IntelliJ vs. Eclipse

I have purchased and used intellij as my primary ide ]]>

I have used intellij and eclipse now and IMHO they are both really good IDE's. They seem to share many features like refactoring, code inspections ect.

I have only used eclipse a couple of times, I primarily use intellij. So here is my question(s)

What is it about intellij that makes it a better IDE. Please post "REAL" answers/features not "I don't like their interface"


What is it about eclipse that makes it a better IDE. To think that any single IDE truely dominates another in every way is probably not realistic.

I also don't want to start a feature request thread but I would like to see what features people are using in each that I may be missing.

66 comments

What make IDEA better than Eclipse for me is usability. In eclipse you
need to do a lot of mouse clicks (some things only seem to work with the
mouse, not the keyboard!) to find usages, to jump to method implementations
and so on. Since I use these functions a lot in IDEA, it makes my work very
hard with Eclipse.

But eclipse surely has some features, that are not or better implemented
(as) in IDEA (but I can't remember them).

Tom


On Fri, 9 May 2003 18:12:20 +0000 (UTC), charles decroes <spam@decroes.com>
wrote:

<disclaimer>
I have purchased and used intellij as my primary ide
</disclaimer>

>

I have used intellij and eclipse now and IMHO they are both really good
IDE's. They seem to share many features like refactoring, code
inspections ect.

>

I have only used eclipse a couple of times, I primarily use intellij. So
here is my question(s)

>

What is it about intellij that makes it a better IDE. Please post "REAL"
answers/features not "I don't like their interface"

>
>

What is it about eclipse that makes it a better IDE. To think that any
single IDE truely dominates another in every way is probably not
realistic.

>

I also don't want to start a feature request thread but I would like to
see what features people are using in each that I may be missing.

>



--
Using M2, Opera's revolutionary e-mail client: http://www.opera.com/m2/

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Eclipse doesn't think like I do, IDEA does. More specifically, IDEA allows me to work the way I want. Eclipse tends to push towards its own paradigm of "how to develop".

It took me < 5 minutes to import my project into IDEA. It took much longer to get started with Eclipse.

Eclipse currently has a better selection of mature plugins available, making it even more powerful. IDEA has a few that I use, but they don't seem as complete or polished.

Performance with Eclipse seems better to me most of the time, though performance with IDEA isn't generally "bad", it does occasionally become annoying.

The responsiveness of the IDEA developers is the best. And you can usually count on them doing stuff right. And they keep surprising me with features that I hadn't thought of, that I never thought I'd need and suddenly can't live without.

I like them both, but see no reason to switch from IDEA. The main reason being my first, which is that I have an impedence mismatch with Eclipse.

--Tim

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I like IDEA because I can figure out how to use it within 5 minutes and without having to read the documentation.

I keep hearing good things about Eclipse but I tried to install it on Linux and the install failed (granted it was a while ago but still). I installed it once on OS X and couldn't figure out how to work with it.

I need my IDE to get out of the way, IDEA provides great support for what I need, works reasonably well on my platform of choice (OS X) whereas I couldn't get things done in Eclipse fast enough that I would consider using it.

I don't have enough time to spend on learning how to use an IDE even if it might be superior in the long term. To me, regardless of how powerful it is, if the IDE is constantly in my face or if I have to think about what to do instead of focusing on my design and code, then it's not worth it.

Then again, it might just have been a matter of bad timing for Eclipse and I might not have been persistent enough but I believe a great IDE (or GUI for that matter) shouldn't require you to be persistent for you to be able to reap its benefits. To me, IDEA is superior with that respect.

Best,
Chris

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This is a good discussion for me right now. My work is trying to come up with "standards" for developers, basically it involves deciding what tools every developer will use. For Java, it looks like it is going to be Eclipse (much to my disappointment). I'm unable to make any headway in the discussion simply because everyone around here
1). is in love with Eclipse
2). hasn't used IDEA since version 2.5

I've been busy working with other systems/languages in the meanwhile, so I haven't done any work with Java for quite a while, so I feel like I'm out of the IntelliJ loop. Any arguments you can give me to push for IntelliJ would be greatly appreciated. (at the very least, I still want to be able to use it, perhaps even by paying for a license myself; but I would much rather they endorse both Eclipse and IntelliJ) Thanks!

Tobin

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1). is in love with Eclipse

There are several reasons why so much people are in love with Eclipse
1. It's for free
2. It's open source
3. It's IBM
4. It has a great plugin architecture that can also be used for other applications

None of those reasons are really that good
To 1.: If you are a professional in software development and software development is what raises your balance each month you (either yourself if you are a freeelancer or the company you are working for) should be able to pay a reasonable price for the tool you use the most time in your work. Sadly, people don't see it that way. You can tell them how expensive JBuilder is compared to IDEA, they'll still say "Eclipse is for free".

