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Java IDEs?

Cliff posted more than 12 years ago | from the vague-coffee-flavour dept.

Java 679

Billy the Mountain asks: "In the startup company I'm in, we just got a new president and she asked us about ways of increasing developer productivity. We develop Java applications, servlets and JSP. I don't use an IDE. I use an enhanced text editor, EditPlus, because I like its color coding of keywords. I guess what I'm asking is what Java IDEs do you use and what features do you like best?" If you were to build a Java IDE from the ground up, what features would you include?

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WTF???? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2535697)

where's the comments???

Re:WTF???? (0, Offtopic)

maxence (59402) | more than 12 years ago | (#2535699)

Looks like a bug in Slashcode 2.2 :)

Re:WTF???? (1, Offtopic)

number one duck (319827) | more than 12 years ago | (#2535700)

Must be the new slashcode! (As I happily wait 20 seconds).

Re:WTF???? (1, Offtopic)

Vic (6867) | more than 12 years ago | (#2535703)

I dunno.....maybe it has to do with the new Slashcode [] announcement from today. :-)

But's definittely broken right now.


Re:WTF???? (0, Offtopic)

number one duck (319827) | more than 12 years ago | (#2535714)

Hey, it takes balls to apply changes to the 'production' server... if I were them, I'd wait until the umpteen clone slash sites try it first and report all the bugs...

LOL (1)

afxgrin (208686) | more than 12 years ago | (#2535710)

it says like 232 Comments... :-)

Unfortunately, I can't seem to read any of them except this one.

Re:WTF???? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2535719)

The weird thing is that about an hour ago this story appeared on the front page of slashdot for a moment. As I attempted my first post, I got the slashdot invalid story message 'nothing to see here...' error. Then as I went to reload the main page again, this java IDE story disappeared! Oh well, I guess taco decided to use that new slashcode without testing again.

Re:WTF???? (0, Offtopic)

number one duck (319827) | more than 12 years ago | (#2535744)

Now the counter is right again, which will of course make us all like like morons. Maybe its there to break peoples first post bots? (If numreplies 10, pretend like its too late) Of course, having 10-20 comments about "what is wrong with slashcode" is so much better than a few bits of noise...

Together (4, Informative)

wintahmoot (17043) | more than 12 years ago | (#2535705)

You should definitely have a look at Together Controlcenter from TogetherSoft. It's not really an editor, but great for modelling Java applications.

Hope you like it...

Re:Together (5, Informative)

igrek (127205) | more than 12 years ago | (#2535745)

Together is nice, but last time I checked it was very expensive. Something like $7000 for single-user/single-computer license or $11000 for floating license.

I don't mind paying for good software, but 4-5 digit figures... it's too much, IMHO.

Re:Together (2, Informative)

matt[0] (12351) | more than 12 years ago | (#2535796)

We bought one license of Together 4.2, and premium subscription to get the upgrades (now running 5.5), I use it as I am our "chief architect". It is just too pricy to outfit a whole shop with, unless you are insanely successful and can afford 7G for software.

It is also a bit slow for general use (I run it on a P3-1000/512MB Ram/IBM A22p), I usually design in Together and code in VIM.

Re:Together (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2535858)

$7000 for software isn't too much if you work for the government and it's then end of the fiscal year. Then you either spend the money or it disappears from your budget the following year.

Ever been told to choose a different product because the one you chose is too cheap?

Re:Together (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2535857)

Muhaha, I love together soft. It kicks total ass. I couldn't afford the price, but well, that is what the internet and IRC is for right? Pirated software works just as well as the origional muhahaha

Comments on Java (-1, Flamebait)

IgD (232964) | more than 12 years ago | (#2535715)

I think that sounds like a lost business cause. My company created a similar product but there was no market. Java seems like its on its way out. Anybody else have any comments?

Re:Comments on Java (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2535801)

Yep. The editor market for Java is already taken by Borland (primarily). And realistically, the product is good enough that most people don't want to switch.

JCreator (4, Informative)

Qui-Gon (62090) | more than 12 years ago | (#2535717)

Its has a simple interface. Does syntax highlighting,projects,etc. check it out. The only downer is it only for Windows. :( []

Who needs an IDE? (2, Insightful)

tapin (157076) | more than 12 years ago | (#2535718)


Syntax highlighting, data dictionary, easy compilation and debugging... what else do you want?

Re:Who needs an IDE? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2535757)

Coupled with Speedbar, and with some useful lisp (lisp to convert tabs to spaces upon saving, for example) and jde-mode.el (on Freshmeat) that provides tab completion of method/class names and full javadoc browsing facilities....

Emacs rules. And is free.

Re:Who needs an IDE? (0, Flamebait)

roadoi (68017) | more than 12 years ago | (#2535779)

but real men use vi (tm)

IDE RE: (1)

donour (445617) | more than 12 years ago | (#2535808)

good call.

Blech. Most of them are pretty bad. (5, Informative)

sylvester (98418) | more than 12 years ago | (#2535720)

I've worked extensively in both Jbuilder (2.0, 3.0, 3.5, 4.0 and 5.0) and more recently Netbeans (an offshoot of Forte).

Every version of JBuilder, I hope that it gets faster. It never did. And they changed their licencing for their free version, so i moved away from it.

Netbeans is dog slow, too.

If I were building a java IDE, it would be slim and trim. I don't use debuggers - proper logging and the occasional use of system.out.println()'s is enough for me. I want syntax highlighting, PROPERLY FLEXIBLE code reformatting, and name-completion. And I want it fast. I guess the problem with most Java IDEs are that they're written in Java (which makes sense) but without enough attention to writing fast java (which _is_ possible.)

