Millions of developers program in Java. Numerous ingenious and influential apps are written in Java and are currently being used by a large number of users. Java completed 26 years of its existence. Still, its relevance for modern enterprises and modern applications remains the same.
Nobody did know the programming language Sun Microsystems was about to create would change the entire landscape of software development and create history in the computer programming world.
Java is not mere a language, it converted into a huge ecosystem of languages, runtime platforms, open-source projects, SDKs, a wide range of tools, frameworks, and libraries.
While Java has a rich history of creating web, desktop, and mobile applications, it also counted as a strong player in the recent innovations in modernized application development such as microservices, containers, CI/CD, cloud, and IoT.
Java continues to evolve at a faster pace ever than before. This is a reason why Java rules the development world from smartcards to space vehicles and much more. With Java running critical applications worldwide and a widely utilized language in the industry, here we are with the best Java IDEs that help you write Java applications efficiently.
IDE stands for the Integrated Development Environment.
It is one type of software application that provides developers with a complete environment for writing, debugging, and running code. It includes a source code editor, debugger, and build automation tools.
Here, we will be covering the popular Java IDEs that are widely used to create apps in Java.
Let’s know each in detail.
In its early days, it was an IBM-led project. It was created by the IBM subsidiary, Object Technology International. Eclipse is popular as Java-centric IDE but it is also used to create language IDEs for almost every available programming language. In 2004, Eclipse Foundation was created and the Eclipse Public License (EPL) is the fundamental license under which projects are released.
Eclipse is a free Java IDE and open-source software.
NetBeans is a popular open-source IDE for Java. It runs on Windows, macOS, Linux, and Solaris. It provides editors, templates, and wizards that help developers easily create applications in Java, C, C++, HTML5, PHP, and many other languages.
NetBeans is maintained by Apache Software Foundation and supports the development of all Java application types such as web, EJB, mobile, and Java SE.
It offers a range of powerful tools and features such as syntax highlighting, refactoring, Maven support, version control, code completion, and so on. One of the powerful features of NetBeans is modularity. All the functions of the IDE are provided by modules and this feature also helps NetBeans to be extended and support other programming languages. NetBeans is considered as the best ide for java web development and enterprise application development with modules such as GUI design tool, NetBeans Profiler, and editor.
IntelliJ IDEA is an integrated development environment written in Java. It is developed by JetBrains and is available as an Apache 2 Licensed community edition.
It is the top-choice IDE for software developers and very popular among developers due to its intelligent coding assistance, sleek and ergonomic design.
IntelliJ IDEA for Java offers a smooth development workflow from design to deployment, testing, debugging, and also refactoring. It works with all JVM-related languages such as Kotlin, Scala, and Go. With advanced support for popular Java frameworks, developer ergonomics, deep code insights, and a wide range of built-in tools and integrations with the context-aware environment – altogether put this IDE in the category of best IDE for Java programming as well as best IDE for Java web development.
3 out of every 4 Java developers choose IntelliJ IDEA. Are you one among them?
MyEclipse is the best Java IDE for enterprise development and commercially available IDE created and maintained by Genuitec, a member of the Eclipse Foundation.
This feature-rich Java IDE is widely used to build powerful applications with support for a wide range of frameworks. It offers many features like content assist, syntax highlighting, inline search, as-you-type validation are some of the features that help developers write efficient code and increase developer productivity.
MyEclipse is built upon the Eclipse platform and offers several editions that let developers choose features and capabilities. It is a comprehensive Java IDE with features such as advanced database tooling, Maven project management, Spring development, and WebSphere support.
BlueJ is a free Java IDE specially designed for beginners. It is developed mainly for educational purposes and is considered the best IDE for Java beginners. Being a lightweight Java IDE it has a simple interface and its design differs from other development environments as its goals are specific to educational and learning purposes.
It is also suitable for small-scale software development. It is currently being maintained by a team at King’s College, London, England. BlueJ interface offers class structure by displaying UML-like diagrams as its main screen. This helps beginners learn faster and in a visible manner.
It became free and open-source software in March 2009. It is exclusively designed for teaching with features such as unique scope highlighting, an inspection of objects while the program is running, and colored code block.
Oracle aims to simplify Java development by providing a visual and declarative approach with an advanced coding environment.
With a rich set of coding features, visual utilities, and powerful editor, JDeveloper is widely used and popular among the Java developer community.
It integrates with the Oracle Application Development Framework (Oracle ADF) which is an end-to-end Java Enterprise Edition-based framework.
jGRASP is a lightweight Java IDE that provides the automatic creation of software visualizations. It is implemented in Java and runs on all platform that has JVM installed. For languages apart from Java, it is a source code editor.
