IntelliJ IDEA 12 Supports Java 8

JetBrains last week released version 12 of its venerable integrated development environment (IDE), IntelliJ IDEA. This is a major release of the Prague-based company's code-centric Java IDE that introduces a new compiler mode, an Android UI designer, support for Java 8, and a redesigned "Darcula" interface that offers what the company calls "a new stylish dark look and feel."

IntelliJ IDEA offers full support for the next version of the Java platform, with code assistance for the new syntax -- including lambda expressions, method references, and default methods. Project Lambda (JSR 335), adds closures and related features to the Java language to support programming in multicore environments.

This release comes with a brand new compile the company's developers rebuilt "from the ground up" so that it would function as a separate process that compiles a project automatically in the background with every change. The compiler is used in-process via the Java API, and users can enable the triggering of compilation automatically by events from the IDE's file system.

This version adds significant new support for the Spring Framework, including performance enhancements, XML support, drag-and-drop support for enhanced dependency diagrams, and annotation-based configurations. This release also adds support for the Spring Integration framework for enterprise integration patterns, the Spring Security authentication and access control framework, the Spring Batch framework, and Spring Web Flow, among others.

Version 12 of the IDE also adds a new UI designer component for building advanced layouts for Android mobile devices. The company says this was one of the most requested features to be included in this release.

Intriguingly, this release also comes with support for the open-source Play (  web app framework (version 2.0), which is written in Scala (a JVM language) and Java. Play follows a model-view-controller (MVC) architectural pattern, and it's favored by Scala developers. IntelliJ IDEA 12 allows developers to create, run and debug Play 2.0 applications using both Java and Scala, and includes advanced code assistance, such as templates support, formatter, and refactorings.

This release adds to its battery of database tools with support for SQL. "With IntelliJ IDEA 12, you not only have intelligent code assistance for SQL, but can also design your database right from the IDE," product marketing manager Andrey Cheptsov wrote in his blog. "As databases are part of most projects today, it is time for us to help developers work with them more productively."

And there's the new Darcula interface, which offers "the darker side" of the IDE, JetBrains marketing manager Eugenia Dubova told ADTmag in an e-mail. But according to its creator, senior developer Konstantin Bulenkov, there's a practical side to the new theme.

"Our goal was to make the interface clearer and more functional," Bulenkov said. "This dark theme minimizes distraction so you can focus more on the code and less on the IDE."

IntelliJ IDEA 12 is available now. The company offers a free Community Edition, and an Ultimate Edition with a wider set of features. More information is available here.

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].