File APIs for Java Developers
Manipulate DOC, XLS, PPT, PDF and many others from your application.
The moose likes Beginning Java and the fly likes Which IDE is best? Big Moose Saloon
  Search | Java FAQ | Recent Topics | Flagged Topics | Hot Topics | Zero Replies
Register / Login
JavaRanch » Java Forums » Java » Beginning Java
Bookmark "Which IDE is best?" Watch "Which IDE is best?" New topic

Which IDE is best?

Steven Davidson

Joined: Feb 02, 2002
Posts: 6
I'm am going to download an IDE from the Sun web site. I was given several choices.
Visual Cafe
Oracle JDeveloper
Code Warrior
I need advice on which one is best. Thanks
Steven Davidson
David O'Meara

Joined: Mar 06, 2001
Posts: 13459

Oh the eternal question.
My preference: jEdit or TextPad.
Why? Cos they are both glorified text editors with syntax highlighting. This means you can learn Java rather than learning the editor...
Bas Broeders

Joined: Feb 05, 2002
Posts: 3
I think JBuilder is the best program for intermediate and advanced java programmers.
For beginners I recommend Powersoft PowerJ.
John Lynn

Joined: Dec 29, 2000
Posts: 15
I started out with Textpad, which handled most stuff, but recently switched to Oracle JDeveloper 9i release candidate. It's a clear, simple and helpful IDE, excellent debugger, etc..
I still just use Textpad for most chores, though
Bosun Bello
Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 06, 2000
Posts: 1510
You can't go wrong with textpad. You can use it to edit just about any kind of editable file. We use VA Java here at wotk. But believe it or not, every developer also has textpad on their desktop, and use it a lot also.

So much trouble in the world -- Bob Marley
Paul Stevens
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 17, 2001
Posts: 2823
The answer is, the one you like the best. Look in the IDE forum and you will see many discussions on this topic.
Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 22, 2008
Posts: 18944
The real answer, in my view, to the question "Which IDE is best?" is "For what?".
There is no such thing as an absolute best. Most IDEs have their strengths and weaknesses,
and the answer would be quite different for a beginner and an expert.
But the often heard remark "You can't go wrong with textpad" I cannot agree with.
The argument that when using a simple editor you can concentrate on learning the Java language is
just wrong. Yo then have to deal with command lines, file systems, nested file structures,
class path settings, and so on.
That certainly has nothing to do with learning OO.
If you want an environment for beginners, I recommend BlueJ ( It handles the
low level stuff for you and lets you really concentrate on the important issues (and they
are NOT editing, but class structures and object

Joined: Jan 24, 2002
Posts: 2
I strongly believe that to start with one should start with editors(like editplus or textpad) to get a stronghold of java programming.
Later , one can opt for choices like Jbulider which is the best IDE i found in my experience.
Programming with Jbuilder is very fast and interesting.

Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 22, 2008
Posts: 18944
And what makes you strongly believe that? Have you actually tried an environment that was designed for beginners?
The argument goes: "I know an environment that is bad for beginners, thus environments are bad for beginners."
I have more than 10 years teaching experience with a whole lot of different languages and environments. And I know what I prefer - it is not a pure text editor.
The argument that "when you use a simple text editor, it is all easier because you are not using an environment" is plain wrong.
A commend line interpreter, a text editor, and a compiler _is_ an environment, and you would have to prove (or at least argue) that this is a simpler environment to deal with that a well designed integrated beginners' programming environment.
It is easy to compare a bad environment and then make statements, but that does not prove anything.
(And I agree that most environments are too complex for beginners, but that does not mean that _all_ are.)
Paul Stevens
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 17, 2001
Posts: 2823
I didn't care for bluej. And why aren't you posting that you are on the development team. Posting like you are an unbiased Joe just trying to help out. If you are going to advertise, do it up front. link
Cindy Glass
"The Hood"

Joined: Sep 29, 2000
Posts: 8521
Well, he DID mention that he was on the development team, just in another topic, so he is not really hiding anything.
I personally am a minimist. Simple IDEs like TextPad etc are just fine for beginners. When you start getting into the sophisticated ones like VisualAge etc - well they can do some REALLY cool stuff, but with that flexibility comes complexity. Until you have a firm grasp of the basics I don't think that is a good idea.
That said, most everyone EVENTUALLY gets past the beginner stage, and then and IDE is probably a good idea. However the conversation should occur in the IDE forum - not in Beginner.