To 2.: This is the illusion that you can change something if it doesn't work the way it should. An IDE is a very complex system. You would need lots of time to understand the basic of how the system works. Have you ever looked into Eclipse's source. I have. The part I have seen was really cruel.

To 3.: People are working in projects for customers that have IBM people in the management. So it's "If you do a project here, you do it with IBM products". When they come out of such a project, they only know Eclipse, WebSphere and DB2. No matter how good or bad that products are they'll take IBM for the next project because that's what they know. It's like a virus.

To 4.: That one is true. The plugin-architecture is great and it bears a great potential. It's a new kind of modularization that goes beyond classes and packages. But you can use it for your applications without using the Eclipse IDE. The Eclipse Plattform and the Eclipse IDE are two different IDEs.

As an afterthought: IBM comes out with a big product now and then. You remember San Francisco. In Eclipse 2.1 they have copied some of IDEA's features. So they catch up. I'm waiting for the time when they also spoil Ecllpse with too many wizards and so on.

Upps! Seems I've got too much wine this evening. This tends to make me melancholy for some reason.

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On Fri, 09 May 2003 18:12:20 +0000, charles decroes wrote:

I have only used eclipse a couple of times, I primarily use intellij. So
here is my question(s)

What is it about intellij that makes it a better IDE. Please post "REAL"
answers/features not "I don't like their interface"


Personally - I find Idea runs faster, and is more responsive that Eclipse.
And well, I don't like Eclipses interface, its nice and pretty and looks
really pollished, but I also found that its concepts of perspectives
rather annoying, esp. how sometimes things I'd expect to stay on one
perspective suddenly consume space in another ( my code windows started to
grow smaller and smaller till I was just....... deep breath).

Ok - one thing I realllllly love about IntelliJ Idea - Intention Actions.
Someone once said that unlike JBuilder, Idea doesn't really have many
wizards, that may be so, but I think Idea does - it even has MORE wizards.
Its just the way their presented, as small inobtrusive intention actions
is really smart.



--
...turn to the light - don't be frightened by the shadows it creates,
...turn to the light - turning away could be a terrible mistake
...dream theater - the great debate


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On Fri, 09 May 2003 21:19:04 +0000, Tobin Juday wrote:

This is a good discussion for me right now. My work is trying to come up
with "standards" for developers, basically it involves deciding what tools
every developer will use. For Java, it looks like it is going to
be Eclipse (much to my disappointment). I'm unable to make any headway in


I don't think it really matters what IDE one uses ( its great all be
consistent thou ) but having a standard build process certainly is the way
to go. Ant, with an Anthill automated build server makes things soooo
much easier.


--
...turn to the light - don't be frightened by the shadows it creates,
...turn to the light - turning away could be a terrible mistake
...dream theater - the great debate


0

I've been using IDEA for about 2 years and so am pretty entrenched - i like what's familiar - pretty much everyone else where I work uses Eclipse (mainly because its free I expect).

From what I see Eclipse is definitely catching up in terms of ease of use, refactorings, usability searches, quick access to classes but I don't think its there yet.

I still have a lot of problems with IDEA causing my whole PC to freeze on a fairly regular basis - Eclipse used to do that to, but apparently its much better now - part of the problem there is probably our overly large code base (> 6000 classes). Plus in the last few months, I seem to be prone to having the debugger crashing on me when I'm debugging my appserver. Again that used to happen in Eclipse but doesn't seem to now. Both of these issues could be related to my environment rather than the IDE.

The one area that affects me that Eclipse outshines IDEA in is CVS integration. Hoping that's going to improve soon.

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On Fri, 09 May 2003 22:59:02 +0000, Martin Bayly wrote:

The one area that affects me that Eclipse outshines IDEA in is CVS
integration. Hoping that's going to improve soon.


When I first used Eclipse I was in awe of the CVS stuff - but also found
it quite a pain to use productivly. If I just wanted to commit a single
file, it insisted on scanning the entire project tree for things to
commit, or update, which often took awhile, quite annoying.


--
...turn to the light - don't be frightened by the shadows it creates,
...turn to the light - turning away could be a terrible mistake
...dream theater - the great debate


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Each time there is a major release of Eclipse, I try it. an hour later, I'm back with IDEA ....

The simple reason is that IDEA works the same as I do, and Eclipse doesn't. Some don't agree, they're obviously wrong ... :), but that's fair enough.


