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Java IDE

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Java is one of the leading programming languages. It is widely employed for developing robust and secure desktop apps, enterprise applications, mobile apps, and web applications.

There is a multitude of IDEs available for working with Java. While Eclipse, IntelliJ IDEA, and NetBeans are the big three of Java, there are numerous other IDEs for developing apps using Java in an effective way.

Best Java IDEs

Here we present you with our pick of the 13 best Java IDEs to work with. Whether you’re looking to just start with Java or seeking new Java IDEs to toy with, these are some of the finest integrated development environments to work with Java.

Platform – Linux/macOS/Windows

First Released – March 1999

BlueJ is an integrated development environment for Java. Though mainly designed with educational intent, BlueJ is apt for small-scale software development. Despite being developed as a ready-to-go IDE for beginners, the Java IDE is widely preferred by Java veterans.

The primary screen of BlueJ displays the class structure of the application under development. It also allows for interactively creating and testing objects. The multi-platform Java IDE allows programmers to interact effortlessly with objects.

Developers can call methods on objects, inspect object values, and pass objects as parameters using the BlueJ Java IDE. Other powerful Java application development features offered by BlueJ include creating dynamic objects and scanning the code visually.

Platform – Linux/macOS/Solaris/Windows

First Released – 2012

Codenvy is a commercial Java IDE that is built on top of the Eclipse Che. There are a total of 3 variants of the IDE that Java programmers can choose among; developer, enterprise, and team.

Codenvy is a cloud-based and on-demand developer workspace. In addition to writing Java code using the browser-based editor offered by Codenvy, Java programmers can benefit from powerful features like code completion, refactoring, and syntax highlighting.

The Codenvy editor also makes life easier for programmers by offering an effective way to build, debug, edit, and run various projects. The team edition of Codenvy is aimed at collaboration.

In addition to Java, Codenvy provides support for a plethora of interpreted as well as compiled programming languages. This includes C++, C#, JavaScript, and PHP.

Platform – Linux/macOS/Windows

First Released – June 2002

Maintained by the JavaPLT group at Rice University, DrJava is a lightweight Java Integrated Development Environment. It is specifically developed for beginners and students. Though not as powerful as other big names for Java development, DrJava has a remarkably clutter-free interface.

Other than offering a JUnit test facility, DrJava flaunts the ability to interactively evaluate Java code from a console as well as to present the output to the same console. Like its contemporaries, DrJava assists programmers with features like go to line and find/replace.

For advanced programmers, DrJava offers autocompletion, automatic indentation, brace matching, commenting, and syntax coloring. On top of all, DrJava can be integrated to Eclipse via a plugin.

DrJava, unlike other Java IDEs, has a consistent appearance on different platforms. This is because it is designed using Sun Microsystems’ Swing toolkit.

Platform – Linux/macOS/Solaris/Windows

First Released – November 2001

A dedicated Java IDE, Eclipse gets listed as one of the big three of Java IDEs. The popular integrated development environment is available in both desktop and cloud editions. The cloud edition of the Eclipse, named Eclipse Che allows programmers to develop apps via a web browser.

Both editions of the Eclipse IDE can be equipped with required/additional functionality by means of plugins. There is an array of plugins available for the IDE on the Eclipse Marketplace. In order to facilitate incremental compilation of Java code, Eclipse comes with a custom compiler.

For Java programmers looking to develop specific functionality for Eclipse, a PDE (Plugin Development Environment) is available. To help Java developers hasten the application development, Eclipse flaunts powerful tools for charting, modeling, reporting, and testing.

Eclipse supports application development in a number of programming languages via plugins. C, C++, Clojure, Groovy, Haskell, JavaScript, Julia, Perl, PHP, Ruby, Rust, and Scala are some of the various programming languages supported by Eclipse.

Platform – Linux/macOS/Solaris/Windows

First Released – 2003

Greenfoot is designed especially with an educational intent for high school and undergraduate students. The Java IDE facilitates the development of two-dimensional graphical apps, including simulations and interactive games.

Developed and maintained at King’s College London with support from Oracle, Greenfoot is a completely free-to-use software. In order to motivate learning, Greenfoot offers easy access to animated graphics and sound.

Greenfoot’s interactive environment is designed to illustrate important abstractions and concepts of object-oriented programming, including class/object relationship, methods, object interaction, and parameters.

Platform – Linux/macOS/Windows

First Released – January 2001

IntelliJ IDEA is one of the big three of Java IDEs. It is available in 2 different editions, an Apache 2 Licensed community edition, and a proprietary commercial edition. In order to allow developers to dive deeper into the Java code, IntelliJ IDEA boasts cross-language refactoring and data flow analysis features.

Other features offered by IntelliJ IDEA that eases the life of a Java developer are chain completion, language injection, smart completion, and static member completion.

In addition to supporting Java and a galore of Java frameworks, IntelliJ IDEA also provides support for other JVM-based programming languages, such as Kotlin.

