back to article IDE like an update, please: JetBrains freshens IntelliJ, adds improved GitHub integration, Java support

JetBrains has released IntelliJ IDEA 2020.2, a big mid-year update that adds support for Java 15 and Jakarta EE9 as well as improving its GitHub integration. JetBrains' IntelliJ platform is the basis for a range of IDEs including Google's Android Studio. The IDE runs on the JVM (Java Virtual Machine) and is mainly written in …

  1. james_smith Silver badge

    Something that keeps me on NetBeans rather than switching to IDEA is that you can only have one project open at a time in the latter. I really like the NetBeans "Projects" view, where I can move quickly between projects and do cross project refactoring.

    Any IDEA users aware of a similar approach? My last go at using IDEA a few months ago I found it took time to switch between projects and no way around the refactoring issue.

    1. Paul 195

      In IntelliJ a project can consist of multiple modules - each of which can be a separate maven or gradle project. IntelliJ projects are more like a Visual Studio solution or (shudder) an Eclipse workspace, being capable of containing multiple projects each of which builds to a single executable. You can also have multiple intellij projects open at the same time, in separate windows. I've never used Netbeans, but IntelliJ is *much* better than Eclipse.

      1. james_smith Silver badge

        This suggests a possibility that I hadn't thought of before. Our projects consist of a parent Maven POM, a bunch for projects for libraries and then a project for each application. I recall that there's some way to get Maven to check out a hierarchy of modules into one hierarchical structure that nests the projects. If so, then from your comment it sounds like IDEA can open those modules as one project - is that so?

        As for NetBeans versus Eclipse, I prefer the former because it has a much more consistent UI and saner default options. I also find it much less of a resource hog than Eclipse and it supports Maven projects properly. NetBeans did suffer from poor maintenance while under the ownership of Oracle, but it's come on leaps and bounds since becoming an Apache project.

    2. Someone Else Silver badge

      I don't know about IntelliJ specifically, but the Python-specific equivalent (PyCharm) allows one to have several projects open in different windows simultaneously. The problem you may be having is understanding JetBrains non-sequitir of a menu entry that allows access to other projects (File | Open Recent...). I'm sure in someone's mind that screams "Project", but not in mine....

    3. Smartypantz

      NetBeans is as steady as they go

      Also staying on netbeans!

      The UI is well thought out, cleanly arranged and conservatively managed. Just as any UI on a professional tool should be.

      "UX designers" are a blight on computing! Nobody wants an "experience" using their tools of trade! Especially not if this "experience" means change for the sake of change or for an sake not in their interest! (win 8, 10).

  2. Someone Else Silver badge

    "We meet again Mr. Anderson"

    Keeping up with VS Code when it comes to GitHub integration is challenging, though it seems unsurprising since both are Microsoft-owned.

    Micros~1 up to its old tricks again, I see.

    The more things change, the more they really don't.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Micros~1 up to its old tricks again, I see.

      Micros~1 up to its old tricks again, I see?

      What exactly is it that you are seeing? Microsoft are not innocent by any means, but there is literally nothing here to even suggest that they have been nefarious. You really need to read about the boy who cried wolf, then grow up.

      1. Someone Else Silver badge

        Re: Micros~1 up to its old tricks again, I see.

        Can you say "Leveraging"? I knew you could....

  3. sorry, what?
    WTF?

    Microsoft or JetBrains... hmmm... let me think...

    Nope. I don't need to. I haven't tried to use VSCode in anger, and only in the context of the Salesforce SFDX plugin, but it stinks. The UX is terrible. I did use Visual Studio for several years and found it rather limited in capabilities. The only IDE that really hits the nail on the head is IDEA. It just works so well, with superb refactoring support and brilliant git integration.

    As to the "frustration" of re-indexing mentioned in the article - what? Sure re-indexing can sometimes take a while, but how often are you really switching context on big projects? Switching VCS (read: git) branches, sure, but that takes almost no time at all. I tend to have IDEA open 24/7, occasionally opening additional projects in new windows, but there's always a way to use that "re-indexing" time. Even if it's a quick trip to the "restroom" or to grab a coffee from the kitchen.

    1. K Cartlidge

      Re: The UX is terrible

      These things are down to perception and preference where UX and UI are concerned, so I fully respect your opinion.

      To offer balance, I have a paid personal licence to PyCharms, Goland, Rider, and RubyMine, so I have no axe to grind as I've repeatedly spent my own money with them. They are superb for their refactoring and their understanding of a codebase, but I still prefer and use VS Code wherever possible as, for me, the UX/UI works great. More importantly (and surprisingly) it runs leaner and faster.

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: The UX is terrible

        Every now and the MS does come up with something half decent and VS Code is on of them.

        I've used it exclusively since I discovered it and I don't miss any of those other IDEs. I have access to many through Uni.