Netbeans has some really nice simple features like abbreviations (Think autocorrect in MS-Word) so impj expands to "import java." and "psf" expands to "private static final" (how many times have you typed _that_?) but it doesn't have much for code reformatting. And it's stupidly huge.

And no, I don't like emacs. I'm a GUI guy, and emacs (or xemacs or whatever) doesn't cut it for me.

Re:Blech. Most of them are pretty bad. (1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2535730)

Note to self. Ignore development opinions of people who don't use debuggers.

Thats like saying I would like a car with no exhaust pipe.

Debuggers (2, Insightful)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 12 years ago | (#2535773)

I agree with him. Take a look at the top developers (Linus Torvalds for example); almost all the best programmers use printf's (or the equivalent) and only fire up the debugger if its absolutely necessary. It's very often the case that debuggers make programmers lazy. They will spend an hour single stepping through the code rather than actually looking at the code and figuring out where to put a few well-placed printf's.

There are certainly top programmers who use debuggers (Carmack, for example, uses one I believe), but in my experience it's more the exception than the rule.

And yes, I've developed both ways. I always end up returning to simple printf's because it ends up using much less aggregate time than using the debugger.

Re:Blech. Most of them are pretty bad. (5, Informative)

rfsayre (255559) | more than 12 years ago | (#2535760)

There is Eclipse [] , which I've never used, but it got good reviews from Netbeans users (I have used Netbeans). It appears promising as it as a natively implemented GUI (SWT), and a completely modular design. It also has refactoring and other neat stuff check out this recent article [] .

Emacs (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2535721)

Good ol' emacs works for me! It is an excellent development environment.

Re:Emacs (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2535739)

Yup, nothing beats Vim 6.0.

Re:Emacs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2535800)

I use Domestos myself. VIM doesn't clean the floor good enough.

Visual Cafe (1)

1alpha7 (192745) | more than 12 years ago | (#2535726)

I use Visual Cafe. Its not that great but it happens to be what I've been using and hasn't screwed anything up yet. Great praise and all . . .


Re:Visual Cafe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2535781)

Get back to us on that when you start using the Visual Cafe debugger in earnest, and when you start to use lots of threads.... I will be interested to know what you think of all the shortcomings then (like 60 second halts in multithreaded applications and the like).

Java IDE (1)

NoInfo (247461) | more than 12 years ago | (#2535727)

I would like a Jave IDE that saves my files in a persistant format. (The opposite of how Slashdot handles Java IDE comments.)

Perhaps Sun thought it an infringement to mention Java(tm) without mentioning that Java is a trademark of Sun Microsystems, Inc.

File Linking (2, Interesting)

basking2 (233941) | more than 12 years ago | (#2535729)

Because of the oodles of files that large java projects (or even moderately sized ones) tend to create, I would LOVE and environment that would via some magical interface, let you navigate to a file that defines an instantiated object.

Yeah, it's a hairy feature to implement, and one that that I haven't seen much of outside of HTML environments, but file hopping when building your own libraries gets to be a pain in Java!

My 2 cents. :-)

IDE - Editor or round trip engineering tool? (5, Informative)

Mr Thinly Sliced (73041) | more than 12 years ago | (#2535733)

Well, as always, the text editor itself is really up to you - I use the ubiquitous emacs [] along with the fantastic jdee [] IDE that installs inside emacs for syntax highlighting, quick toolbar access to your classes, and easy creation of class from templates.

If you are serious about writing good OO componentised java though, its almost essential now to use a decent UML tool during the design stages and further like rational rose [] / together [] .

One of the nice things about together [] is that it works by placing javadoc comments inside your java - so your design documentation is never out of step with your source. Invaluable.

I don't work for together - but I do find their tool helps me visualise the workings of complex systems without remembering all the methods and stuff.

So if I had to put a finger on it - let developers choose their editor/IDE themselves, but get all developers to use a UML tool independant of the IDE.

Mr Thinly Sliced

Re:IDE - Editor or round trip engineering tool? (3, Interesting)

burner (8666) | more than 12 years ago | (#2535812)

oy. UML is nice for meetings and sketching things out, but the diagrams can (and should) be generated from the code, so any particular developer doesn't need to use it.

All developers should be versed in reading UML and drawing out pseudo-UML on a whiteboard or a sketch page or whatever. But it's a needless step (for some developers, not all) in the development process when it comes down to a developer writing out the code for his/her component.

So, I like Emacs+JDEE (for myself) and Eclipse (as a suggestion for others that don't like emacs). ArgoUML is becoming a decent free UML tool. UML diagrams should be generated from the code for new developers to be able to understand a developed system. High level architectural docs should be UML or better yet, simpler pseudo-UML.

Re:IDE - Editor or round trip engineering tool? (2, Informative)

landtuna (18187) | more than 12 years ago | (#2535853)

I agree that jdee over emacs is a great solution for Java development. The original poster also asked about JSPs.

Support for JSPs in emacs isn't there automatically with JDEE, but the mmm-mode [] module works great. It deals with the problem of having both HTML formatted code and Java code in the same buffer.

Look into Eclipse! (5, Informative)

gmjohnston (254601) | more than 12 years ago | (#2535735)

IBM just announced (in the past day or so) the release to the open source community of Eclipse ( [] ). Not only is it a great Java IDE, it's also designed for extensibility from the ground up.

visual cafe, forte (2, Interesting)

3am (314579) | more than 12 years ago | (#2535737)

forte is free (Free too, i believe), but isn't the best. The text editting is cumbersome. but heck, try it out (from Sun... you can find it from, and if you like it, you've saved a buck.

visual cafe will cost you, but is quite good.

honestly, J++ was my favorite (i'm ashamed to admit), but i certainly would recommend it any more :)

metrowerks has one, too, but i wasn't very favorably impressed with my limited usage of it.

jedit (2, Informative)

ocipio (131260) | more than 12 years ago | (#2535738)

use jEdit [] .

