What is the difference between the two formats? I can't seem to find any documentation on this.
IPR -> File based
.IDEA -> Directory based

I noticed ipr creates 3 files, and .idea creates a directory.
Are the whole contents of the directory in the 3 files?

Is there an advantage of 1 format over the other? (Load speed? Portability?)

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The directory based format (.idea) is more advantageous when storing a project in version control or otherwise sharing projects. It breaks settings into separate files. From Help > IntelliJIDEA > Concepts > Project:

Directory-Based Format project is defined by the .idea directory, located in the project root, and *.iml files. As in the standard format, *.iml files serve to describe modules. The project and workspace settings are stored in a number of XML files under the .idea directory. This allows to avoid merge conflicts when the project settings are stored in a version control system and modified by different team members. Each xml file is responsible for its own set of settings, that can be recognized by its name: compiler.xml, projectCodeStyle.xml, encodings.xml, vcs.xml etc. Thus, for example, adding a new run\debug configuration and changing encoding will affect different xml files.

Directory based structure is the newer format, and in my humble opinion, is the better way to go.

You can convert a .ipr file to a .idea project via File | Open in New (Directory-Based) Format in IDEA 8 or File | Save as Director- Based Format in IDEA 9 (and possibly later IDEA 8 versions)

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How can I open a directory-based IDEA project from Windows Explorer? Sometimes I prefer to just "click a project to open it", as I could do with the .ipr file.  It seems that now I need to first open IDEA, then open the project... Is that so?


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