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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Intellij Idea IDE OpenSourced - The current state of the Java IDE's

It is a great news that Jetbrains has opensourced the Intellij Idea, a well known Java Editor. I have used it along with both Eclipse and Netbeans in the past.

Last year, I decided to buy a professional license for the intellij and never looked back. So, what would I say about eclipse, Netbeans and Intellij ?

Well, frankly speaking, they all have their positives. In fact, they are all competing on a very high level now.

Lets compare them based on few criterias :

1. User Adoption : Eclipse wins easily. However, I guess with today's announcement, it is going to be exciting. Don't forget Netbeans is releasing the 6.8 beta shortly, and it has significantlly improved.

2. Company Backing : Although Eclipse was started by IBM, Jetbrains owns intellij and Netbeans is owned by Sun (ohh.. I guess it is Oracle), but now the open source has changed the game. It is all about users, developers, speed and plugins.

3. Speed :- I don't have a benchmark, however the last time I felt, Eclipse and Intellij both were better. Netbeans still needs to work on it (I last tried the full j2ee version of it - 6.5, never tried 6.7).

4. Plugins :- Again Eclipse wins by the numbers. As far as quality is concerned, Intellij would probably be the best. Again, used mostly the in-built plugins for the netbeans (Correct me, and add comments if you find it better). However, now I see all the three editors have got a nice plugin framework and lots of developers writing for them.

5. Maven Support :- Hmm....Here the Netbeans is the one, closely followed by Intellij.

6. Usability :- Power users like Intellij with the best Refactoring offering , intelligent shortcuts, the awesome customer care support.

7.Dynamic Language Support (Ruby/JRuby/Groovy) :- NetBeans is the best IDE for Ruby/JRuby(I am not including Rubymine from Jetbrains, as it is a separate product). For Groovy, my vote goes to Intellij again.

I think as now Intellij has provided the free editor (Community Edition), more people would give it a try, and hence would be in a better position to compare it (And who knows may be then buy the Professional Edition eventually).

What do you think ?

Update : Here is the comparison chart for the OpenSource version vs the Commercial One.


Mat Schaffer said...

I was pretty excited about this, but did you see the comparison chart? The "frameworks" section is almost all excluded. And how could they have possibly decided to support groovy but not grails? Ah well. Here's hoping that list turns a little more green over time with some support from the community.

Anshu said...

Thanks Mat, I checked it out and have updated the entry with the comparison chart.
Since this is the first(beta) release, I am sure the community would add more frameworks over the time.

Anonymous said...

Jetbrains has RubyMine for Ruby

Anshu said...

@Anonymous : I have already mentioned that in the post. I own a license for it as well, however the point is that it is a totally different product. However, Intellij has some good plugins for Ruby/JRuby.

Dean said...

I don't think that IDEA is going to replace Netbeans and Eclipse anytime soon. You just can't beat the features for zero cost that they provide. Now if JetBrains released the full version for free it would probably dominate. But why would they do that? A mate suggested that a system where the user pays a much smaller fee for the features they require might work instead of paying for a bunch of unused features. Interesting problem.. how to make money selling something that others give away for free.

V said...

It's a bad idea to think, that community will "magically" create cool plugins. Eclipse exist the same time as Idea, but could you see tonns of plugins, with same quality as commercial ones?

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Ariel said...

I think Intellij really shines in the developer productivity department.
1.I love an intelligent IDE that does not overstep it lines. Intellij is just of the right size, the Ultimate version I am using uses half the memory that a comparable eclipse or Netbeans install takes. Really smart refactoring, and strong code completion, responsive and fast..
2.Eclipse code quality is poor. The latest release, Helios is quiet buggy and the framework support plugins are patchy. If you want good bug free developer functionality, u may have to choose paid commercial version like MyEclipse (But have u seen the bloat approx 900 MB - now what is that? an operating system?). I have seen a quiet a bit of Eclipse internals especially when doing some RCP and MDA on eclipse, not very pretty.
3.Netbeans is a good alternative, I had good experience with the IDE especially since it is open source all the way, it is good for a startup. But is sluggish compared to the other 2 candidates. With Java VM's getting better day by day we may find it getting more and more attractive performance wise.

Ultimately my take is, why not pay for the software when it offers more than your money's worth in terms of time saved, with customers breathing down your neck? I prefer spending more time with my kids or coding my pet projects overs integration nightmares on Eclipse, worthless productive time wasted on somebody else's buggy plugins.. and hardware hogging code.

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