Written in Java. Its not an IDE, but its an excellent editor.

lots out there (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2535740)

Well, most shops I've seen use Jbuilder [] . It's fast, it's very good and at least version 4 was free. It's the top dog for a reason. Unfortunately, they've switched to an absurdly expensive model for their upper tiers of commercial products.

I've also used Codewarrior for Java [] , and have been pleasantly surprised. It's a top-notch environment. Metrowerks has done some fine work.

Forte/NetBeans [] has a way to go. What a pig. 3.0 has some nice speed and stability increases...

If you don't need a really fancy setup, try jEdit [] . It's an open source text editor with syntax coloring(60 file types!), and the plug-ins avaliable give you plenty of project management features.

And a dark horse: IntelliJ [] . I really like it. Lots of "enterprise" features bundled in a relatively cheap package.

Visual Cafe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2535743)

Visual Cafe for Java by WebGain. It's for Windows but useful if you prefer visual application development.

Now that's a nice IDEA... (1)

Chief Typist (110285) | more than 12 years ago | (#2535747)

As I sit here cursing JBuilder [] , I look forward to the end of the current project so I can try out IDEA []

NetBeans (2)

Satai (111172) | more than 12 years ago | (#2535748)

NetBeans [] is an amazing IDE, although it was a bit slow on my 400 Celeron at work.

Together (2, Informative)

ajole (132756) | more than 12 years ago | (#2535749)

At Queen Mary and Westfield College in London we use TogetherJ by Together soft.
With together you can make use cases, sequence charts, state charts, all the edu text-book stuff, but most of all are class diagrams. make us happy. works for c++, too.
It's a hog, though, so get a fat machine. Forte isn't bad, though for a nice IDE.

I gotta agree though, emacs is the shtuff.

Patrick Kidd []

Forte is the best (1)

Frothy Walrus (534163) | more than 12 years ago | (#2535750)

i haven't seen a Java IDE better than ahref="Sun's Forte [] . its use of EJBs to quickly develop J2EE apps is unmatched, IMHO, and its grasp of XML is a Really Good Thing (tm) to have in a development environment. the ESP toolkit is rad too.

too bad it's not Open Source, but hey, $20 for media is a really good price.

Anything but Forte! (1)

Mdog (25508) | more than 12 years ago | (#2535767)

We tried to use forte for cs125 at uiuc in the fall of 00. It was a real mistake. Very buggy, very slow...terrible terrible program.

I think I may have just been trolled :)


If it's worth doing, it's worth paying for (1)

Bitmanhome (254112) | more than 12 years ago | (#2535751)

We use Borland JBuilder around here, and I like it alot. Color coding editor, debugger, visual GUI designer, and database controls and classes are all built in. If you ever lusted after the RAD capabilities of Visual Basic, JBuilder has all that too. []

Borland also has a free JBuilder personal [] (previously called Foundation), for tryout and personal use.

Be aware: software development in general, and Java software in general will each eat your computer for lunch. You're doing both, so make sure your machines are up to date.


Re:If it's worth doing, it's worth paying for (1)

Bitmanhome (254112) | more than 12 years ago | (#2535782)

WTF?! Those links we're correct when I submitted ..

Anyway, I believe JBuilder will let you code and test JSP directly in the editor without have to fight a server somewhere.


Java IDE (1)

mrcparker (469158) | more than 12 years ago | (#2535752)

If I was building an IDE it would look like vi.

Back in my Java days I used Visual Cafe and it was crap. Not only did I have to bother with the language itself, but I had to watch and code JUST LIKE Visual Cafe coded or it would screw up the GUI builder. Also, it - like most IDE's - had a whole slew of buttons and strange configuration options that had to be learned.

When I went back to vi my code time was cut in half.

That depends (1)

cheezedawg (413482) | more than 12 years ago | (#2535753)

On Windows, its all about textpad [] . Open up the api documentation [] in a browser- what more do you need? You can compile and run directly from Textpad.

Editor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2535754)

I use GWD, I found it one day one tucows and have never looked back. fortran! well it does that too, I actualy work with alot of fortran.

UltraEdit (1)

my1wong (152358) | more than 12 years ago | (#2535756)

Fast, easy to use, feature rich.
But it's a shareware and not really an IDE.

CodeWarrior (3, Informative)

MBCook (132727) | more than 12 years ago | (#2535759)

What about CodeWarrior by Metrowerks [] ? I use it for C++ codeing and I think that it's great. It's got stanex highlighting, a debugger, etc. It can also do C and Java, so maybe that would be right up your alley.

Re:CodeWarrior (1)

Meech (166762) | more than 12 years ago | (#2535865)

The problem with Code Warrior and other IDEs is generated code. Granted, it helps out tremendously in the long run, but when an error occurs, you might not know exactly where the bug is with code that you didn't write. But...they save time, and time is money.

Another good IDE is forte, which I think is free from Sun, seems to work better than CodeWarrior and also does the wonderful sytax highlighting.

First... (1)

ChrisBennett (18205) | more than 12 years ago | (#2535762)

Depending on your platform, make sure you have a nice fast JDK/JRE like IBM's. In fact I would even change platforms for Java development performance.

