JetBrains IntelliJ IDEA 2020.1 Released with Java 14 Support

Software development toolmaker JetBrains has released IntelliJ IDEA 2020.1, a major update of its flagship code-centric Java IDE.

This version, the first major update released this year, comes with support for the latest Java 14 release, as well as new features for several Web and test frameworks, an upgrade of the debugger with dataflow analysis assistance, and a new LightEdit mode.

The Java 14 support in this release includes full code insight support for Records, as well as support for Pattern Matching for the instanceof operator. Users can now download and set up a JDK build directly from the IDE as they create and configure a project, or open an existing project that lacks the required Java version. There are also new Java inspections in this version to analyze date-formatting cases and search for additional redundant method calls. The IDE can also report unnecessary escaping characters in string literals and suggest eliminating them.

The recently introduced JetBrains Mono font has become the default font in IntelliJ IDEA 2020.1. The free and open-source Mono was specifically designed by the Prague-based company for developers to improve code readability.

The new LightEdit mode in this release gives developers a way to make quick modifications to standalone files in a text-like editor without creating or loading the entire project. In LightEdit mode, a file is opened in a separate editor window which may coexist with other project windows. "[I]f you just need to open a single file, make a few changes, and save, LightEdit is the quickest way to do it," said JetBrains product manager Artem Sarkisov, in a blog post, "and you don't have to use a third-party editor."

The LightEdit mode also allows devs to quickly rename and edit the parameters of a class or method with the newly added in-place Rename and Change Signature refactorings. The new Code Vision feature shows the usages and implementations of Java symbols. The navigation bar now shows methods in Java classes and interfaces. And the Zen mode combines Distraction Free Mode with Full Screen Mode, allowing devs to eliminate any distractions and focus solely on their source code.

New version control features include:

  • A new Commit tool window that provides more space for the list of modified files and the diff. It also allows devs to add changes to a commit when they are ready, and compose a commit message iteratively.
  • The reworked "Interactively Rebase from Here" dialog features a graph showing which actions have been applied, displays of commit details, and it lets developers see a diff so they can review or reset the changes as appropriate.
  • The Branches popup now includes an explicit search field and a reworked Refresh button.

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. A complete list of tools and frameworks supported in the Ultimate edition is available on the Web.

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].