards, don't use a visual gui editor.


Neither do I, Servlets and JSPs mainly

Originally posted by Ilja Preuss:

What I wouldn't want to live without are the dozens of quick assists, quick fixes, refactorings, the incredibly powerfull code navigation and the instant compilation. I haven't used JBuilder for a while, but I doubt that it could satisfy me...



It now offers all that

I must admit I use mainly Eclipse but that's because the company doesn't provide budget to buy us all JBuilder Pro and I do want to maintain some sort of common environment (and after all I was the guy who introduced Eclipse here).
I've seriously considered purchasing my own copy though, I like it that much after trying the free edition (which would offer me what I want except for the lack of a JSP editor).
Ilja Preuss
author
Sheriff

Joined: Jul 11, 2001
Posts: 14112
Originally posted by Unnsse Khan:
Can you please provide a URL to Code Guide?


If you use the correct name - "CodeGuide" :roll: - it's the first google hit: http://www.omnicore.com/
Ilja Preuss
author
Sheriff

Joined: Jul 11, 2001
Posts: 14112
Originally posted by Jeroen Wenting:
It now offers all that
[/QB]


Let's get that straight: It offers, for example,

- a keyboard shortcut to show a tree of all the classes where a polymorphic method is implemented, including the option to open those classes;
- the ability to switch the blocks of an if-else statement with just a couple of key presses, without changing its semantic;
- instant, automatic compilation every time you save a file, even if it contains compile time errors;
- instant, in-editor diff between the file in the editor and the version in the repository,

etc. pp. ?
Jeanne Boyarsky
author & internet detective
Marshal

Joined: May 26, 2003
Posts: 30795
    
157

Originally posted by Ilja Preuss:
the ability to switch the blocks of an if-else statement with just a couple of key presses, without changing its semantic;

How do you do this one?


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Ilja Preuss
author
Sheriff

Joined: Jul 11, 2001
Posts: 14112
Originally posted by Jeanne Boyarsky:

How do you do this one?


It's a quick assist, that is ctrl-1 with the default key bindings.

There are a whole bunch of such assists, such as splitting a complex if expression or joining nested ifs, toggling between if and the ?: operator, adding/removing "paranoid" parantheses etc. pp.

Whenever I want to do something of which I think "a really intelligent IDE should be able to do this for me", I simply try ctrl-1 first - and if Eclipse can't do what I want it to, I simply post a new feature request...
Jeanne Boyarsky
author & internet detective
Marshal

Joined: May 26, 2003
Posts: 30795
    
157

Originally posted by Ilja Preuss:
There are a whole bunch of such assists, such as splitting a complex if expression or joining nested ifs, toggling between if and the ?: operator, adding/removing "paranoid" parantheses etc. pp.

Cool! And I love the "paranoid" parantheses description
albert lone
Greenhorn

Joined: Feb 04, 2005
Posts: 8
I am trying both Eclipse and JDeveloper from Oracle. At the moment notably for UML part I prefer JDeveloper, I find Omondo UML plugin for eclipse not working well.

At the moment I'm just annoyed with JDeveloper because I can't create a project directory outside install directory: I have asked the question. If it can be solved I think I'm gonna take JDevelopper rather. It's also has a plugin architecture and is free.
[ February 04, 2005: Message edited by: albert lone ]
Hussein Baghdadi
clojure forum advocate
Bartender