The last time I have seen the benchmarks, the numbers were abysmal for all OSes besides Windows and Solaris. In fact, if you think benchmarks don't matter, try running Forte, my Java IDE of choice, on say... Linux. Please don't flame me for that, I really did try, but Windows 2000 Pro did not lag when clicking on the menu bar. (I have a PIII/850.)

Now perhaps this is a major weakness in write-once, run-everywhere Java, but Sun or IBM developers seriously need to concentrate on optimizing JDK/JRE for all platforms. Otherwise, if I can get best performance on Windows, why don't I use C#? I really hope they fix this problem.

In the mean time, my recommendation is Windows 2000 Pro/Forte for Java.

Forte. (4, Insightful)

DGolden (17848) | more than 12 years ago | (#2535763)

Um, I think Forte/NetBeans and IBM VisualAge/WebSphereStudio/Eclipse/Whatever have the serious Java IDE market pretty much sewn up between them. Borland used to be a player, but aren't now.

It's been months since I've met anyone who doesn't use Forte/NetBeans, although people targetting IBM Websphere server tend to use VisualAge for Java.

One feature I'd like to see is a "see-through" source pane, showing superclass code with a muted background in the same pane as the class you're editing, so that you don't have to hold so much state (remembering the superclass) in your head, perhaps with a configurable depth to which to walk back up the class hierarchy. This would make working with inheritance easier for dolts like me.

How CmdrTaco got his name (more of the story) (-1)

WeatherTroll (529760) | more than 12 years ago | (#2535765)

How did CmdrTaco get his name? We now know more of the story.

The story goes something like this. Rob Malda always liked tacos. He would eat them every day. Rob would also shove taco shells up his ass. Since CowboyNeal loved to spank Rob (and Rob enjoyed being spanked by CowboyNeal), the taco shells would be smashed driving the shards into his puckered filthy anus.

Like most Mexican food, the tacos gave Rob lots of farts and shit coming out of his ass. The farts stank everything up so much so that Hemos (the name Hemos as we know came from the two words he and homos) and the rest complained constantly. The only relief was when RMS would come over to suck their dicks since RMS stank worse than Rob since he hasn't taken a bath or shower in over 20 years.

The other problem was the shit coming out of Rob's ass. One problem was that Rob was a shit dribbler. That meant that whereever he went in the slashdot compound there would be a small layer of shit on the floor. (You know that everyone in the slashdot compound is naked so Rob never shit in his pants unless he went outside.)The other problem was that the toilet was always clogged from when Rob needed to take an actual shit meaning that JonKatz would have to piss and shit outside. Needless to say the neighbors did not appricate this leading to JonKatz's arrest many times. (It's too bad that he wasn't kept in jail.) This problem was eventually solved by letting JonKatz shit out stories on slashdot. What??? You thought that JonKatz's stories came from a part of his body other than his ass????

It was later discovered that Rob was a toilet slave. He enjoyed eating other people's shit. Instead the rest of them force fed him his own shit. Rob would also lick the floors clean. Thus, he commanded the taco for its entire life cycle earning the name Commander Taco. This was later shortened to CmdrTaco.

JDEE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2535770)

IDE's are crap, except when debugging. For editing, get the editor that lets you type quickly and accurately. Make certain your build system (ant) is set up to delete files because java compilers don't follow cross-file dependencies reliably.

JDEE [] is an Emacs IDE for Java. Emacs means that you rarely, if ever, have to remove your fingers from the keyboard. IMHO, this is a good thing.


NetBeans (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2535771)

'nuff said. Check it out, it thoroughly impressed me, as I was tired of JBuilder.

forte with cross-directory compiler is nice (1)

master2b (192865) | more than 12 years ago | (#2535772)

but its based on netbeans so that might work nicely as well.

Great thing with it is you can just mount directories correctly and you don't have to f#$k with your classpath :-). One key compile and your classes are dropped in the right place . . .

Kawa (2, Informative)

benb (100570) | more than 12 years ago | (#2535774)

Kawa was a nice IDE a few years ago. (But not open-source.)

I didn't track it, but it seems like it got pushed around between several companies and has finally been dumped by Macromedia [] . Morons.

I use (5, Insightful)

nebby (11637) | more than 12 years ago | (#2535775)

Slickedit [] , hands down the best balance between Notepad and a full fledged IDE I've seen. Think emacs, but with a better GUI and without all the extra crap and ridiculous key combos.

I've cranked out many lines of Java code with it, so it's lasted the long haul for me.

Re: SlickEdit (1)

Bitmanhome (254112) | more than 12 years ago | (#2535824)

I too use SlickEdit quite heavily .. VERY customizable, supports aliases ('spr' becomes System.out.println), and if you implement or extend another class, it will auto-add method prototypes for you to override.


Re:I use (3, Insightful)

hattig (47930) | more than 12 years ago | (#2535856)

Is that you, Roy? :)

Seriously, SlickEdit appears to be amazing, but I am an emacs man, and I like my mode of operation: [edit stuff]
ctrl-x v v [cvs comment] ctrl-c ctrl-c

SlickEdit doesn't do CVS, but it does other code repositories.

It also has emacs emulation.

It is a lot for an editor. And I have only seen badly formatted code generated using it - sure programmer disfunction, but annoying.

You have to get comfortable with your editing environment. Once comfortable (say, a few weeks regular use) then you can evaluate it.

One thing - I hate editors that restrict you to Courier. That is a crap editing font.

kate (KDE editor) is also nice as well, and configurable. Built in console option, and multiple files open at the same time in a good GUI. Multiple highlighting modes (not as advanced as the 'old' KDE Advanced Editor though), not restricted to a fixed-width font, etc. I like it.

