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Why should I switch IDEs?

 
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Good day.

Use your best sales pitch ;-)

Tell me why I should switch from Eclipse to IntelliJ for Java development?
 
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The same question I had, I was in a great dilemma I was so accustomed to using Eclipse before.
The transition was a bit difficult for me initially and then I got the hang of it. I particularly liked the
Refactoring feature of it.

Thanks
Sundar
 
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You can do credible software development with either IDE. Or with NetBeans, just to round out the Big 3.

From my experience, however, IntelliJ is friendlier towards the everyday programmer working on everyday apps. Eclipse is generally less friendly (Your Mileage May Vary), but well adapted to doing Great Evil. Like, say, debugging 2 servers and a webapp client all at the same time, bouncing breakpoints between them. Eclipse probably holds more in the way of esoteric plugins such as COBOL application program editing and shell scripting, but IntelliJ is hardly plugin-poor itself.

On the other hand, IntelliJ is extremely friendly to Kotlin and Android development, to the point that the official IDE for the Android SDK was switched from Eclipse to IntelliJ several years ago.
 
Anthony Esposito
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These are all good answers.  But does the community version of IntelliJ come with all these features all of you have mentioned?  I/We have to compare “apples-to-apples”.  Eclipse is free and I prefer not to pay out my own pocket for an IDE.
 
meenakshi sundar
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Agreed, the exorbitant cost of a subscription scares off a lot of people from using it. If not for my company
I doubt if I would have paid and bought the license.
 
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I was an Eclipse user for many years in my early career, however the clincher that made me switch to IntelliJ was the refactor tools. The are far far far superior to those provided by Eclipse and it essentially came down to being able to trust them to do a decent job, as opposed to Eclipse where most refactor operations required a good amount of follow up to complete the job to the point where I had more confidence doing it all myself without the tools.

Everything you need for Java development is included in the free Community Edition including the amazing refactor tools.
 
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Eclipse and Netbeans offers free support for Java EE/Jakarta EE and Spring frameworks, whereas the full-featured support for enterprise frameworks like these is only in the paid (Ultimate) version of IntelliJ IDEA.  However, IntelliJ IDEA Community (the free one) supports all the "normal" stuff you want to do with Java development, e.g. refactoring, code completion, running and debugging code. You can also use it on projects that use Spring, for example (I did for many years), you just don't get all the magic (e.g. all the code suggestions) you would with Ultimate.

My recommendation is to use whichever IDE you're most comfortable with, or whichever one your team is using. If you're working with others who know their IDE pretty well, this is the best way to learn that IDE. I worked on a team where people used both Eclipse and IntelliJ IDEA, when I started there I didn't really care which one I used. By the end of my first few months there I was firmly in the IntelliJ IDEA camp (and we were using the free, Community, version). Code completion was quicker and more comprehensive, code generation was fast and covered many of the cases I needed, iterating through the TDD red-green-refactor cycle was fast and efficient. Now I use it for everything, even writing docs in markdown or asciidoc, because there's support for pretty much every language and format.

Migrating from one IDE to another will take some time, but if you take 10 minutes a day to try to learn a new shortcut or new feature, it pays off pretty quickly.
 
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Tim Cooke wrote:I was an Eclipse user for many years in my early career, however the clincher that made me switch to IntelliJ was the refactor tools. The are far far far superior to those provided by Eclipse and it essentially came down to being able to trust them to do a decent job, as opposed to Eclipse where most refactor operations required a good amount of follow up to complete the job to the point where I had more confidence doing it all myself without the tools.



I'm rather curious about that, since I've never found fault with Eclipse refactoring myself. But to each their own.

A lot of times, the IDE you use may be dictated by the shop standards where you are working.

But one of the neatest things of all is that the project metadata for Eclipse and IntelliJ is non-conflicting, so you can, if you like, define projects that can be supported equally well on either IDE.
 
Trisha Gee
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Tim Holloway wrote:

But one of the neatest things of all is that the project metadata for Eclipse and IntelliJ is non-conflicting, so you can, if you like, define projects that can be supported equally well on either IDE.



Yep, I've seen this work well on several projects
 
Tim Cooke
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I made the switch nearly 10 years ago so eclipse may have come a long way since I touched it last.
 
meenakshi sundar
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Tim Cooke wrote:I was an Eclipse user for many years in my early career, however the clincher that made me switch to IntelliJ was the refactor tools. The are far far far superior to those provided by Eclipse and it essentially came down to being able to trust them to do a decent job, as opposed to Eclipse where most refactor operations required a good amount of follow up to complete the job to the point where I had more confidence doing it all myself without the tools.

Everything you need for Java development is included in the free Community Edition including the amazing refactor tools.



On the same line, i would say the Smart code completion of  IntelliJ feature is one of the best in the industry. It provides context-aware suggestions and can even suggest code snippets based on your code structure and usage patterns.
 
Tim Holloway
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Tim Cooke wrote:I made the switch nearly 10 years ago so eclipse may have come a long way since I touched it last.

Can't recall any major refactoring changes since then, but your needs may have been different than mine.

One thing that definitely Eclipse doesn't do (out of the box, anyway) is convert Java code to Kotlin, though.
 
Tim Cooke
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I remember some of the refactorings left me with compilation failures because it didn't update all the references. Perhaps that might have been isolated to references made via Spring config rather than direct references, but whatever the detail was I found IntelliJ to handle it much better.
 
Tim Holloway
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Tim Cooke wrote:I remember some of the refactorings left me with compilation failures because it didn't update all the references. Perhaps that might have been isolated to references made via Spring config rather than direct references, but whatever the detail was I found IntelliJ to handle it much better.



Sounds credible, although I'm pretty sure that refactoring applied itself to property files at least, not just straight Java code.
 
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