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IntelliJ, Eclipse and Dropbox

For Java development, I use the best* Java IDE available, IntelliJ. My friend who I did some java programming with the other week uses Eclipse. Working together on the same project^, we thought we’d try using Dropbox to sync our work, since it was only a three day project with 2 people, so setting up a fully featured source repository wasn’t needed, and may have actually been harder to use than Dropbox for the same project.

Anyway, I thought I’d report back on how it went. It went really well, considering I was expecting it to break in the first 10 minutes. If having 2 IDE’s wasn’t enough to potentially cause problems, conflicting files was sure to halt us after 20 minutes. As it turns out, we didn’t really have any conflicting files that caused problems, though as I mentioned, it was only a small 3 day project, and we were both in the same room. 2 IDE’s? Well, naturally, Eclipse doesn’t support IntelliJ, so it was up to IntelliJ to support Eclipse, which it did better than expected. It did crash once when the .classfile was changed by my friend and Dropbox automatically synced it, but considering it was doing all the inter-IDE support and Eclipse was just using it’s own stuff, and we were using Dropbox for automatic syncing, I’ll let that small issue slip.

A few things to be aware of if you are going to try something like this out:

  • It only really worked because it was a small project and we were in the same room. We were able to talk to each other to pretty much avoid any file conflicts. Becasue of this, I think it was better than using a source control system like SVN. That also said, start adding more people, or making it a bigger project, and all of a sudden source control is starting to look really good.
  • Eclipse will need some setting’s changed to automatically refresh files when it detects changes. I think Eclipse has some form of caching system, so if a file gets changed on another computer, it will have an “out of sync” message. I don’t know how to do this, I don’t use Eclipse, and IntelliJ doesn’t have a problem with it.

Happy coding.

* Subjective, I know.
^ Annoyingly IntelliJ and Eclipse use the word project to mean different things. We were working on the same task if that makes it better.

IntelliJ IDEA Java IDE: Second Impressions

Edit: Just bought it. It is that good after a few days of use.

I have already given my unfavourable first impressions of IntelliJ IDEA, but I was forced to continue editing the post with an apology (the errors that were created were my fault) and another edit saying that I actually found it to be really good.

I decided I’ll give it another go (on my desktop, as the trial on my laptop has pretty much expired… or will expire in a few days, and my desktop has a lot more screen real estate, so is a much better developing environment.) Any all I can say, is if you look past the interface (it doesn’t blend into Windows too well, but you sort of get used to it,) all I can say is wow. Eclipse, I’m leaving you.

It’s true, IntelliJ does have everything. It is absolutely amazing, especially the static analysis tools that it offers. What are some of the absolutely amazing features I’ve noticed? Well, for one, the static analysis tool. Not only does it detect potential problems in your code, it can go ahead and fix them, without any problems at all! And how good are these static analysis tools? Well, I have a for loop. I could have used a for each loop, but didn’t because I was too lazy. IntelliJ suggested I use a for each loop, and actually went ahead (with my approval of course) and changed it to a for each loop, without breaking any code! Or maybe the small, but nice thing, when I was developing a reg-ex in another program, it automatically put a ‘\’ in front of every quote that needed it. I could quite literary paste the string and not have to change it at all.

I have barely scratched the surface and I’m already loving it. I don’t think I could use Eclipse again, unless it all of a sudden got really better or I don’t have a choice (e.g. in a work environment.)

So, this isn’t a review, but just a correction to say my first impressions weren’t correct. I’m definitely going to buy it when I get the funds together.

IntelliJ IDEA Java IDE: First Impressions

Edit: See the first comment in the comments section. These were first impressions, but as it turns out, they weren’t unique to IntelliJ, so they’re not really fair first impressions. When I’ve re-installed Windows, I’ll give IntelliJ another shot disregarding my first impressions.

Edit 2: I tried IntelliJ again on my desktop, and whilst it does take a little while to get used to the interface, it is actually quite good. I used it to finish off my first Android app, Virgin Mobile Usage Australia (it’s probably what gave me the motivation to finish it off.) I also setup a SVN server and I can say it integrates very well. I think I will buy a license after all.

Edit 3: I’m sick of editing this post with updates, so I wrote a new post (though it’s already got an edit… I love editing posts!). Check out my second impressions.

With a new computer, one of the first things I always do is go ahead and download all the programs that I’d generally need. As I do some Java development, I would normally download Eclipse, though whilst looking around, I stumbled upon IntelliJ IDEA, which some people have seemed to indicate is the absolute best Java IDE, better than Eclipse by a long way.

Now, I’ll start by saying I’m not a fanboy of any Java IDE… I used Eclipse because it was what I knew, and it worked. I am definitely open to changing if it will make my development more efficient.

So, when I finally downloaded it on my throttled connection, I launched it and tried to import a project I had already made. I had just plain java source files in Dropbox, rather than a whole project. Importing it was harder than I expected. Copying it into the source directory is a nice addition that Eclipse doesn’t support, but when I opened IntelliJ, the source files hadn’t appeared. I finally worked out I needed to make the package that these source files were all apart of in order to successfully add them. It would have been nice if it automatically made them, especially since it doesn’t have an import option (which isn’t a problem, if drag and dropping them doesn’t work.)

So, I got that project up in IntelliJ. It took me a little while to get it compiled, as whilst I appreciate that you have heaps more options for compiling, it doesn’t help when you actually don’t know how to use them. So I did work it out, and finally got it compiled. Well, all I can say is, that in IntelliJ, I get an exception that I don’t get in Eclipse. I don’t know what it is, nor have I found a fix for it. I’m still looking.

So, unable to successfully use my current project, I thought I’d make a test project from scratch. It was simply called “TestProject,” I made a package called “main,” and within it made a class called “test.java” with a main() function. When trying to run it, I have to chose a configuration. When choosing a configuration though, I need to chose a “main” class. I selected my test class, but a message comes up saying that “test is not acceptable,” which means I sort of can’t run my application.

So, it would seem, first impressions of IntelliJ are poor. Of course, they could just be me, but I have read through the help documentation to try and understand specific ways I need to do things, and also looked online for understanding IntelliJ for Eclipse users. Whilst I’m still going to try to keep using IntelliJ, as I definitely want to be able to improve my coding efficiency dramatically, if I can’t get it working, I’m not going to go out and buy it then.