I used to like the old Amiga editors as well. BED. GoldED. CygnusEd. They were solid and good as well. Not relevant to the topic, but interesting anyway.

Personal preference... (1)

Beamerweb (528378) | more than 12 years ago | (#2535783)

Since IDEs are very subjective to a person's preference, it's hard to pick "the best" solution for a group of people. My personal preference is HomeSite/ColdFusion Studio from Allaire. Neither of them have much in the way of java support, but they're extensible to the Nth degree. I wrote a little java/javac/appletviewer wrapper app and bound it to my F-keys to perform my basic compile/debugging. If you want to check it out, it's at my html site [] . If not, no biggie. It's pretty simple, but works for me. I've tried IDEA, JCreator, NetBeans, Forte, and a ton of others, but i'm so hard-wired into the Allaire environment, and i don't do enough java to make much use of the big tools, so i stuck with what i'm used to. All the above are great apps, very well done. I don't like how slow the java-based ones are from a UI standpoint (i.e. Forte and it's Swing backing, i had to get out and push)

Personal Experiences (Netbeans) (2)

Angry Black Man (533969) | more than 12 years ago | (#2535786)

Personally I have only used Netbeans [] (an open source IDE writte entirely in, you guessed it, java) and Forte. I've heard of some people who like a Tek-tools product but I don't know much about it.

The thing I like about Netbeans is that it runs on Linux AND Windows. Again, personally, I've only used the Linux version. I think they also have maybe a Mac OS, OS/2, and Unix (?) version of the product. The difference between Netbeans and Forte is that development builds come out often with new features that I can't deny loving.

Of course, no product is without bugs. Fortre has bugs. Netbeans has bugs. The only major problem I've found using Netbeans is that when you request an inexistent branch during checkout the program crashes. There are a few other petty problems, but, again there are builds that come out all the time and bugfixes almost daily. Hope this helps!

Try Idea (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2535788)

I've tried Visual Cafe, JBuilder, Forte, Together, JDeveloper, Visual J++--pretty much every damn IDE you can think of. The best out of all of them is Idea from IntelliJ. It's fast, has a great interface, and tons of features.

Check it out. []

Netbeans (5, Informative)

illusion_2K (187951) | more than 12 years ago | (#2535789)

During the whole discussion of Eclipse the other day, I wrote about how it differs from Netbeans. []

For me it meets pretty much all of my needs:

Open source

Decent interface (although some people disagree), which you can configure to appear as a single window or multiple windows (great for those multi-monitor setups)

Support for CVS

Ability to mount FTP directories as a filesystem so that I can store projects on the servers at school

Support for a whole wack of Java standards which I don't use at all - JINI, JSP, beans, etc...

ANT [] build scipts

Plenty of other stuff I won't bother to mention.

In fact the only real minus to it is that it is kind of a memory hog and takes a bit to load up (probably because it's written all in Java). Either way though, it's worth a look.

use the emacs JDE (2, Insightful)

phranking (134197) | more than 12 years ago | (#2535790)

Its what I use, a bunch of (I think) lisp modules that plug into emacs and keybind all sorts of whiz bang keystroke saving nonsense (ex. "bo" auto-expands to "boolean" and M-/ scroll completes variable and method names ala bash's tab key). I had massive wrist problems, and got a kinesis and installed the ide and I'd estimate my total number of keystrokes is down to maybe a third of what it used to be without JDE's code completion functionality. Not to mention the built in debugger, which shows all variables in scope in a particular instance of a class (which also kind of sucks when the stack gets really huge, or you've got a really meaty instance, but hey). As far as GUI building - I've always found that I've better luck with swing when I get in there and lay stuff out explicitly.

What makes a good IDE, aka: Netbeans is real close (3, Interesting)

mactari (220786) | more than 12 years ago | (#2535791)

What does a Java IDE need?

* Open source -- I want a new feature, I add it. I see a bug, I fix it.
* Code completion -- As much as you might hate M$, there ain't no faster coding that Visual Basic, and most of that is due to Intellivisio -- ur, Intellisense. If the IDE finishes my lines for me, that's half the battle right there. (Thanks, Mr. Ness)
* GUI RAD -- Look, I want to program the nuts and bolts, not spend tons of times making a beautiful set of buttons. A RAD lets me WYSIWYG my way to a great UI.
* Syntax highlighting -- as stated in the post, I like to see what's a string, what's a comment, and what's code. And see it quickly.
* The exact same UI cross platform -- When I go from Windows at work to a UNIX workstation down the hall to my iBook at home, I want to use the same tool to program my "write once, test -- ur -- run everywhere" code. My code's crossplatform, why shouldn't my IDE be too?

Hey, lookit there, I just described !

Sun funds much of the development team, so I know I have support. But before Sun gets their hands on the code to turn it into Forte, I've got full access. Was actually reading /. waiting for Netbeans to download updates as I wrote this.

Only drawback -- I sure wish this was written in assembler. ;^D Without a 1.8 GHz machine, it's still a little slow.

NetBeans / JDeveloper (2)

Xofer D (29055) | more than 12 years ago | (#2535792)

I like the idea of NetBeans [] , a free and Open Source (Mozilla-esque license) Java-based Java IDE. Uh, looks like the site isn't responding, so here's the Google cache [] . I like its UI design, too. However, my experience with it has been that it's really really slow. I suspect misconfiguration on my part, since I haven't heard more general revulsion towards it. 30 seconds to build "Hello, World!" would cause revulsion, I figure. Still, having an IDE that runs on all platforms is nice.

