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Best IDE for Java

 
Greenhorn
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I am very new to Java and programming in general. What is the best FREE IDE to use for a Noob?
 
author & internet detective
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Eclipse IDE VI Editor Java
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Jimmy,
Welcome to CodeRanch!

"Best" is incredibly subjective. In fact, Scott and I are giving a talk this month called "IDE Wars."

I recommend learning Eclipse or IntellIj as your first IDE though.
 
Greenhorn
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I like Eclipse.  I didn't like Netbeans when I tried it many years ago.  Is it still around? Intellij seems to be popular but not free I believe.
 
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I swear by NetBeans. I hear good things about IntelliJ IDEA, but I haven't tried it yet. I really dislike Eclipse.

As you can see, opinions vary. Since you're not yet used to any single one, you might install them side by side and try to do the same small project in all of them, to see how they compare.

For me, the most important reason to use NetBeans is that it interfaces with Maven seamlessly. It understands Maven projects without adding a lot of its own configuration.
 
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For an absolute beginner I would recommend using no IDE at all.

IDE's are great and afford you a lot of conveniences but they do so by hiding a great deal of complexity, which is awesome but only if you understand the complexity that's being hidden, otherwise you just have gaps in your understanding. By starting with no IDE and just a simple text editor you are exposed to the whole picture and will help your core understanding of how the Java compiler and runtime environment really work. Once you've got a good handle on this and the compiling and running process becomes boring and monotonous to you then it's time to bring in a good IDE to do that stuff for you.

Personally I think Intellij is the top of the Java IDE pile. Even the free 'Community Edition' is a great IDE and includes a set of refactor tools that are brilliant. You'll probably not use any of those refactor tools for a long time but when you do you'll see what I mean.
 
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Tim Cooke wrote:. . . no IDE at all.

Tim is right. Until you are confident at setting the CLASSPATH via the command line, avoid IDEs. I think, the only beginners who should use IDEs are people whose spelling is verry bbad; you can use the spellcheck and autocomplete features of the IDE to correct your spellings.

IDE's are great . . . .

. . . and people mentioned Eclipse IntelliJ and NetBeans. They are all good. I use Eclipse because I am more familiar with it than the others, and because it has a different compiler whose error messages I like.
 
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Matthew Keller wrote:Intellij seems to be popular but not free I believe.


IntelliJ IDEA has two versions: a paid one and a free one, which they call the Community Version.  
 
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When I started out, I gave both Eclipse and IntelliJ a go. Personally, I found the latter to be more convenient for me. I can't say why that is. It just comes down to personal preference I guess.

I'd say: test them out and see what you like.  
 
Jimmy Smitherson
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Thanks for all of y'all's help. I believe that I will give both Eclipse or IntellIj a shot.
 
Rancher
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There is also BlueJ, my uni uses it for teaching basics of OOP

 
Campbell Ritchie
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I have suffered BlueJ too. It ran out of capabilities once I started using multiple packages, I didn't like it myself.
 
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