IDE stands for Integrated Development Environment and is meant to be a single place where developers can develop and test their applications. In short an IDE is a tool to increase developers productivity.
An IDE essentially comes with some basic features – Text Editor, Debugger, Interpreter and compiler. It can also support in Code completion, Searching through the files system, getting reference of the calling function/method and so on.
Java is one of most popular languages of our time. A novice way of learning java programming is to type the code in a text utility and then compile and run it from command prompt or terminal depending upon the Operating System in use.
But a plain text editor doesn’t help in increasing the productivity. So an IDE is a natural choice for serious programmers. Here is a compilation of the best IDEs available for Java Developers. Most of these are feature rich and comes with plugins of all sorts to increase the number of features whenever you want to. At different phases in my career, I have had to use one of these IDEs.
Best IDE for Java Developers
Eclipse is the most widely used IDE. In most of my projects I have had to use Eclipse. You can ask any Java Developer and they would easily tell you about this IDE. Eclipse also has a very vibrant community. So if you have any issues or queries on using the IDE, you can easily get the answer readily available online. Eclipse also has one of the largest repositories of plugins, which can be downloaded from eclipse marketplace and used. It comes handy with numerous shortcut keys that make your task of working with eclipse ridiculously easy. It comes for free, what more you can ask for?
Another free Java IDE. It has a rich history that dates back to 1996 and has have since grown more feature rich and powerful. NetBeans was opensourced by Sun Microsystem. Sun Microsystem was later acquired by Oracle.
In NetBeans IDE the functions are basically treated as modules. Modules provide the functions like editing or integration. If you are looking out for a free premium class IDE, go for NetBeans.
IntelliJ IDEA is a Java IDE developed by JetBrains. IDEA is one of the most popular IDE for Java developers. It comes in two different editions – Ultimate Edition, and Community Edition, which are free. In my opinion IDEA is the most intelligent
IDE for Java Developers. The IDE seems to be aware of the context while doing code auto-completion. In case of eclipse the IDE throws you a myriad sets of options, but IDEA gives you the correct context based option to choose. If you want an IDE that is smart and free , go for IntelliJ IDEA community edition.
While I was working at Oracle Corporation, I used this IDE and this is developed at Oracle itself. It’s a very user friendly IDE, comes with wide range of integration with other Java/JEE framework. Though not very popular outside Organizational setup, it’s very much a cool IDE to do your Java programming. It comes at a premium.
A few years back at IBM, we used to use IBM RSA for our project work. As a matter of fact, RSA/RAD both are developed on top of eclipse, so coding experience wise it is same as eclipse. It does come with integration with in-built server support of IBM websphere and IBM Websphere MQ support. Also RAD/RSA support a few visual development tools that Eclipse doesn’t support. You also get Rational modeling tools integrated with the IDE.
Overall, I like all the IDEs, but if you ask me to pick one, my vote still goes to Eclipse. The reason for this being the ever increasing community of developers and users, the numerous plugins in Eclipse marketplace. There would be times when you get stuck in some issues while working in your project, the widespread community of eclipse does come very handy then. Let me know if you think otherwise.