With the 4.0 release nearing, I'm growing a bit concerned about one particular aspect of Idea performance. About 60% of the time when Idea is in the background and I bring it to the foreground by either clicking somewhere on its UI or by alt tabbing to it, the application exhibits highly annoying behavior.
Symptom 1) The entire window blinks at least once, sometimes twice. By blinking, I mean it loses and regains focus; almost as if it was displaying an invisible dialog box (like a progress bar) and then closing it. Could it be that the “Updating Modified Files” dialog box that was used in earlier builds wasn't really taken out, but was instead just made invisible? I hope not.
Symptom 2) Idea beeps. This almost always happens when I click on the UI to bring it to the foreground and happens about 50% of the time when I alt-tab to bring it up. If you'd like an example of the beep I'm talking about, do this. Click “File:Open File” from the main menu to open a file chooser dialog box. Now, with that dialog box open, try to click somewhere on the main application window. On Linux, at least, I get an error beep. This further supports the theory from above that an invisible dialog box is being opened when Idea gets brought to the foreground.
Ok, so now you're saying “so what?” The “so what” is that this is a complete flow stopper and goes against all kinds of UI rules. I cannot click on the Idea UI and expect it to respond consistently. Even if it responded in manner I didn't like but at least did so consistently I could learn to live with it. As it is, I never know if a mouse click or a keyboard shortcut is going to return the response that it's supposed to.
I develop web applications which means that I usually don't run my application from inside Idea. I usually run it externally and use the developed app through a browser. This means that I'm going back and forth between Idea and other windows on my desktop a lot. A whole heck of a lot.
Example 1) I have a browser window in the foreground with Idea peeking out from behind. I try to double click an ant task in the idea window. occasionally (and less often with later builds) this works, but more than likely I get a beep and the Idea window blinks a couple of times so I have to wait until I think it's done and try again. If I time it wrong and attempt to click the task again too early it doesn't work and I just get more and more frustrated.
Example 2) I alt tab back to the Idea window from another app and start typing. Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn't. When it doesn't, I have to stop my flow and wait for the window to stop blinking and give me focus again while try to figure out what did and didn't make it into the editor window.
To say this is annoying is the understatement of the year
No other app on my desktop behaves in this manner. I can perfectly understand when an app was put in disk swap space and therefore takes a few seconds to load back up. All applications have this problem and that's why I have loaded up my development machine with as much memory as possible, but what's happening here is something different.
By the way, turning off “Synchronize Files on Frame Activation” has no effect. The following Tracker requests and forum threads may be related to the problem:
Just to gain some perspective, I loaded up good 'ole 3.04 today and worked on my project there instead of in Aurora, While I desperately missed some of the CVS enhancements, I experienced none of the oddities I bring up here and Idea worked just like any other app on my desktop.
I apologize for the length of this post, but I feel that is a critical issue. The way that this problem keeps me from working in the manner to which I am accustomed has made my eye wander to alternative IDEs for the first time in over 2 1/2 years. I'm not sure I could live without my daily Idea fix, but I may have to find out.