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I don't think it really matters what IDE one uses (
its great all be
consistent thou ) but having a standard build process
certainly is the way
to go. Ant, with an Anthill automated build server
makes things soooo
much easier.


I used to think that...

It matters because
1) When I have to help someone that doesn't have IDEA, I have to sit there and watch them try to do a "find usages" using grep and vi....It's a waste of time.
2) When I want to find the value of a variable I have to sit there and wait for them to put in a print statement.
3) When they just don't get what I mean, and I need to drive, I don't know any of the keyboard shortcuts, and am basically useless.

If you work in a highly collaborative team environment (for example, use pair programming), then standardizing on one or 2 development environments is critical. Otherwise it becomes almost impossible to help people when they need it.

I recently spent a day trying to help a colleague, and I finally gave up, and just created a view in my environment so we could debug it. Took us about 3 hours once that was set up to resolve all his issues.

It makes a difference.

Mike

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IDEA works the way I do .....


This is just a hair better than 'I just like it'. Drill down a bit. What in IDEA works the way you do. Here's my list (not exhaustive, but a start):

1 - Cross platform. I work on Windows and Linux at work and OSX at home, and migrate projects across all three.
2 - IDEAs handling of multiple code styles and style options. Important in a large project.
3 - Code editor conveniences. Setting breakpoints, bookmarks, and displaying errors, warnings, etc. Efficient use of screen and immediate. Allows me to jump to problems in the code without compiling or a wizard.
4 - ANT build management. I'm in here alot. I like quick access to all my builds and the ability to fold them away.
5 - Code folding. I started using IDEA before folding, now don't know what I'd do without it.
6 - CVS integration. Much better than NetBeans, don't know where this is WRT Eclipse. Wasn't sure I'd like the new approach in Aurora, but have grown to love the Project checkin panel. If they only allowed adding binary files.
7 - Slide out panels make great use of screen.
8 - JUnit integration - especially in Aurora. Nothing I've seen gets close to this for large test suites.

- Other Comments -

I like IDEA because I have to pay for it. Yep, that's right. I can count on support from JetBrains and these guys (except for the Easter gap) have been excellent in keeping momentum. I make my living doing Java development architecture, and instruction. I like the fact that Eclipse and NetBeans are there and I maintain the ability to do basic project tasks with them to stay current, but my current tool of choice is IDEA. These guys charged me a fraction of what OptimalJ, Together/J, and JBuilder Enterprise cost but have delivered a competitive product I love to use. Keep it up guys.

I started using IDEA because of its memory footprint, and I hope the product doesn't lose the ability to keep a small footprint when I'm not using all the features. I've turned a whole team onto IDEA, and the price is not a burden. But I stay on top of the Eclipse features, just to keep the JetBrains folks honest. :)

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IDEA works the way I do .....


This is just a hair better than 'I just like it'. Drill down a bit. What in IDEA works the way you do. Here's my list (not exhaustive, but a start):

1 - Cross platform. I work on Windows and Linux at work and OSX at home, and migrate projects across all three.
2 - IDEAs handling of multiple code styles and style options. Important in a large project.
3 - Code editor conveniences. Setting breakpoints, bookmarks, and displaying errors, warnings, etc. Efficient use of screen and immediate. Allows me to jump to problems in the code without compiling or a wizard.
4 - ANT build management. I'm in here alot. I like quick access to all my builds and the ability to fold them away.
5 - Code folding. I started using IDEA before folding, now don't know what I'd do without it.
6 - CVS integration. Much better than NetBeans, don't know where this is WRT Eclipse. Wasn't sure I'd like the new approach in Aurora, but have grown to love the Project checkin panel. If they only allowed adding binary files.
7 - Slide out panels make great use of screen.
8 - JUnit integration - especially in Aurora. Nothing I've seen gets close to this for large test suites.

- Other Comments -

I like IDEA because I have to pay for it. Yep, that's right. I can count on support from JetBrains and these guys (except for the Easter gap) have been excellent in keeping momentum. I make my living doing Java development architecture, and instruction. I like the fact that Eclipse and NetBeans are there and I maintain the ability to do basic project tasks with them to stay current, but my current tool of choice is IDEA. These guys charged me a fraction of what OptimalJ, Together/J, and JBuilder Enterprise cost but have delivered a competitive product I love to use. Keep it up guys.

I started using IDEA because of its memory footprint, and I hope the product doesn't lose the ability to keep a small footprint when I'm not using all the features. I've turned a whole team onto IDEA, and the price is not a burden. But I stay on top of the Eclipse features, just to keep the JetBrains folks honest. :)

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I haven't been working in eplipse (just a few looks) but is was working in IBM's Application Developer for a while. Two things where annoying me: perspectives and CVS integration.

