It has its rough edges, the UI is no longer polished, usability is below par and getting worse (still above its competitors, but far from perfect).
The issues I name here are just examples and none is critical by itself, still I have only worked an hour with Idea today, and just put down the issues I noticed in that short period of time.
What I really want is to urge JetBrains to take it more seriously themselves and maybe take a step back and try to get a fresh impression.
All of us long-term Idea users have come to live with a lot of oddities without ever noticing. Yet having significantly less of these quirks than other applications was what made Idea really stand out.
And please finish each feature in the same release that introduces it, from my point of view the EAP is there to help you with it. (E.g. the module feature was introduced in 4.0, right? It will only become usable with 5.0, e.g. taking module dependencies into account when refactoring, give warning when a required path variable isn't set.
As a consequence I usually just click more or less randomly until the result is what I wanted.
Note: Off course I do understand the behaviour and controls if I think about it. But hey, a good UI should be usable without making me explicitly think about its principles.
===> I propose three radio buttons "fixed", "sliding", "floating" (with icons instead the usual dot of course), plus a fourth, visually separated 'hide' action button.
Nice and clean: Three states -> three buttons. The window is always in a single state, i.e. a single button is selected. No changing of icons or buttons.
When somebody in our team adds a new module to our project and forgets to shout and tell about it, everybody in the team has a lot of fun fixing their local copy of the project after doing a cvs update and reopening the project. I have to quit idea, get a clean copy of the project file from CVS, check out the new module on a command line, and restart idea to reload the project.
===> If a module that is referenced in a project file is locally missing, offer to check it out from VCS before continuing the project load.
===> Idea should instead open the project tree view by default.
===> The file system tree should always be accompanied with an editable text field.
Even worse when I have to select the remote folder in a check out: It's not possible type in the folder name, but I have to browse (e.g. trying to check out a project from java.net requires a lot of patience because the server is slow and there is no way of directly typing a folder name to check out).
===> Have a collapse toolbar button.
In a find, even if the next occurence is only three lines below, Idea insists of scrolling the editor buffer, always causing disorientation for a fraction of a second. I have argued that issue before, but even though no other editor I know of has this strange behaviour, JetBrainers insisted that the Idea-way is more usable for me.
It misses the wow factors. Well, this has been discussed before, just my two cents on the subject:
- The IDETalk plugin is an incredible useful and innovative idea. How come that innovation is happening elsewhere?
- No profiler. NetBeans already includes one. Still idea could stand out from the competition by adding a profiler. I for one could even live with a higher price tag.
Ok, to be fair here's a single feature that stands out, making Idea shine: Inspections. Thanks, Dave!