On Windows, I've used Oracle JDeveloper [] , which is Free(beer) software and can be downloaded from the Oracle Tech Network site if you register. I've mainly used the older version (3.1) for doing JSP work, but it contains some native code and is thus faster. I think Jdeveloper was based on Borland Jbuilder, but I'm not familiar with the new version.

Killer Features (1)

nwalker (23468) | more than 12 years ago | (#2535793)

The killer features of a truly great IDE:

* Nice (customizable) code formatting, syntax coloring, with little niceties like showing you the first bracket when you end one.

* Great debugger, be able to step through code and graphically watch variables change, as well have a command mode for full 'probing' beyond what the GUI should reasonably do.

* Library knowledge. When you hit the '.' to access the members of an object, should pull up a list of all members of that object. Should also display method prototypes when you hit '('. Saves many a doc lookup!

Now I know I'm going to get flamed for this, but really the best editor I've found with all of these features is MS Visual Studio. Especially the last one (MS calls it Intellisense). Live with it for a while, and then try living without it. I've yet to find any comparable one in Linux or Java.

Although please prove me wrong - I'd love to have a Java IDE with all of this stuff!

Forte for Java (2, Interesting)

Josuah (26407) | more than 12 years ago | (#2535795)

I've used Forte for Java Community Edition (CE) and it's really great. It's free, and supports most everything the developer needs, although if you need some beefier features you have to pay for the Enterprise Edition.

The only problems I've had with it are a lackluster editor, which doesn't do as much syntax coloring as I would like or handle indentation very well (you have to right-click and choose to re-indent/nice-up the code).

But one of the nice things about Forte is that it uses XML and plain text for all the project files. You can copy the files from one computer to another and even between platforms and you're good to go as long as you have a copy of Forte for Java over there.

Java IDEs (1)

walt_r (527179) | more than 12 years ago | (#2535799)

My recommendation is IDEA from Intellij. []

There is an early access edition of the next release, so download it and give it a go. You'll be pleased you did. Among its fans are Martin Fowler (author of well regarded books on UML and code refactoring)

Re:Java IDEs (4, Interesting)

KyleCordes (10679) | more than 12 years ago | (#2535841)

I am surprised at how few comments IntelliJ IDEA is getting here. It is very good. The refactoring features (hence the Fowler connection) are so useful that I think it's likely that most major IDEs will copy them in the new few years.

I've also had good results with JBuilder, with VisualAge (for projects where I have no need for source code in files, which is not many of them...), and with plain old text editing.

JAVVA IDEAS!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2535803)

hi htere everybody!!!

i haver a javca IDEa!! its greatso listen to me ok?? heere ti goes you take ajava appelet and then you maek it into a progarm which does (get htis!) TURNS TEENAGE GIRLS INTO STOEN!!! i hope that boreland will work on this because i think ti is very improtant! especially for us statupehiles!!! because we ahve fellings too!!

please will soembody hackthis into java please? it can even be a eaester egg! i wont tell anybody just tell me if you do so i can have "NATALIE PORTMAN NAKED AND PETRIFIED"!!! i would be a very very very veeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeerrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrryyyyyyyyyyyyy happy statuephiel! please :) :) :)

thamk you.

Plugins, plugins, plugins (2)

Pedrito (94783) | more than 12 years ago | (#2535804)

I haven't written an IDE, but I use one (Is that kind of like, IANAD but I play one on TV?). Start simple. Make a basic editor with color coding for keywords, maybe even variables and other things. Most importantly, make it extensible via plugins. If you're going to go open-source, this means that you don't have to write all the functionality. Other people will write coold stuff to plug into it.

I don't do Java, but I've played with it and the lack of a good IDE is a problem. Make it possible to plugin new functionality (code-snippet libraries, integrated CVS, regular expression/text search tools, etc) and people will add to it.

The current project I'm in involves a very component-based system. One of the best things we ever did was to add a "plugin" capability to our system. We now support one executeable (with very limited functionality), but we have a bunch of different options, in the form of plugins, that we can ship to different customers to fit their needs. If there's a bug in the primary code, then we fix it and all of our customers get it, no matter what customizations they have.

Granted, I'm the architect of the product, so I've got a little pride in the fact that it works so well for us (not that plugins were my idea, but for our product, it's original). But after seeing it work so well, I'm sold on the idea of creating component-based, extensible products. I think it's something that would work especially well in the open-source environment.

Re:Plugins, plugins, plugins (3, Informative)

Wawazuzu (260054) | more than 12 years ago | (#2535849)

You should have a look at jedit [] it is not a complete IDE but rather a very powerful text editor with _tons_ of plugins (anything from a java class browser to a full featured irc client). And it's open source also.

JCreator (1)

CEHT (164909) | more than 12 years ago | (#2535806)

Try JCreator [] . They have one free version and one professional version.

Together Control Center and Borland JBuilder (1)

Edward Teach (11577) | more than 12 years ago | (#2535807)

These two programs play well together. Together Control Center is a complete UML modeler with a built in color syntax highlighted editor. Comes bundled with JCVS and Tomcat. Has an integrated debugger and allows for live debugging of servlets. Models Java or C++ and also provides code auditing and metrics. Together has an open API so you can modify the tool to suit your needs.

I use Borland primarily to build the GUI and then do everything else in Together.

Try FreeBuilder (0, Troll)

Kiro (220724) | more than 12 years ago | (#2535813)

In case some people don't know it exists, there is a free (as in speech) Java IDE over at


Pluggable Editor, Keyboard Control (1)

PhotoGuy (189467) | more than 12 years ago | (#2535818)

Two main reasons I won't use IDE's is that they don't have pluggable editors. If you could have vi, emacs, and a plain old window-ish editor, you'd attract a lot more folks.

