IntelliJ Plugin Development Starter Kit

How do I get started in developing plugins for IntelliJ IDEA? I haven't had
much luck finding up to date information on the twiki. Are there any
tutorials, quickstart guides, or development kits available?

As a side topic, where is the Contributing to IntelliJ IDEA book? It doesn't
seem right for Eclipse to have more than half a dozen books while IDEA has
none. What is Martin Fowler doing? This may be the perfect topic for his
next book.

Thanks, alex

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We've been through this quite a lot here in the forums. Basically the reason there are a ton of books for Eclipse and none for IDEA is that IDEA is a commercial product and as such will generally have to commission people to write books for it.

Although books are of great benefit to the existing community you have to remember that books on shelves in libraries and book stores essentially give advertising to a product, thus why commercial companies usually have to contract people to write for them, it's unlikely somebody like Martin Fowler (or any other author) will give them that kind of exposure for free.

Eclipse on the other hand is an open source free product which is why people write books for it essentially for free (other than the money they get from sales etc) and why so many books are out there. People are usually happy to give exposure to a free product.

On a side note, there has been some talk of writing a community book here in the past which JetBrains could then get published. I'm not sure what if anything has happened to progress this idea.

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Rob Bradley wrote:

We've been through this quite a lot here in the forums. Basically the reason there are a ton of books for Eclipse and none for IDEA is that IDEA is a commercial product and as such will generally have to commission people to write books for it.

Although books are of great benefit to the existing community you have to remember that books on shelves in libraries and book stores essentially give advertising to a product, thus why commercial companies usually have to contract people to write for them, it's unlikely somebody like Martin Fowler (or any other author) will give them that kind of exposure for free.


I want to note that Martin Fowler says in his book "Patterns of Enterprise Application Architecture" that he was using IDEA 2 while
writing it.

/Kreiger

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Yes but to write a whole book on something is different from just mentioing you use it.

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By the way I'm not suggesting Martin Fowler or anybody else would be unwilling to write a book on IDEA, obviously I don't speak for Martin, I'm merely saying that it's very unlikely any author (especially one of Martin's caliber) would write a book on IDEA without JetBrains commissioning him to do so.

Don't forget that things like the JetBrains logo and even the name IntelliJ IDEA itself are trademarks / copyright so effectively an author could risk being in breach of the law if they wrote a book without JetBrains permission / commission to do so.

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My friends who have written books for commercial products weren't commissioned by the vendor. The publisher commissioned them to write the book because the product was popular and the book would sell. Additionally most writers I know write technical books to drive consulting services not to make money or to give back to the community. Although people like Martin Fowler get paid better than most for their books they still do it to drive their consulting business.

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I'm assuming the publisher needed to get approval from the vendors before they commissioned somebody to write a book though? Otherwise surely they could be in breach of copyright should a vendor wish to take them to court (for example if they didn't think the book portrayed their product particularly well)?

I have to admit I have no experience in the publishing industry myself so I'm just giving my general thoughts on it. I'm very interested to hear what your views are, especially if they contradict my own, as you sound like somebody with a little insight into the publishing industry.

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I think that someone should create a plugin that edits somekind of text based book format that we could check in and out of CVS. That way the EAP people can add to this "Book" while working with the IDE. Just a thought. Thanks.

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Nice idea but I would say that this is already covered by the IDEA Wiki
Site - www.intellij.org

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Michael Garza wrote:

I think that someone should create a plugin that edits somekind of text based book format that we could check in and out of CVS. That way the EAP people can add to this "Book" while working with the IDE. Just a thought. Thanks.

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To actually answer your question - The best source to get started is find an existing plugin that does similar sorts of things you want yours to do - then get the source code.

Poke around the Open API Javadocs.

Go to www.intellij.org and browse around the Wiki - there is some intro material on getting started.

While it would be nice to have a HOW-TO book, I wrote my two plugins by following other examples and just plain experimentation and poking around.

Enjoy,
Rick

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And after all, thats half the fun of it :)

N.

Rick Maddy wrote:

I wrote my two plugins by following other examples and just plain experimentation and poking around.

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True, but that is an external resource. I'm a lazy person and I would be more inclined to write something if it was available in the IDE with one keystroke. :) I guess what I would really like to see is a more interactive help system that the users can update and make changes to.

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Rob Bradley wrote:

Don't forget that things like the JetBrains logo and even the name IntelliJ IDEA itself are trademarks / copyright so effectively an author could risk being in breach of the law if they wrote a book without JetBrains permission / commission to do so.

Fortunately, that's not how trademark and copyright law work. Anyone is
free to write such books and manuals as long as they don't claim to be
'official'. You can write whatever you want about Coca Cola as long as
nobody thinks you represent the Coca Cola company. "Buy my official Coca
Cola(tm) book" would be trademark infringement. "Buy my book about Coca
Cola(tm)" is perfectly cool. It could even say "I don't like Coca
Cola(tm)," and there's no problem. It's just an opinion.
Certainly a book titled 'Contributing to IntelliJ IDEA(tm)' would be
just fine.

--
Rob Harwood
Software Developer
JetBrains Inc.
http://www.jetbrains.com
"Develop with pleasure!"

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Rob Bradley wrote:

I'm assuming the publisher needed to get approval from the vendors before they commissioned somebody to write a book though? Otherwise surely they could be in breach of copyright should a vendor wish to take them to court (for example if they didn't think the book portrayed their product particularly well)?

Again, it's just opinion. There's nothing the company can do. You could
get in trouble from making false factual claims, but that's under
different law than copyright/trademark. The issue with trademark is that
a symbol (word or picture) is valuable property because it is associated
with your business or product. It protects the owner of the trademark
from other people using the same symbol to promote their own business or
product through association with the owner's business/product. It does
not protect businesses or products from being criticized, described, or
otherwise commented on. I would guess Hani would be in a lot of trouble
if it weren't for free speech.

--
Rob Harwood
Software Developer
JetBrains Inc.
http://www.jetbrains.com
"Develop with pleasure!"

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Thanks for the information Rob, that's worth knowing. At least it clarifies my (somewhat misguided) thoughts on the matter. :)

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Hello Rob,

By the way I'm not suggesting Martin Fowler or anybody else would be
unwilling to write a book on IDEA, obviously I don't speak for Martin,
I'm merely saying that it's very unlikely any author (especially one
of Martin's caliber) would write a book on IDEA without JetBrains
commissioning him to do so.

Don't forget that things like the JetBrains logo and even the name
IntelliJ IDEA itself are trademarks / copyright so effectively an
author could risk being in breach of the law if they wrote a book
without JetBrains permission / commission to do so.


If somebody writes a comprehensive book about IntelliJ IDEA, etc.... I have ZERO doubt that they'd have problems getting any kind of permission from JetBrains. I would suggest if somebody is interested in doing so, use the IntelliJ Overview as a "guide" and start writing ;) We'll even help with the editing and error/facts checking....

David

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