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Raja Speet
Birgitte Hundhammer
Kai Dietrich
Stijn van Driessen

The Platter of Java IDE – Take your Pick: NetBeans, Eclipse or IntelliJ IDEA

5 min. read time

Java is a leading scripting language on the world index. It is a programming language that has enabled many effective and large scale solutions and platforms. And today, the technology industry cannot imagine development without Java Scripting language.

As a Java Developer, you always need a programming editor or IDE (Integrated Development Environment) for a development project that involves Java language. Basically, an IDE helps you in writing Java and using class libraries and frameworks. It can be crucial to decide which IDE suits you. Selection of an IDE depends on various factors like nature of development, your role & skills and the process being used for development of a solution.

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Among the many Java IDEs available, these 3 are used for server side development and are popular as the top contenders, namely:

  • NetBeans
  • Eclipse
  • IntelliJ IDE

There are many other lightweight IDE for development in Java Language suiting to requirements. For selection of Java IDE, you need to ensure a few things.

  • The IDE should let you build, edit, debug and test your systems easily.
  • It should help you deploy and debug the containers and the clouds.
  • It should efficiently let you connect to the ticket system or the CI/ CD if you are using any.
  • It should support Groovy, Scala or any other JVM languages.
  • It should offer support for testing, debugging and stubbing in a test driven environment.
  • It should support major application servers and web frameworks like Spring MVC, JSF, SWT, Play, Wicket, Grails and Vaadin.
  • It should be compatible with build or version control systems that are used by the development team.
  • The IDE should have the ability to handle the client and the database of the selected stack of technologies, with support by JavaScript, TypeScript, HTML, SQL, JavaServer Pages, Hibernate and Java Persistence API.

NetBeans

Now a commercial product, Java Netbeans was originally a university student project in Prague in 1996. NetBeans became a product in 1997 and released as the open source project only in the year 2000. The latest version of Java i.e. Java 8.1 offer 6 stock options. Oracle considers NetBeans as the official IDE for Java 8. The Java 8.1 runs on Windows, Mac OS X, Linux and Solaris and portable subset runs on other systems.

See Also : All About Java Development (Infographic) By Helios

The Java EE bundle offers:

  • JavaScript & HTML Support
  • GlassFish & Tomcat
  • PHP, C/ C++, Fortan, Groovy and Grails Support (All download bundle)

As a Java developer you can easily add third party plugins and do much more with this specific bundle. It has fewer plugins compared to Eclipse. NetBeans offer great support for Java 8 and also to convert the older code to the current version. It offers editors, code analyzers and converters that can be used to create new Java application in 9 language constructs like functional operations, method references and lamdas. The JavaScript plugins in NetBeans 8 offer improved support for Node.Js framework and tools like Gulp, Mocha, Nashorn and JavaScript Interpreter.

Benefits of NetBeans

Convenient Build, Debug & Profile

NetBeans happens to be widely used IDE by Java developers. It offers in-built support for Maven and Ant – the plugins for Gradle. It comes with very efficient graph view for Maven dependencies. Also, the NetBeans Java debugs suits the needs of the modern web application development. It offers a visual debuggers that allows web developers to take GUI snapshots and explore the GUI for JavaFX and Swing Apps. And you can easily profile also, using CPU or the memory along with tools to look for memory leaks.

Easy Edit & Refactoring

The NetBeans IDE comes with an editor that acts like your tester too. It can detect errors while typing and also offers assistance for documentation and smart code completion. It has less pauses than Eclipse but a little more than IntelliJ IDEA. It also offers a wide range of refactoring tools that allow you to restructure the code, conduct source code analysis and avail hints to enhance code. It comes with design tools for Swing GUI, earlier known as Project Matisse. The best part is the Inspect & Transform tool that allows software development experts to run an inspection throughout the code.

Benefits of Eclipse

Tools Support

Eclipse offers a plugin ecosystem that is one of the best parts of Eclipse IDE. It has more than 1700 plugins contributed by the Eclipse community. Also, there are support offered for those plugins in over 100 programming languages and over 200 application development frameworks. It also offers support for new server connections and Java Servers too.

Convenient in Editing, Refactoring & Debugging

As Java developer, you need to be patient with Eclipse IDE as you will need some time to adapt to its functionalities. The conceptual architecture of views, functions, perspective and workspaces is wide and is determined by plugins that you install. Also, Eclipse always offers more than one ways of doing particular task in development. The support offered by Eclipse enables web developer to easily find references, declarations and occurrences of Java packages, types, fields and methods. You can also use Quick Access to search and use quick views for class outlines while using Eclipse.

You can generate common code patterns from difference code templates availed by Eclipse. It also offers support for adding methods and generating classes by error annotations and content assist functions.

You can conduct refactoring conveniently in Java using Eclipse as it offers 23 operations and transformations. It cannot be performed interactively but from refactoring scripts. Eclipse offers extensive support for debugging for local or remote server and is fairly standard. It offers a set of break point and view variables in a debugging perspective.

IntelliJ IDEA

It is the most popular Java IDE that offers support in two editions:

  • The Free Community Edition
  • Paid Ultimate Edition

The paid ultimate edition comes with few additional features that are not there in the free community version.

IntelliJ IDEA offers support

Community Edition

It offers support for Java, Kotlin, Groovy, Scalla , Android, Maven, Gradle, SBT, Git, SVN, Mercurial and CVS.

Ultimate Edition

  • It offers support for web and enterprise development
  • It supports Perforce, ClearCase, TFS, Git, SVN, Mercurial, CVS.
  • It also avails support for JavaScript, TypeScript, Java EE, Spring, GWT, Vaadin, Play, Grails and other such frameworks.
  • It comes with few database tools and SQL.

The ultimate edition is more appropriate for a professional and large project. It is paid version but offers efficiency for a programmer. It gives deep insight to the code, ergonomics, built-in developer tools, polyglot programming and much more.

Benefits of IntelliJ IDEA

Developer Ergonomics

It provides with an Integrated Development Environment for Java that offers a creative and robust flow. Tools like Project tool window can be hidden by the programmer in order to focus on the code editor and have it in full view while development process. It offers keyboard shortcuts and pop-ups for definitions, so that you can learn the shortcuts easily. As a software developer, you can easily use IntelliJ IDEA without shortcuts also. The debugger in IntelliJ IDEA offer variable values wherein when the state change, the color is highlighted and you know the changes are done.

Developer Tools

It is so popular because of the ease it provides to the developers for working in a Java project. It offers a unified interface with control systems, Git, SVN, Mercurial, CVS, Perforce and TFS. A developer can easily change the management in the environment. It offers building tools, testing and coverage tools. It does not offer a profiler but gives support for third party profilers. So you can still do profiling in IntelliJ IDEA. It also offers decompiler for no source code situation.

We hope this read was useful to you in selecting an IDE for Java Development. For any query in development, you can always reach out to us and gain insights on using the IDE for Java. We are an IT Outsourcing Agency and have a team of Java Development Experts, Web Development Specialists who are highly experienced and skilled. They will be ready to answer all your questions and develop any web solutions for you.

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