After some years with Eclipse, circumstances led me to try IntelliJ. It's now six months later. After this period, I can only conclude that both IntelliJ and Eclipse are very capable IDE's. In this post I look back at some features I loved in Eclipse, but are missing in IntelliJ. What is your experience with IDE's?
Which features are absolutely essential for you?
The features I like about Eclipse:
- Multiple project support. With Eclipse, you can open and close projects independent of each other, in the same workspace. With IntelliJ, I have to open two windows if I want to open two projects. This takes up a lot of screen estate when developing plugins for our project.
- Plugins. Many IntelliJ plugins are not working with the latest version. On the other hand, Eclipse has a ton of good, working plugins with very cool features. To name a few: we use the JPDL designer plugin a lot, EclEmma for code coverage, and the excellent Mylyn.
- Javadocs. The Javadoc browser of Eclipse is slightly better than the IntelliJ Javadoc support. It's easier to browse within the documentation and due to the flexibility of the Eclipse UI you can easily change the location of the Javadoc tab.
- UI flexibility. Looking back, Eclipse has an extremely flexible user interface. Every pane is resizable and can be moved to any container. It is adaptable to all developer habits.
- Open source. I love open source. The ability to peek in the source code has led to many great things. If it's broken, I can fix it myself. Or someone else can fix it for me. With open source, you are not dependent on one company to do all the fixing.
Somehow people have the strange habit of looking at what they don't have.. The grass on the other side of the fence is always greener!
So, what is your experience with IDE's? Which features are absolutely essential for you?
(By the way, I don't mean to start another IDE war! Both IntelliJ IDEA and Eclipse are nice IDE's with features that stand out. IntelliJ has great Maven support, a good debugger and a pretty consistent UI. I like both IntelliJ and Eclipse a lot.)