JetBrains Releases Major IntelliJ IDEA Update

Software development toolmaker JetBrains has released a major update of its flagship code-centric Java IDE, IntelliJ IDEA. Version 2018.3, the third major update release this year, offers faster IDE startup, better UI responsiveness, less UI and editor freezes, reduced memory consumption (specifically on Gradle projects), and a bunch of bug fixes.

"We held a quality-marathon, during which the IntelliJ IDEA team rallied together with several other JetBrains developer teams to work specifically on polishing the IDE and making performance improvements, UI responsiveness fixes, usability enhancements, improvements in the existing functionality, and more," said Zlata Kalyuzhnaya, in a blog post.

To boost start-up time, JetBrains introduced several changes to the IntelliJ platform. They parallelized some of the processes that were running sequentially, reorganized the classes to make the initial class loading faster, and optimized the font loading on macOS, along with other changes.

Reporting UI freezes is also easier in this release, and the company was able to resolve issues that were causing UI freezes in more 1600 reports, Kalyuzhnaya said. "We've also fixed various other editor freezes by investing a lot of effort into optimizing Java type inference. And… the Java type inference for long method call chains now works much faster. We've sped up code highlighting in Java files, especially when it comes to methods with generic var-args (Arrays.asList, Map.ofEntries, etc.) into which dozens of arguments are passed. The performance of the Join Lines action, when it's invoked for many lines at once, has also improved."

This release also addresses the hassle of plugin management by implementing new support for dynamic plugin installation. "This basically means that the IDE can now load and unload plugins without restarting," Kalyuzhnaya explained. This capability currently for the theme and keymap plugins, she added. The company plans to extend this capability to most plugins in future releases.

This release of the IntelliJ IDE Ultimate edition (this edition only) comes with rich coding assistance and navigation for the new generation of microservices frameworks, specifically Micronaut, Quarkus, and Helidon. For those who use reactive web services on top of Spring JetBrains added support for Spring Web Flux.

IntelliJ IDEA 2019.3 also introduces MongoDB support. This initial support provides users with the ability to view collections and fields in the database explorer, run queries, and review query results. Future version will include enhanced support.

Two editions of the new version of IntelliJ IDEA are available for download now from the company Web site. A community edition for JVM and Android development, which is free and open source, and an "Ultimate" edition for Web and enterprise development, which includes a free trial.

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].