Which IDE is better for me? NetBeans or Eclipse? This question has been asked a lot in the developer community. Most developers tend to think that there could be no clear winner. Let’s look at some key features individually.
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NetBeans has a lot of existing plugins (extensions) that add great functionality to your IDE experience. The management of these plugins is very simple as they all get installed in the same location and when you’re updating, it does not replace any other plugin except its own versions.
This means that you don’t have to worry about losing some functionality from the older version that was previously added. You can update them separately giving you the flexibility of managing your plugin libraries separately.
So if you want to use a new feature or library from another IDE, you can upgrade one without worrying so much about losing something else on an older version.
At present, there are many features available for NetBeans which are not available in Eclipse (such as the Database tools, which are simply amazing). NetBeans offers great support for many databases such as Oracle, DB2, Postgresql, and MSSQL.
NetBeans also comes with its own Java editor that has features like auto-completion, easy access to class hierarchy, and most importantly a very powerful find and replace feature. It makes your life much easier when you don’t have to manage lines of code and hunt for formatting errors, missing semicolons, etc.
Another key feature is the navigation pane on the left-hand side of the IDE view above where all your files will be displayed along with their parent folders. This helps in quickly navigating between your classes and views while also helping in finding files using the simple and intuitive search feature. To download NetBeans, click here.
Eclipse (a.k.a. IDE for Java Eclipse) has been around for quite some time now. The initial release was in 2001. In that period of time, it has come a long way. The most recent version comes with a lot more features than its previous versions such as the introduction of an embedded Tomcat server to provide a live web server using your application.
We don’t need to tell you how important this feature is for development and testing purposes. Also, it comes with support for “m2e”, which is a Java Maven integration tool. This leaves no room for excuses concerning whether you are developing in Eclipse or NetBeans, now you can have the best of both worlds!
Another great thing about Eclipse that is very helpful when working on large applications is its modular architecture and incremental development capabilities, which help developers in better managing their codebase.
It comes with an excellent IDE view called the Package Explorer where all your projects will be displayed along with their contents including resources, source code, etc.
Similarly, you can look at any of your classes in a very easy-to-navigate way by looking at the Outline view on the left-hand side.
This provides an outline of all classes and their hierarchy in a tree-like form that is quite intuitive to understand and manage. It also gives you a handy visual representation of where important methods are in your application just by hovering over them with your mouse cursor.
This feature alone cuts downtime spent Googling for documentation and makes development and debugging much faster when working with large applications.
Another key thing about Eclipse is its support for plugins. There are many plugins available by Eclipse for everything from working with Java code to managing your database projects and even compiling your applications in a native environment such as Windows (no more command line compiles or setting up of Borland C++ to compile the project, one less headache).
Another benefit is that all this power comes at no extra cost. To download Eclipse, click here.
NetBeans IDE Community Edition and IntelliJ IDEA Community Edition
So far we have mentioned two great Java development environments but now there is another contender in the game, IntelliJ IDEA. This is an IDE that has come out of JetBrains, a company based in Prague, Czech Republic which makes its home on the Java platform.
As with most IDEs, it comes with an integrated set of tools for Java development and web app management called “Eclipse”. But, do not let that mislead you as IntelliJ is a completely different beast from Eclipse (in fact they both are competitors).
The IDE has a lot of features from class browsing to starting/stopping application servers for testing purposes all within the IDE itself rather than through external applications like in Eclipse. Also, we should mention that there exists an open-source community version (Community Edition) and commercial enterprise edition (Enterprise Edition) of this product available at no cost!
We should mention as well that this tool supports m2e which is a Java Maven Integration Tool developed by the same people who develop Eclipse (and therefore have a clear understanding of what developers want in an IDE).
Secondly, you can use this to manage your dependencies for building and running your project through the “m2e” console.
This is much more convenient than downloading all jars/jars from the internet via various sites as they come bundled with IntelliJ IDEA so saves some time and resource requirements when compared to Eclipse which uses Maven’s “resolver” feature to download things on its own.
Another cool feature that makes IntelliJ IDEA stand out from most other Java IDE’s is the fact that it comes with a powerful plugin development kit for building custom plugins that integrate seamlessly with the IDE’s layout and help you in your day to day job as a developer.
One thing that IntelliJ has done really well is the way it integrates its features into the IDEA so that searching for anything like classes, methods, etc. is much easier than doing this via separate applications or using Google. It gives you an overview of what class/method/file is needed easily within your project by just hovering over them with your mouse cursor!
It also comes bundled with Codeintel, a code browsing tool that lets you generate API documentation from existing source code (which we think would be very useful when writing open-source software or comparing differences between two versions of the same library).
So, we can conclude that IntelliJ IDEA is a very well-developed IDE that offers many great tools and features.
What Makes IntelliJ IDEA Different from Eclipse and Why You Should Use It?
Well for one we think it is the best open-source Java IDE available today but if you don’t like Java then there’s an alternative option as well – WebStorm.