Platform – Linux (via Wine)/Windows

First Released – N/A

Developed by Xinox Software, JCreator is yet another lightweight Java IDE. JCreator flaunts an interface much similar to Microsoft’s Visual Studio. It is available in three distinct variants; Lite Edition, Pro Edition, and Life-Pro Edition.

Unlike leading Java IDEs that are developed using Java, JCreator is developed entirely in C++. Furthermore, it doesn’t require a JRE for executing Java code. For this particular reason, the developer community advocates that JCreator is faster than most conventional Java-based IDEs.

The paid version of JCreator comes with Ant support, code wizards, and a debugger. Unlike the leading Java IDEs, JCreator has no advanced features. Also, extensibility via 3rd-party plugins is unavailable. On the flip side, it is small and fast, making it ideal for newbies starting with Java.

Platform – Linux/macOS/Windows

First Released – 2005

JDeveloper is a freeware Java IDE by Oracle. It offers an integrated development framework with a plethora of features and several visual development tools. JDeveloper covers entire development lifecycle; coding, designing, debugging, optimization, profiling, and deploying.

Oracle JDeveloper is able to integrate with the Oracle Application Development Framework (Oracle ADF) to further simplify application development. In addition to Java, JDeveloper can also be used to develop applications in GTML, JavaScript, PHP, SQL, and XML.

Platform – Linux/macOS/Windows

First Released – N/A

jGRASP is undoubtedly one of the best lightweight IDEs for Java. Other than offering an integrated debugger and a workbench for Java developers, jGRASP also allows the generation of complexity profile graphs and UML class diagrams.

jGRASP is particularly designed for providing automatic generation of software visualizations that improves the overall comprehensibility of software. The lightweight Java IDE is capable of producing static visualizations of source code structure as well as visualizations of data structures at runtime.

Though implemented in Java, it is in jGRASP’s ability to produce CSDs (Control Structure Diagrams) for other programming languages. The list includes Ada, C, C++, Objective-C, and Python.

jGRASP serves as a useful source code editor for non-Java programming languages. The free IDE is configurable to work with most of the free and commercial compilers for different programming languages.

Platform – Linux/macOS/Windows

First Released – N/A

Created and maintained by Genuitec, MyEclipse is a proprietary IDE build on top of the Eclipse platform. The wide variety of tools available in MyEclipse can be used for both Java app development as well as web development.

In addition to providing support for Angular, HTML, JavaScript, and TypeScript, MyEclipse allows support for application server connectors and database connectors. Other notable features of the IDE include Maven project management, Spring Tooling, and WebSphere connectors.

Platform – Linux/macOS/Solaris/Windows

First Released – 1997

Another name in the big three of Java IDEs is NetBeans. In fact, NetBeans is the official IDE for Java 8. The open source IDE facilitates Java programmers to build desktop, mobile, and web applications by offering a range of potent tools and features.

In addition to being available for a variety of platforms, NetBeans also comes in a feature-limited OS independent version. Each novel version of the NetBeans boasts an improved and reworked Java editor.

The Java editor offered by NetBeans makes it easier for Java programmers to build custom software apps by highlighting Java code syntactically and semantically. Inbuilt tools in NetBeans makes it possible to refactor the code as well as writing bug-free code.

In order to design and develop GUIs for Java SE, a GUI Builder is put on offer by NetBeans. The dedicated Java IDE is available in 28 different languages. NetBeans has extensions available for working in C, C++, HTML5, JavaScript, PHP, and other programming languages.

Platform – Linux/Windows

First Released – January 2005

RAD is a popular commercial Eclipse-based IDE developed by IBM. Designed specifically for Java development, RAD provides tools for analyzing, developing, visually designing, and deploying applications developed in Java.

In addition to English, RAD is available in 10 other languages. Other than Java and Java EE, RAD provides support for hybrid mobile, portal applications, Web 2.0, Web and REST services.

Platform – macOS

First Released – 2003

Available completely free of cost, Xcode is an IDE developed for macOS by Apple Inc. In addition to allowing programming in Java, the IDE comes with a multitude of software development tools for developing software for iOS, macOS, tvOS, and watchOS.

Some of the important highlights of Xcode are an inbuilt debugger, GUI builder, and profile autocomplete. In addition to Java, Xcode provides support for AppleScript, C, C++, Objective-C, Objective-C++, Python, Ruby, and Swift.

Conclusion

As we can see, there are a plethora of IDE options available for Java developers, ranging from fully-featured commercial software to free and open-source ones. The selection of the Java IDE, to some extent, depends on the project that needs to be completed.

However, it boils down to personal preference. The more a developer knows, the better options there are to choose from.

If you haven’t acquainted with Java yet, now might be a great time to get started with it. And why should you learn it? Because it is one of the leading programming languages to learn and earn in 2019.

Keep Start Learning Java

Which Java IDE do you think is the best? Let us know in the comments.

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