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Since I haven't used Eclipse in production for a while I won't comment on the difference.
However in my 15 years carrier IDEA is the only IDE that people naturally adopt without threats and begging.

However I wanted to point out something that Kent Beck and Erik Gamma were working on that I believe would make me want to try eclipse: A new junit integration that would make tests part of the incremental build. As you may know the eclipse incremental compiler compiles on save and only compiles affected units. They want to do the same on the tests. The incremental build would run the affected tests only, automatically.
We have systems that have 1000s of unit tests that run in tens of minutes (not that it is a great example ;-( ). Having the tool figure out which unit tests to rerun might be a very big time saver.
Obviously I do not know how this would work with hidden dependencies (Class.forname, reflection,...)

Just some food for thoughts and maybe JetBrains could implement this as well (hint, hint ;)

Jacques

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>> This is just a hair better than 'I just like it'. <<

I'll have to disagree with you there.

"It works the way I do" ;I can't think of a better reason to pick one IDE over another.

As it happens though, I do have a few others:

Speed - yes, I know that Eclipse should be faster, but in the areas that I'm interested in, it's very slow. Even with the new 'optimisation', IDEA can still read in and parse a large project, several times faster than Eclipse. The last Eclipse build I tried (about a month ago), took about ten minutes to open a project.

Ease of use - Eclipse developers have invented a whole new set of terms to explain how their IDE works. With IDEA, I just .. started using it. It just works, without me having to think about.

The little things - like if I hit return in the middle of a string constant, it adds the "+" sign and fixes the indentation. Copying in a block of text automatically adds the necessary import statements. The small, fun stuff you discover by accident.

The integrated code repository - takes a bit of getting used to, but has saved my bacon on a number of occasions.

Support from JetBrains - which I've always found to be very good.

The look and feel is a also very pleasant on the eye.

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>>The little things - like if I hit return in the middle of a string
constant, it adds the "+" sign and fixes the indentation.


I found this one the other day while working on some JDBC stuff and a really
long SQL statement. You had to see the smile on my face.

:)

These guys rock.


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The little things - like if I hit return in the middle of a string
constant, it adds the "+" sign and fixes the indentation. Copying in a
block of text automatically adds the necessary import statements. The
small, fun stuff you discover by accident.


The crowd of these little nice things are the outstanding features.
Unfortunately nothing, that can be put on a features-page; you only find
them when using IDEA on a regulary base.

Tom

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I have been using IDEA since pre 2.0 and even converted a company to it
(without evangelism, they saw me using it ;) but currently I'm in a
mostly-eclipse shop so I spent considerable time with the latter too and
I feel I can compare the two.

IDEA wins on:
customizable keybindings
very rich editor colorings (eg fields, statics)
code formatting options
mousless navigability
javadoc error checking
rename refactorings
smart code completion

ECLIPSE wins on:
multiple debugger instances
VSS plugin
better usage of screen estate
search of overloaded methods/constructors
available plugins
price of course

BOTH have nice:
ANT integration
JUNIT integration


At the end of the day, because the editor usability is what makes me
comfortable, fo me IDEA wins by large.
The rest of team is happy with Eclipse, but I must say taht because of
the fancy coding convention in force, they seem happy to type and format
code by hand - exactly what drives me crazy ;)

Edo


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I also worked on a large team (30+) which did not use a standard environment. Tools used included IDEA, Eclipse, JBuilder, JEdit, and emacs. We were pretty successful. We got around the collaboration issue by not collaborating very much. Worked like a charm ;)

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>> This is just a hair better than 'I just like it'.
<<

I'll have to disagree with you there.


I think you missed my point. I fully agree with you on the slogan support. It really is true (which is rare in this marketing age). However, I do believe that it is for many reasons that IDEA works the way many developers do. Merely trying to encourage some of these behaviors to be conveyed.

I did find it interesting this weekend to run across a refactoring plugin for NetBeans. Upon some further browsing the refactoring plugin alone (which did look very good) was more than half the cost of IDEA.

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Yes, editing SQL statements is how I discovered it.

In fact, I'd hit the return key and I did about two more SQL statements before I realised what it was doing. That's what I mean; IDEA just blends into your work.

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Jacques Morel wrote:

Having the tool figure out which unit tests to rerun might be a very big time saver.

..