It improves the comprehensibility of software by providing static visualizations of source code structure and structural visualization of data structures at runtime. It generates Control Structure Diagrams (CSDs) for Java, Complexity Profile Graphs, dynamic object viewers, and UML diagrams for Java that further improve the readability of code.
jGRASP can be used to work with free and commercial compilers for any programming language.
Android Studio is the official integrated development environment for Google’s Android operating system. It is built on JetBrains’ IntelliJ IDEA and specifically designed for Android development.
It is the most-preferred IDE for Android app development with a set of powerful features that include a flexible Gradle-based build system, extensive tools & frameworks, feature-rich emulator, layout editor, Lint tools, built-in support for Google Cloud Platform, and GitHub integration.
It is a replacement for the Eclipse Android Development Tools (E-ADT) as the primary IDE for Android app development.
Android Studio supports all the programming languages of IntelliJ IDEA. In 2019, Kotlin replaced Java as Google’s preferred language for Android app development but Java is still supported and used by millions of developers for developing Android apps.
Kite is a free AI coding assistant and code auto-complete plugin. Kite supports over 16 languages and 16 code editors to help developers develop with lightning-fast completions that are context-aware of code.
By adding Kite to the code editor, developers can code faster, become more productive, and stay in the flow. It uses machine learning to automate tedious parts of coding and work uninterrupted on the same screen.
Developers prefer Kite to any other code completion tool as it is powerful, secure, and easy to use.
JCreator is a lightweight Java IDE for Windows created by Xinox Software. It is written in C++ and its interface is similar to that of Microsoft Visual Studio. It is faster and available in three editions – Lite Edition, Pro Edition, and Lite-Pro Edition.
It is only available for the Windows operating system and provides features that include customizable syntax highlighting, tabbed documents, project management, templates, wizards, and a fully customizable interface.
It is also considered as best IDE for Java beginners with a simple and easy-to-use interface and essential features.
Codenvy is a cloud IDE and developer workspace platform that allows users to edit, run, and debug code.
It is based on the open-source Eclipse Che project. It is available as SaaS, on-premises, and white label. It provides users with containerized workspaces, cloud-based and on-premise deployment, one-click project onboarding, any programming language or IDE support, version control, issue management, and full-root access and SSH.
Codenvy allows anyone to contribute to a project without the need of installing software.
JBoss Forge is a software development tool that provides wizards and extensions by extending your Java IDEs. It offers a number of addons so that developers can code faster, easier, hassle-free, and efficiently. It is available for different technologies and solutions.
The JBoss Forge framework provides powerful possibilities for Java EE application development. JBoss Forge is available for macOS, Windows, and Linux. It can be used with a command prompt or an integrated IDE such as Eclipse, IntelliJ, and NetBeans. It is owned by Red Hat.
jEdit is the best Java editor that runs on any operating system with Java support including Windows, Linux, BSD, and macOS. It is released as free software under the terms of the GPL 2.0 or later.
It was developed by Slava Pestov in 1998 and later he handed development to the free software community. It offers syntax highlighting for more than 200 languages, code folding, and text folding capabilities, a highly customizable environment, extensible plugin architecture, and much more.
It is easy to use and set up and anyone can extend its functionality using plugins. It is written in Java and called as ‘mature programmer’s text editor.’ jEdit is maintained by a worldwide developer team.
DrJava is also a lightweight Java IDE for Java development. It is designed to provide test-driven software development and includes many powerful features. DrJava is the best IDE for Java beginners and students offering an intuitive interface, consistent appearance on different platforms, and the ability to interactively evaluate Java code from a console.
It is available for free under the BSD license and maintained by the JavaPTL group at Rice University. Version history and download links of DrJava are available and maintained by SourceForge.
It includes an intelligent program editor, an interactions pane, a source-level debugger, and a unit testing tool.
Greenfoot is an integrated development environment and educational software designed to make learning coding easy and fun. It is available for Windows, macOS, Linux, Solaris, and recent JVM.
It is developed and maintained at King’s College London with support from Oracle. This project was initiated by Michael Kölling, creator of the BlueJ. It is a great platform for learners and teachers with visual and interactive tools.
It is free to use and available under the GPL license. Greenfoot offers easy access to animated graphics, interaction, and sound that make it easy for beginners to develop 2D apps, graphical apps, and interactive games.
It also illustrates important abstractions and concepts of object-oriented programming with visualizations and guided interactions.
A large number of IDE and editors are available for Java developers. The choice of IDE usually depends on the project type and professional experience. More you know, more wisely you can choose from a range of IDEs that are available in the market. Java beginners may work with IDEs that are built for educational purposes while experienced Java developers choose IDE that have a plethora of modern features that increase productivity and make coding easier.
If you find anything missing, you can add it here via the comments below! Share your favorite Java IDE that makes your work fun and increases productivity!
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