Joined: Nov 08, 2003
Posts: 3479

This is my favorite subject since I like to try alot of IDEs ..
I tried : IntelliJ, Eclipse, NetBeans, JBuilder.
IntelliJ :
sexy, smart, innocent looking.
things I like in IntelliJ are :
* small size to download.
* best refactoring available.
* analysis code.
* TODO feature.
* fast.
* easy to learn and use.
* I like its way for layouts (small buttons on the left, right and button of the editor like TODO button, commander ....)
click on the button to hide and you get a large area, all other IDEs that I have seen use M$ visual studio layout.
* productivity guide.
things I don't like in IntelliJ :
* a limited support for J2EE.
* bad Swing builder.
* no good support for J2ME.
* no good support for XML, XSLT.
Eclipse :
Things I like :
* fast startup (thanks to SWT).
* no installation required, just unzip it.
* alot of plugins.
* easy to learn and use.
things I don't like :
* it is not targeted at Java developement 100% , you will need at least about 6 plugins to do a serious developement for Java.
* J2EE support is not what I want (I don't like Lomboz alot).
* alot alot of plugins which cause that you don't know what to choose, and if ask some folks about the best plugin for something, you will got the same answers if you ask them about the best IDE
* no good plugin for swing .
NetBeans :
Things I like :
* targeted at Java developement.
Things I dont like :
* swing builder is the worst !
* slow to start.
(I don't have a lot to talk about netbeans since I don't use it alot)
but netbeans 4.1 seems good (its icons are taken from Java Studio Creator
)
JBuilder :
Things I like :
* the complete IDE for Java that I have ever seen.
* the best swing builder available for Java.
* EJB visual designer.
* JSF visual designer.
* support for sometings like : web start.
* good support for web and web services developement.
* creates exes for all platforms, but you will find Jbuilder logo stamped on them .
* support for the leading J2EE vendors.
things I don't like :
* HUUUGE size.
* required an ocean of RAM !
* it will install (and use) its own version of SDK, so if you have your own SDK installed on your system, say bye to it..
as you see, the relationship between the developer and IDE is so special and personal , it is something like religon.
Asking two persons which IDE they prefer is the same thing if you ask them which kind of girl they prefer : the blond girl or the black haird girl
Jeroen Wenting
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 12, 2000
Posts: 5093
some things here:
1) Eclipse also installs and uses its own compiler. You can't even tell it to use another one (you can tell it to use another runtime for running apps, not for compiling them).
2) In my experience JBuilder needs less memory than Netbeans, about the same as or a bit less than Eclipse 3.
3) Refactoring support in Netbeans is the weakest of them all.

I fully agree with you about Netbeans, it's the 2nd worst (IMO) IDE I ever used (the worst being VAJ). 4.x is better but not there yet.

P.S. You guys have 4 hours from now to convince me that IDEA is worth the extra �130 above and beyond the price of JBuilder 2005 Developer.
If I'm not convinced by then I'm out to purchase JB.
Ilja Preuss
author
Sheriff

Joined: Jul 11, 2001
Posts: 14112
Originally posted by Jeroen Wenting:
1) Eclipse also installs and uses its own compiler. You can't even tell it to use another one


That's true. (Well, mostly - you *could* use Ant to build with a different one.) But the compiler is quite good, and in three years has only caused a minor trouble for us, that got fixed in days by the Eclipse team.

There are a whole bunch of features in Eclipse that only can work because of the inbuild compiler. And some project are actually starting to even use it *outside* of Eclipse.

(you can tell it to use another runtime for running apps, not for compiling them).


This is a little bit misleading, as you don't need a runtime for compiling, and you actually *have to* tell it which JDK to compile against (regarding the API).
Jeroen Wenting
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 12, 2000
Posts: 5093
Originally posted by Ilja Preuss:


This is a little bit misleading, as you don't need a runtime for compiling, and you actually *have to* tell it which JDK to compile against (regarding the API).


what I meant to say is that you can tell it to run applications against an external JVM, but compile only against the internal compiler (which can indeed produce bytecode according to several versions of compilers just like the Sun compiler can).
albert lone
Greenhorn

Joined: Feb 04, 2005
Posts: 8

1) Eclipse also installs and uses its own compiler. You can't even tell it to use another one (you can tell it to use another runtime for running apps, not for compiling them).


I'm really astonished about that : isn't it supposedly "Open" ?
Jeroen Wenting
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 12, 2000
Posts: 5093
yes, that's one of the big gripes about Eclipse.
It's so dependent on its own compiler that they've made it impossible to swap it out for another one.

It's effectively a huge step back, seeing as almost everyone BUT IBM has been allowing hotswapping of compilers for 5 years now.
This is in fact just about the last remnant of VAJ remaining in the design of Eclipse.