        1. Robert Grant Silver badge

          Re: The UX is terrible

          VSCode is great, and web-hostable - the web IDE in codesandbox.io is VSCode.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A JetBrains sales rep got really mad at me at a developer conference when I suggested I wasn't interested in even talking about Ryder because we were happy using Visual Studio Code (for free). True story.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Well I guess it must be pretty galling to see something eat your lunch because it's being given away for free by a multinational, when if it were paid for at market price it would appear in the "Others" column.

  5. elDog

    I'd like to throw in a kudo for JetBrain's database IDE - DataGrip

    I've used DataGrip on 3, perhaps 4, RDBMS and it has been a delight. Very performant and understands the various flavors of back-end technologies.

    I find myself switching between the PyCharm, DataGrip, and other JB interfaces to be very logical.

    Also the purchase of the full suite of tools seems reasonable, especially after the first year when the renewal prices decrease.

  6. _LC_ Silver badge
    Flame

    This is so excruciatingly slow...

    I've tested both this and CLion (C++) thoroughly. My system isn't slow. Yet, I felt like I had been transported back in time. The IDEs are so distressingly slow that it's hard to cope with them.

    JetBrains advertises its features and the IDEs are truly packed with them. They show you nice little videos with examples of refactoring and all. In the videos everything works, as the examples are simple. In reality, things go wrong eventually. CLion can't really refactor anything out of the real world, except for renaming things – which is handled by the Clang library and thus is available everywhere (KDevelop, QtCreator, ...)!

    I found that the major problem of this is that you spend about the same amount of time refactoring things, as you would with an advanced editor using search&replace. It's so unreliable that you have to check everything and – often enough – fix a lot of crap. This renders it mostly useless.

    You will find that many of their “convenience functionality” is so bogus that the trade-off costs you more than doing things the traditional way.

    I'm not criticizing functionality. When it works, it's super! However, whenever its unreliable – it becomes useless. Oh – and the speed or rather “the lack of it”... It lets you wait for all those convenience things; for ages!

    I ended up dumping all JetBrain products and I won't go back, no matter how shiny their new advertisements. :-(

    1. Wyrdness

      Re: This is so excruciatingly slow...

      I've been using Intellij Idea for years on pretty fast machines (quad core Xeon workstation and quad core i7 laptop) and it's always been really fast and responsive. Not sure why you think that it's slow.

      I'm currently doing c++ using QtCreator and am really missing the functionality of Intellij. I found that Intellij has a very steep learning curve and I hated it at first. But once I'd found my way around it, I found it far more productive than either Eclipse or VSCode.

    2. Elledan Bronze badge

      Re: This is so excruciatingly slow...

      I have everything from AppCode (Objective-C) to CLion and IintelliJ (Java & JavaScript) over the years for professional projects. I have always marveled at how much productivity is stolen by these IDEs.

      While AppCode was (is?) much preferred over the burning trainwreck careening down the tracks called XCode, CLion simply has no redeeming qualities over using CodeBlocks, Qt Creator or simply Notepad++ and a few terminal windows when you have some clue of what you're doing.

      IntelliJ was pure Hell, though. It always has to update, sync, point out errors or things it is unhappy with. Even my more enthusiastic colleagues shifted towards just running stuff from the CLI instead of doing it via the IDE.

      I have always wondered about the 'easy refactoring' feature as well. If one's code is apparently so volatile and poorly planned that it requires continuous refactoring, maybe it's time to consider another profession?

      1. _LC_ Silver badge

        Re: This is so excruciatingly slow...

        Refactoring doesn't imply bad code. There are many reasons for refactoring.

        Think of the current wave, which struck not only Linux: “Master/Slave abolishment”, “Black-/Whitelist” renaming, etc. pp. In this case it's only simple renaming, but this can already add up to work without the proper tools. ;-)

      2. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

        Re: This is so excruciatingly slow...

        Easy refactoring is actually a great feature. Rather than guess what you will need, you implement only what you need now and make it modular. You aggressively refactor as new features are added and the correct abstractions become clear. Looking back, how accurate were your big master plans for the future? Probably not great. Products are fickle things.

        That said, I'd rather use Eclipse. IntelliJ always feels clumsy. Regardless of tab preferences, the behavior of "close" seems nondeterministic. Navigate through 12 classes then use keyboard close shortcut to back out of the last 5 navigation. Three tabs close, some side panel minimizes, another tab closes, and now you're looking at an empty workspace with nothing open. What exactly is the UX workflow for wanting that?

  7. AndrueC Silver badge

    Would be nice if they'd move a bit quicker to resolve the long running performance issues that afflict its VS integration. It's sad just how much faster and more responsive VS is with R# disabled. Unfortunately as of yet VS is just a bit too annoying without R# but it's getting better. As it stands it's a case of choosing the lesser of two evils.

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