Related, is the ability to do everything from the keyboard. As a developer, I type a lot, and fast. Being forced to use the mouse to develop is a significant productivity issue for me. (Same reason I like vi, is that I can do everything with my fingers in the home position; no escape-meta-alt-control-shift contortions, no reaching for the mouse to simply move around).

Oh yeah, another key feature is that any code produced by the IDE should work perfectly well outside the ide, and vice-versa. IDE's that insert their own chunks of code, and put in comments a la "don't modify this", suck, in my opinion. The IDE should be an optional tool to make your life more efficient, not something your code becomes dependant upon.

Nobody's accomplished those that I've seen, which is why it's still vi/javac for me :-)


RAD is key! (1)

fireboy1919 (257783) | more than 12 years ago | (#2535821)

If you're going to make use of the big, powerful editors, the main reason is to make use of rapid application development - building the guis on the fly, and then adding the code (or visa versa). Its the reason that the big, powerful development tools are big. Otherwise, you might as well use a text editor.

Most of the applications have a huge problem: for the parts of the code that they write, you can't edit it, unless you don't want to use the RAD tool for creating gui's anymore (their parsers often only work with their templates - especially J++). The big exception to this is JBuilder. You can write code, change it with the RAD tool, and then change it more. Not only that, but the code that is produced by JBuilder isn't half bad, unlike most of the other GUI's I've tried, which produce horrible looking code.

Of course, there are a few other features I particularly like - it can keep track of the classes you've created so that you can easily figure out what methods to call, but those are just icing.

As to the speed - most of the GUIs are written in Java, which makes them very portable, but about half the speed they would otherwise be. However, its a constant speed slowdown, not an exponential one. Just use a fast enough computer, and you won't notice the difference.

IntelliJ IDEA (1)

milwaukee_road (473480) | more than 12 years ago | (#2535828)

IntelliJ IDEA [] is the best IDE for Java that I've used. The code completion and refactoring are incredible, especialy the automatic package import. Large feature list, features that actually work and work well. Project setup is simple and unobtrusive and does not force a bunch of configuration files into the codebase. Ant integration is also helpful. I switched after trying Jbuilder and VisualCafe. I was never an IDE fan before this product. (I am still a bit of an EditPlus fan)

I am especially fond of highlighting a block of code and choosing "suround with->try/catch" to auto generate a catch statement for each checked exception generated by that code. very nice.

Try CodeGuide (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2535829)

CodeGuide by OmniCore ( is pretty inexpensive, performs really well, and has a bunch of useful features, including very good code introspection and completion. It doesn't do GUI form editing, purely code editing, but that's all I need it for since I do exclusively server side work.

IDEs to consider (1)

kdorff (313402) | more than 12 years ago | (#2535830)

Together Control Center is a great product including UML and all that and a reasonably good editor. Pricey.

Borland JBuilder is a great editor and it is nice for debugging servlets. Somewhat pricey but good. No UML diagrams.

Ultraedit is a nice text editor, inexpensive, color coding of java and somewhat stupid command completion.

XEmacs (latest version) has color coding of java, smart command completion, etc. You do want to learn emacs to take full use of it which may be somewhat steep if you haven't used emacs before. Debugging doesn't equal TogetherCC or JBuilder but much cheaper.

Get the demos, try them all.

Java IDEs (1)

sQu@sH (71513) | more than 12 years ago | (#2535831)

I'm a senior CS major, and i've used differend IDEs for Java over the past four years. Jext is a very good enhanced text editor. A couple of nice Java IDEs are Forte, which is available at Sun, and Kawa, which you can find at

IntelliJ IDEA: the best IDE around! (5, Informative)

Kablooie!! (34290) | more than 12 years ago | (#2535832)

I don't work for intellij: I'm just a very satisfied customer.

Check out IntelliJ IDEA at [] .

IDEA is an excellent fully-integrated IDE. It supports (among many other things):

  • Full syntax highlighting of Java and JSPs
  • All the smart editor functions you would ever want
  • Configurable coding style pretty-printer
  • Integrated debugger, CVS, ANT, and extensible with an "External Tools" interface
  • Shortcuts galore- you can do everything with the keyboard if you choose.
  • The big thing: Built-in support for a whole mess of Refactorings []
  • And a whole lot more

IDEA is written in Java, so it works on the main platforms (I personally use it on Solaris, Linux, and occasionally Win NT/2000). Despite this, performace is good.

It costs something like $400US and I think it is worth every penny.


IDEs (1)

spiro_killglance (121572) | more than 12 years ago | (#2535836)

I use Java builder 4, its nice enough. A lot
of the time, I still do simple bugfixing and
rebuilds using xedit and make script.

Jarkata Ant [] is nice "make" replacement for building
java apps. And can be integrated into jbuilder,
and other IDEs, if your project gets completed
enough to need one.

This ought to have been a slashdot poll rather
than an Ask slashdot.

AnyJ (1)

CEHT (164909) | more than 12 years ago | (#2535838)

AnyJ [] is also a good one to use. It supports Windows, Mac and Linux.

VIMIDE (2, Interesting)

matt[0] (12351) | more than 12 years ago | (#2535839)

If I were designing an IDE, I would integrate gvim as the text editor, integrate ANT, and include a UML-to-code component like in Together ControlPanel. It would also have to load very fast.

NetBeans has ANT integration, Together does too, but they all have sh***y text editors and are sluggish.

My suggestion is to buy a copy of Together CC 5.5 for laying out projects (give it to your chief architect), and let the coders use whatever they want. If you are doing a project which requires Swing, you also might want to use JBuilder. VisualAge is good but generates terrible code. It really helps to use one of those tools when laying out panels.

