JetBrains Updates Java IDEs, Launches 'Code with Me'

Software development toolmaker JetBrains has announced updates of its popular IntelliJ IDEA integrated development environment (IDE), its RubyMine IDE for Ruby on Rails (RoR), and a new coding collaboration service. 

IntelliJ IDEA 2021.1, the first major release this year of the company's IDE for Java and other languages, now integrates with the company's Space collaboration solution out of the box. The new integration makes it possible to access project repositories directly from the IDE and collaborate with teammates on code improvements inside these projects. Users can write Space Automation scripts with all the coding assistance benefits they use in IntelliJ IDEA and use the new Code with Me service with embedded audio and video calls and chat messaging. 

The new version of the IDE also adds WSL 2 support for Java projects. The latest release of the Windows Subsystem for Linux architecture, announced last July, powers the WSL to run ELF64 Linux binaries on Windows. IntelliJ IDEA 2021.1 was designed to allow devs to open and work with Java projects located in WSL 2 in the IDE. While the IDE still runs on Windows, it will detect and use the JDK installation in WSL to compile and run Maven or Gradle projects located in WSL. Projects that use the IntelliJ IDEA build system are also supported, the company says.

The RubyMine 2021.1 release adds support for RBS, the new type of signature language that comes with Ruby 3, the latest version of popular frameworks for server-side development. This update supports "drastically improved code completion," the company says, even if the current project is based on an older version of Ruby. It also aims to improve the user experience and overall IDE usability by making it possible to run several hand-picked tests in a single run configuration, providing built-in HTML preview, and adding some improvements for pull request, among other enhancements.

"The recent release of Ruby 3 introduced a lot of great improvements addressing the needs of the Ruby community," said Nataliia Kudanova, product marketing manager in the company's RubyMine group, in a statement. "The addition of RBS brings advantages of a statically typed language, which are great for larger projects. For example, having types makes it easier to detect bugs, and the IDEs can provide better code assistance."

The Prague-based company also unveiled a new service for collaborative development and pair programming, dubbed Code With Me. The new service, provided via a plugin, is designed to allow developers to share projects opened in one of its IDEs with other coders, and to work on that project together in real time. 

Along with its support for simultaneous editing, the new service supports code autocompletion, navigation, and other code insight features, when working in a shared session in the IntelliJ Client; permissions management, which allows devs to configure what others can edit and run in a shared project, what is available as read-only, and what is completely invisible to their "guests:" and a private Code With Me server, which allows devs to set up and run the service on their private networks for extra security or for compliance requirements.

"We realize and admit the power of collaborative development, especially at a time when it’s challenging for developers to work together in the office space," said Ekaterina Kalinina, product marketing manager in the Code with Me group, in a statement. "We’re launching this service to empower developers across the world to work together and learn from each other." 

Along with pair programming (collaborative editing, testing, and debugging), the potential uses for this new service suggested by the company includes swarm programming (simultaneously coding together in a single remote IDE), teaching and mentoring (inviting a guest or multiple guests to follow along while explaining code), and technical interviews. 

The new service also supports audio/video and chats, and the JetBrains team plans to expand its functionality in the near future, the company says.

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].