Just some food for thoughts and maybe JetBrains could implement this as well (hint, hint ;)


That's an old request, begging for votes :
http://www.intellij.net/tracker/idea/viewSCR?publicId=8344

Alain Ravet


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So Alain, I did not see you votes ;) I am completely amazed that such a request has been left w/o votes for so long. Something is not right here.
Anyway I scavenged 8 of mine (which is my biggest one vote for any of the requests I voted for). Who will be next?
I will give 10 of my precious votes to the next voter... (to vote on that request again ;)

Jacques

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Jacques Morel wrote:
> So Alain, I did not see you votes ;)

I know, I know, .. At the time of the posting - December -, I didn't
believe in the voting system, as anybody could post a "Add a Save
file/Save all action" request, and cast its 100 votes on it.


> I am completely amazed that such a request has been left w/o votes
for so long. Something is not right here.
I am totally flabbergasted too.

Alain

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search of overloaded methods/constructors


Interesting. I don't remember I saw this feature. What's it?

--
Valentin Kipiatkov
JetBrains, Inc
http://www.intellij.com
"Develop with pleasure!"


"Edoardo Comar" <e.comar.no.spam@no.spam.btinternet.com> wrote in message
news:b9nppf$udq$1@is.intellij.net...

I have been using IDEA since pre 2.0 and even converted a company to it
(without evangelism, they saw me using it ;) but currently I'm in a
mostly-eclipse shop so I spent considerable time with the latter too and
I feel I can compare the two.

>

IDEA wins on:
customizable keybindings
very rich editor colorings (eg fields, statics)
code formatting options
mousless navigability
javadoc error checking
rename refactorings
smart code completion

>

ECLIPSE wins on:
multiple debugger instances
VSS plugin
better usage of screen estate
search of overloaded methods/constructors
available plugins
price of course

>

BOTH have nice:
ANT integration
JUNIT integration

>
>

At the end of the day, because the editor usability is what makes me
comfortable, fo me IDEA wins by large.
The rest of team is happy with Eclipse, but I must say taht because of
the fancy coding convention in force, they seem happy to type and format
code by hand - exactly what drives me crazy ;)

>

Edo

>
>


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This one? :)
http://www.intellij.net/tracker/idea/viewSCR?publicId=8252

"Valentin Kipiatkov" <valentin@intellij.com> wrote in message
news:b9tc5u$7sk$1@is.intellij.net...

search of overloaded methods/constructors

>

Interesting. I don't remember I saw this feature. What's it?

>

--
Valentin Kipiatkov
JetBrains, Inc
http://www.intellij.com
"Develop with pleasure!"

>


0

Here are a couple of mine. I use intellij 90% of the time so I may be one sided.

IntelliJ
1. Shows the little O to the left when I override a method.

2. MUCH easier to setup a project.


Eclipse
1. Looks for accessing static methods through instance variables. EG MyType v = new MyType(); v.staticMethodCall();

Eclipse will flag that and say it should be MyType.staticMethodCall();


2. Eclipse will look for problems and show it at the package level

3. Eclipse has a plugin for my VCS (mks). I'm hoping that once the intellij publishes the new plugin API that mks will create one.


One great thing about this discussion is I have learned a couple new things about intellij. One problem I have is not knowing about features like the sql thing mentioned earlier.

I guess I need to start reading the "Tip of the Day" :)

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Eclipse
1. Looks for accessing static methods through instance variables. EG

MyType v = new MyType(); v.staticMethodCall();
>

Eclipse will flag that and say it should be MyType.staticMethodCall();


Just posted a request for this
(http://www.intellij.net/tracker/idea/viewSCR?publicId=12165). We'll easily
implement it for Aurora. Thanks.

--
Valentin Kipiatkov
JetBrains, Inc
http://www.intellij.com
"Develop with pleasure!"

"charles decroes" <spam@decroes.com> wrote in message
news:27067230.1052916390589.JavaMail.jrun@is.intellij.net...

Here are a couple of mine. I use intellij 90% of the time so I may be one

sided.
>

IntelliJ
1. Shows the little O to the left when I override a method.

>

2. MUCH easier to setup a project.

>
>

Eclipse
1. Looks for accessing static methods through instance variables. EG

MyType v = new MyType(); v.staticMethodCall();
>

Eclipse will flag that and say it should be MyType.staticMethodCall();

>
>

2. Eclipse will look for problems and show it at the package level

>

3. Eclipse has a plugin for my VCS (mks). I'm hoping that once the

intellij publishes the new plugin API that mks will create one.
>
>

One great thing about this discussion is I have learned a couple new

things about intellij. One problem I have is not knowing about features
like the sql thing mentioned earlier.
>

I guess I need to start reading the "Tip of the Day" :)



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wow i'm really impressed, thats service!!!!

thanks

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