Have a look at Kawa (2)

imrdkl (302224) | more than 12 years ago | (#2535842)

It's minimalist although the company [] was recently sold, and it seems to be growing in alliances with other vendors. Especially good for beginners, imho. The recent integration with CodeWright makes it very flexible for the advanced user as well.

Lately, I've also tried using ctags(1), with the newer options for parsing java code:

$ ctags --lang=java
then combining the tag files with Vim(1) using Vim's syntax highlighting and the tags to hop around. ctags and vim dont really give you a visual class browser... but they're free.

Re:Have a look at Kawa (2)

imrdkl (302224) | more than 12 years ago | (#2535869)

Aak, bad link. Sorry. Kawa is here [] . I actually wasn't gonna even give a link. But since I gave it wrong, I'll fix it.

Don't forget Ant! (1)

Bitmanhome (254112) | more than 12 years ago | (#2535843)

Ant [] is akin to Make, but with an XML control script. Our script compiles, builds javadocs, runs the ObjectStore post-processor on the classes, and builds the .jar files for us.


Java based IDE (2, Informative)

updatelee (244571) | more than 12 years ago | (#2535844)

I would love to use an IDE, a great editor with debugging eatures like stack trace and step by step variable windows. that would be great. I use ultraedit for coding php, Ive use ZendIDE a java based IDE, dont like it, the editor just isnt as powerull as ultraedit.

Chris Lee


msowka (320682) | more than 12 years ago | (#2535851)

... hmm, I'd like to think I've tried them all and I have to say that NetBeans is by FAR the BEST. +++++ IT"S OPEN SOURCE!

Forte CE 3 (1)

JeffCrowder (320986) | more than 12 years ago | (#2535852)

I've tried a number of Java IDEs, and Forte has proven to be the best at enhancing my productivity while not imposing too many restrictions on how I develop. For no cost, the Community Edition provides significant support for developing a subset of J2EE apps (JSP/Servlets, JDBC, etc.) right from the start.

Forte's IDE is extemely modular and extensible, with 3rd party modules becoming increasingly popular, and providing built-in support for developing your own Forte modules.

The downside? It is extremely heavyweight. Make sure you have gobs of memory if you really want to get any value out of using Forte.

Why not try Oracle JDeveloper (1)

xkid (516611) | more than 12 years ago | (#2535854)

It is combined with a UML designer.

It's out there... but slow (0)

javaaddikt (385701) | more than 12 years ago | (#2535861)

Forte is great--I love the editor especially. All the bracket and parenthesis matching, auto smart indention, keyword highlighting, code completion, argument reminders, etc... Unfortunately the entire thing is done in swing and is major bloatware. Swing is a major heiffer.

Makes a great timer for popcorn. Put a bag in the microwave as it starts, four minutes later you have perfectly-popped kernels.

Omnicore CodeGuide (3, Insightful)

rodbegbie (4449) | more than 12 years ago | (#2535862)

Codeguide from Omnicore [] is absolutely outstanding. Its automatic code help [] feature is incredible. You can see the errors in your code before trying a compile.

I use Forte, and find it painfully slow, but its Swing forms designer tool is superb (it's a piece of cake to do GridBag layouts!)

CodeGuide is the best I've used in terms of quick, easy code development.


I use Idea, personally. (5, Informative)

mrAgreeable (47829) | more than 12 years ago | (#2535863)

I've tried several. Here's a rundown of what I've experienced. All of these have syntax highlighting, code completion, popup parameter help, can jump to the place a class or variable was defined. The all have a debugger.

Codeguide [] This was my first java IDE. I used it for a while. For a java IDE it's not so slow. Real-time compilation shows any code mistakes (it underlines them red), even stuff that others miss. Free evaluation version. Not terribly expensive. Relatively poor debugger. Nice autoindenting and code formatting. Virtually nonexistant CVS integration. Closed source.

JBuilder [] : Slow. Does a lot. Has excellent plugin support, so it can be extended a lot. Nice project management. The Enterprise version has excellent CVS integration. Has a visual editor if you do a lot of Swing programming. Fairly poor real-time error detecting. The best "enterprise" tools of these I mention. If you're doing j2ee stuff maybe you can use that stuff. Nice debugger. Library support for editing classpath is great. Autoindenting and code formatting a little weaker. Frustrating memory leak under linux has been plaguing it for years. There is a free version, closed source.

NetBeans [] SLOW. Reall, really slow. Has a ton of plugins. Ant integration is cool. Project management is a little hard to get used to. Etrememly flexible.I gave this one a real chance but the speed and bugs finally drove me away. Weak CVS integration. This is whas Sun's Forte is based on. (Think Mozilla/Netscape.) Open source.

Idea [] Excellent IDE. The refactoring support is 2nd to none in any IDE for any language I've ever seen. Code formatting is excellent, I've never seen so many options for how to format code. Code templates are cool. Library support is a little weaker than jbuilder and codeguide - that's one of its few weaknesses. Decent CVS integration. (Not as good as JBuilder, nothing I've seen is.) I code faster with this IDE than any I've used. UI to override methods, implement interfaces, move methods (and fix all the dependencies in your project), rename methods/classes. Lots more. Try it. Closed source.

Here is a whole slew IDE's (2, Informative)

crafty_barnardo (163062) | more than 12 years ago | (#2535867)

I found this site while searching Google for Java IDE's - here [] is the link. Hope it helps. It appears to have a listing of a whole bunch of different Java IDE's - some commercial, some
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