IntelliJ IDE Keeps on Keepin' On

In a world of vanishing commercial Java IDEs, JetBrains' code-centric IntelliJ is something of an anomaly. Among the relatively few such tools to survive intact the advent of the Eclipse juggernaut, IntelliJ continues to innovate, adapt and, among its devoted users, thrive.

The company recently released IntelliJ IDEA 9.0, the latest version of the first, and at the time only, Java IDE with integrated code refactoring capabilities. In the new version, the company has cranked up the environment with background indexing at startup; provided support for OSGi development via the Osmorc plug-in repository (which was contributed by Robert Beeger and Jan Thomä); and enhanced support for the open source Maven repository manager (including integration with the Flexmojos collection of Maven plug-ins).

The new version also improves on the tool's vaunted code-understanding capabilities. For example, dead code is instantly highlighted as the developer types because of improvements in the internal indexes behind the IntelliJ code insight engine. It also overcomes the wordiness of certain Java-language constructs by automatically folding generic parameters, one-method anonymous classes and i18n-ized messages.

As expected, this release provides support for the newly approved Java Enterprise Edition 6 specification, but also offers preliminary support for Java 7.

This version also supports the Groovy language, Android operating system, the Flex framework and Adobe AIR, the PHP dynamic scripter, Apache Tapestry and UML.

IntelliJ IDEA includes an Eclipse Integration feature that allows developers to export, import and synchronize IntelliJ IDEA projects with Eclipse. It also supports the Eclipse format of storing dependencies, the company said, which allows developers to share the single code base within a mixed-IDE team.

Beginning with IntelliJ IDEA version 9, which is available now, the company will offer its flagship IDE in two editions. First is a Community Edition, which is a free, open source version aimed at "plain Java development." It comes with refactorings and code inspections, coding assistance, debugging, TestNG and JUnit testing, CVS, Subversion and Git support, and Ant and Maven build integration.

The new Ultimate Edition is a commercial, full-featured version that includes support for JVM-based polyglot projects, Java EE, Spring, Hibernate and the complete tools bundle. This edition also provides "tight integration" with Perforce, Rational ClearCase and Microsoft Team Foundation Server, according to the company.

JetBrains is offering a 30-day trial version of the Ultimate Edition on its Web site here. The Community Edition can be downloaded from the same link.

About the Author

John K. Waters is the editor in chief of a number of sites, with a focus on high-end development, AI and future tech. He's been writing about cutting-edge technologies and culture of Silicon Valley for more than two decades, and he's written more than a dozen books. He also co-scripted the documentary film Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, which aired on PBS.  He can be reached at [email protected].