"JavaRanch, where the deer and the Certified play" - David O'Meara
Gerry Giese
Ranch Hand

Joined: Aug 02, 2001
Posts: 247
If you need to do a lot of GUI building, JBuilder is great, and VisualCafe/WebGain is way up there, too. If you're doing more plain-Java or server-side Java, I also like Together from, but it's more a UML modeler than an IDE. But that's a good thing, because you work out your design with the models instead of writing from scratch and end up with a better result in the end. The IDE tools they have are workable, and the round-trip-engineering feature is nice to have, though it isn't one-size-fits-all-projects.
I also like using a free syntax-highlighting text editor (I use Editor 99, but others like NoteTab Light because it opens multiple files in a tabbed interface) for most smaller projects. If you need version control you can use CVS without too much trouble, but it does have a learning curve. If you need to use SourceSafe or PVCS or something else, go with JBuilder or VisualCafe for the integration.
To finish off, I make notes on the other IDEs you listed. Forte is fairly good, but isn't particularly snappy and needs a fast machine. JDK 1.4 should speed it up, since it's pure-Java. JDeveloper should only be use if you're doing Oracle development, and it's expensive. CodeWarrior has always had a nice IDE and is worthwhile at a good price, but it's never been top-of-the-heap.
If you're just starting out, use the free Forte CE or JBuilder Foundation (CE? not sure what the name is now).

CJP (Certifiable Java Programmer), AMSE (Anti-Microsoft Software Engineer)
Author of Posts in the Saloon
Roy Ben Ami
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 13, 2002
Posts: 732
it is like textpad but has the methods and fields of all the objects and class view like in Jbuilder.
in my humble opinion, its the perfect combination between a simple IDE with no extra GUI , heavy stuff.
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 30, 2000
Posts: 94
I am surprised nobody mentioned netbeans. I have been using it for last 6-8 months and i like it. It used to take hell lot of memory but with netbeans 3.3 and jdk1.4 its much faster. (but why does it behave so badly when renamed as Forte???)
Most importan thing is its Open Source and easily extendable.Easy to write plugins. Plus some XML/Refactoring support is coming up which is cool.
IDEA is good but I dont think it belongs to IDE category no till it comes up with more plugins. And JB is too expensive i guess...
Rajesh Kumar

Joined: Nov 16, 2001
Posts: 28
I believe that Visual Cafe is the best IDE for java especially for begineers.
The beginer can learn java very easily, if he can able to use visual cafe.
Try with Visual Cafe and Editplus.
Val Pecaoco
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 05, 2001
Posts: 156
Hi guys,
I'm using Forte for Java CE, full-featured and free. It's just like using Apache/Tomcat/Struts/JBoss/MySQL, you pay for nada. I presume by your own capacity you won't go with the expensive, commercial ones, would you?!?!
Ex Animo Java!
-- Val

"Knowledge is power, but enthusiasm is the key." -- Lavern Barn
Paul Stevens
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 17, 2001
Posts: 2823
My problem with his post was that it was posted in multiple threads in multiple forums and only once mentioned that he was on the development team. To me he was just here advertising a product.
Prem Somasekaram

Joined: Jan 14, 2002
Posts: 21
I used Jcreator when I studied for the exam. It's simple and you can actually create large and complex programs with it. Anyway, currently I'm using Visual Age for Java 4.0 and according to my humble opinion, it's one of the best tools available today.
Dirk Schreckmann

Joined: Dec 10, 2001
Posts: 7023
If there is any value in volume...
I'll jump on the JCreator bandwagon.
It's small and fast and a free version is available.
That's my two cents.

[How To Ask Good Questions] [JavaRanch FAQ Wiki] [JavaRanch Radio]
Val Pecaoco
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 05, 2001
Posts: 156
Whoa! Forte for Java 3.0 is a finalist in the 2002 JavaWorld Editor's Choice Awards in the "Best Java IDE" category! The feat is shared with IntelliJ's IDEA 2.5 and Borland's JBuilder 6.0 Enterprise Edition.
I'm using Forte and I'm very satisfied with it, save for some, sigh, hitches.
Ex Animo Java!
-- Val
Greg Brouelette
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 23, 2002
Posts: 144
I prefer a full featured text editor rather than an actual "IDE". So I use Jext which is available from for free. It's even written in Java so it works everywhere Java does.

For a good Prime, call:<br />29819592777931214269172453467810429868925511217482600306406141434158089
Valentin Crettaz
Gold Digger

Joined: Aug 26, 2001
Posts: 7610
Those who argue that an IDE provides everything one may need to edit, compile, run, debug, version control, etc... her Java sources is partly right.
But for those who prefer simple environments (read text editor and compiler), here is a link that provides you with nice, elegant and powerful Makefile for organizing all that. Just read the introduction and you'll have a good idea of what one can do with the proposed solution.
Just quoting one of their arguments:
It [the Makefile] was created to support large scale multi-platform development, but is equally well suited for the single source file project.

Take it for what it's worth

[Blog] [Blogroll] [My Reviews] My Linked In
John Smith
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 20, 2001
Posts: 84
I suggest using JCreator - It's cheap and fast and perfect for my needs.
henry wu

Joined: Dec 01, 2000
Posts: 23
I use Eclipse. Its one the best free IDE's out there.
check it out..
Doug Wang
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 05, 2001
Posts: 445
Hi henry,
I guess Eclipse will be a very attractive IDE for us. But I wonder if Eclipse and WSAD are the same thing. What's the diff between these two? What are the requirements of my box to run these IDEs?

Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep
I agree. Here's the link:
subject: Which IDE is best?
It's not a secret anymore!