The compiler they do provide is a pretty good one though, but the weakness of the approach becomes immediately apparent when you try to use the features of the 1.5 language enhancements.
Unless you use the latest beta version of Eclipse these are unavailable (and even that one has no complete support), where the competition has been supporting them since before the final release of the official compiler.
Jeroen Wenting
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 12, 2000
Posts: 5093
P.S. I did just ordered me JBuilder 2005 Developer. Sadly they didn't have it in stock, but should have it for me sometime next week.
Ernest Friedman-Hill
author and iconoclast
Marshal

Joined: Jul 08, 2003
Posts: 24187
    
  34

Originally posted by albert lone:
isn't it supposedly "Open" ?


"Openness" has nothing to do with it. The Eclipse compiler is special in that it allows for incremental compilation and has a rich API so that the IDE can get an abstract syntax tree from the compiler itself. The IDE simply couldn't work with a normal batch-mode compiler.
Ilja Preuss
author
Sheriff

Joined: Jul 11, 2001
Posts: 14112
Originally posted by Jeroen Wenting:
yes, that's one of the big gripes about Eclipse.
It's so dependent on its own compiler that they've made it impossible to swap it out for another one.


That's not fully true. You can still disable the internal compiler and use an ant builder to compile your sources using an arbitrary compiler. Of course you had to do without some of the nicest features of Eclipse that way. I have no idea why you'd want to do that... :roll:

Unless you use the latest beta version of Eclipse


I guess you are speaking of 3.1M4 here, which actually is quite stable, as most of Eclipse's milestone builds are. Our whole team at work is using it, even though we didn't yet switch to Tiger.

(and even that one has no complete support)


In december it had 99.56% jck1.5 compliance, according to https://bugs.eclipse.org/bugs/show_bug.cgi?id=36938#c115

Tool support is already quite good, too. See sections 2-5 at http://download.eclipse.org/downloads/drops/S-3.1M4-200412162000/eclipse-news-part1-M4.html

M5 is scheduled for Feb. 18, by the way.
Ilja Preuss
author
Sheriff

Joined: Jul 11, 2001
Posts: 14112
Originally posted by albert lone:

I'm really astonished about that : isn't it supposedly "Open" ?


It is. You can download its source, including the source of the compiler, modify it etc. pp. I'm not sure wether it already provides an extension point to plug in your own compiler implementation, but if you wanted to, you could certainly write and submit a patch that does.

I don't know how much more open it could get... :roll:
Jeroen Wenting
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 12, 2000
Posts: 5093
I know 3.1M4 is stable, I use it myself (and I too don't use Tiger, I like it for the refactoring support mainly).

I should have JBuilder operationel before M5 is released.
b.t.w. JBuilder 2005 had Tiger support complete upon initial release shortly after Tiger itself was released (but then Borland has long been involved deeply in the JCP and provides some of Sun's compiler implementations.
Ilja Preuss
author
Sheriff

Joined: Jul 11, 2001
Posts: 14112
Originally posted by Jeroen Wenting:
I know 3.1M4 is stable, I use it myself (and I too don't use Tiger, I like it for the refactoring support mainly).


OK. It might not have been clear to other readers, so I wanted to point it out explicitely.


b.t.w. JBuilder 2005 had Tiger support complete upon initial release shortly after Tiger itself was released (but then Borland has long been involved deeply in the JCP and provides some of Sun's compiler implementations.


Yes. As far as I remember, the Eclipse team decided to wait until the specification got very stable and to concentrate on other features in the mean time. For us, it was the right decision, because it will probably still take us months until all our customer have switched to Tiger, so that we can start using its features. For others, the balance might be different, of course.
Gregory Cranz
Greenhorn

Joined: Sep 09, 2002
Posts: 9
I have recently performed a comparison of all of the major IDE's available for Java for a project for my job.

To answer your question, on a feature by feature comparison, using the latest versions available as of 12/2004 : Eclipse has a more complete feature-set than IDEA.

That being said, it was not the most feature-rich IDE available.

While JBuilder DID sport many more features than either, as mentioned above, it also was not the clear victor.

In fact, Sun's Java Studio Enterprise version 7 (which I had early access to) was the most feature-replete offering. It is also 1/2 the price of JBuilder & based upon the NetBeans IDE.

