Friday, 7 June 2013

Which IDE should you use for Java?

There are a whole bunch of free IDEs out there that you could use with Java:

  1. IntelliJ
  2. Eclipse
  3. Netbeans
And there are more, I just listed those that I have tried. You can also use Text Editors as an IDE, some of those even have code completion now.

So which Java IDE should you use?

Well, I use IntelliJ. I even paid for it, which is something that I never thought I'd do for a Java IDE - I do use it for pretty much all my development work: JavaScript, HTML, XML etc.

But that doesn't mean you should use IntelliJ

First thing I recommend you do is:
  •  look around and see what people on your team are using. 
Because chances are you are going to need some support when you start learning Java, and chances are the first people you are going to ask will be the people on your team. 

If you are using the same IDE as the people you are asking for support then you have one less barrier getting in the way, and one less thing adding noise to your problems.

Warning: Don't ask people what you should use. Instead ask what they use. but do it individually, and in secret otherwise you'll start an IDE development flame war

All the IDEs are very good. Some will work faultlessly on your machine, and some won't work. So if you 
encounter initial setup issues, then try another IDE, you might find your problem vanishes. 

Over time you will start to get a feel for what problems are caused by your code, and what problems are environmental related to your machine + your IDE.

If you want help getting started with Eclipse or IntelliJ then my Free Online Start Using WebDriver course has videos explaining how to install Java, Maven and Eclipse or IntelliJ

P.S. But I use IntelliJ.
P.P.S The android dev kit was based on Eclipse, but the next version uses IntelliJ


  1. Hi Alan. Purchased your Java For Testers beta book today. I have Eclipse Juno installed on my Windows 7 PC. I would like to try Intellij on same PC.

    Question: Do you know if there are any problems with having both IDEs installed on same PC? (During evaluation phase, I would only have one IDE running at a time.)

    I suspect there would be no problem, but am pretty new to all this stuff, so thought I would ask.


    1. Thanks for buying the book Martin. You should have no problems installing multiple IDEs, and they can all point to the same JDK.

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