All of that aside, what I came to realize is that there is a paradigm shift in the concept of IDE's that is NOT addressed by a direct feature-matrix comparison. Just as software development practice is migrating away from a single monolithic application and embracing a component-based approach, so are modern software development tools.

Eclipse, contrary to popular conception, was not created to be a Java IDE. IBM developed it to be a tool-framework. The Java IDE plug-ins were developed as a proof of concept to show that tools can be successfully delivered as components AKA Plug-ins. The wide acceptance of this plug-in set has more than proved said concept.

There is an order of magnitude difference in favor of Eclipse towards the number of plug-in's available for it compared to any other IDE. This provides you with a plethora of choices to augment your tool over time. You dont pay for functionality you dont need until you need it. (Yes, some plug-ins are commercial products, but then again, not all.)

For a single developer perhaps the monolithic tool with every feature you might need waiting for you to discover is appropriate. For workgroups, it makes no sense whatsoever. Why would a junior programmer need UML tools for example? Give everyone the toolset that's appropriate for their responsibilities & skill level.

So - from the perspective of a modern component oriented tool - Eclispe is the clear industry leader. Don't believe me? Do some quick research about how widely it's being adopted. And again, not always for Java! There are plugins to provide IDE's for Perl, Cobol, Ada, and a whole slew of others as well.


Never Underestimate the Power of What Works!
Robert White
Greenhorn

Joined: Mar 03, 2003
Posts: 8
I tried IDEA, but found that JBuilder built our big project much quicker than did IDEA. JBuilder has been doing incremental compiles for years now. And, thanks to IDEA, it now has many good refactoring features as well as code-folding (competition and choice is a good thing for the consumer -- may it someday reach the OS market).

JBuilder has had JDK switching since ver 7 (I think JB 2005 is ver 11). And starting with ver 9, they made JDK switching part of the cheap version.

JBuilder has had a bunch of those little editor macros for years (what does IDEA call them? quick assists?). I know that they would save me time if I used them and created my own, but it's not my habit. I really underuse JBuilder's many features.

The only thing I don't like about JB is its team support. I thought that Eclipse's CVS support was brilliant, seamless. But I have never built a single project with it. After reading this discussion, I'm hesitant to go back and try it again. Surely there's a web page somewhere that explains the best plug-in collection for basic Java development.
Carlos Valcarcel
author
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 09, 2004
Posts: 38
Originally posted by Robert White:
Surely there's a web page somewhere that explains the best plug-in collection for basic Java development.


Well, if I knew what "basic" Java development meant I would post a page on the web site that accompanies the book. Perhaps we need to make that list!

Carlos


Carlos Valcarcel, Director<br /><a href="http://www.triveratech.com" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Trivera Technologies LLC</a>, carlos@triveratech.com<br />Author of Eclipse Kick Start
Gregg Bolinger
GenRocket Founder
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 11, 2001
Posts: 15299
    
    6

Originally posted by Robert White:
Surely there's a web page somewhere that explains the best plug-in collection for basic Java development.


And with that you hit the nail on the head on my biggest complaint about Eclipse.

Just adding my 2 cents here. All I want my editor/IDE to do is edit java source code and web page(S) (html, jsp, jsf, etc). Refactoring is a big must have for me also.

I've been using IDEA for about a year now I would say and I love it. I have tried Eclipse time and time again and it just never meshed well with my coding style. Netbeans, I just don't have the money to build a system that will run it well enough. . JBuilder, seems like I tried it a couple of versions ago but being an independent developer I can't justify spending the $$$ for it.

I like the idea of plugins. I don't like the idea of needing to go out and find half a dozen or more plugins just to do the kind of development I need to do.

Any modern IDE/Editor should do the following out of the box: J2SE, J2EE (and any variation - JSF, Struts, Tapestry, etc), and XML. IDEA does all this and more. But the key here is that the *and more* doesn't get in my way. It's there if I need it. It's dormant and tucked away if I don't.

I personally prefer seperate apps for things like UML, Database management, listening to music, and playing games. Why on earth would someone want a plugin to play a game in an IDE I'll never know. :roll:

Anyway, my random thoughts.


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subject: Best IDE (Eclipse or IntelliJ IDEA)?