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[java] Opinions on Java IDEs?

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I've been developing Java applications for a while now with simple editors like emacs, vi, and textpad. I now feel like I have a solid grasp on the Java language and I'm ready for a good IDE. I hear some people like NetBeans, but I've heard some negative things about it. Among other things, I've heard it's really slow, (it was written in Java, after all). I've also heard about JBuilder, but I'm not sure if a free version is available from Borland. Today, a proffesor introduced me to Bluejay. It seemed pretty nice. It would automatically generate a UML diagram based on your code, had a great debugger, and a nice editor. Anyone out there have any experience with Java IDEs? What would you recommend/what have your experiences been like? Thanks in advance!

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There is a free release of JBuilder out now (I didn't like the changes to the auto-indenting in this version though.) I highly recommend Eclipse; for a long time I didn't bother to check it out, but recently I did and I really like it (and its free too). There's also JCreator, a decent IDE that I started out with that also has a free release.

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After spending a large amount of time with NetBeans 3.6 over the past few months, I can safely say that it is one of the worst IDEs I have ever used. Go for JCreator or Eclipse.

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Another vote for Eclipse 3.0 [wink].

Given it's free, and (from what I hear) you can also stick C/C++ support in, it's great. JCreator sucks with its latest release - it was looking great, but then it got all slow and unstable when trying too hard to mimmick VStudio..

only 2 things I don't like about eclipse:

1. It can be a bit clunky and slow in places, not a problem, just can be a bit annoying when it briefly freezes whilst loading up all 10,000,000,000,000 intellisense tips when you press "." or "System."

2. The concept of workspaces and projects. Suppose it works in a more cross-platform nature (it's quite "unix'y"). I much prefer how VStudio works - open and save a project/solution file, and it then imports/exports the necessary source code and resources...

FTR, I might be a little biased - I work with Eclipse development here at work :-)

Jack

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Depends on the Operating System you use. I, being a Mac OS X user, use Xcode for all of my programming. On windows, I have been fairly frustrated working in most Java IDEs with my latest project. I would say eclipse is ok, but it gets way too slow at times on my PC. Netbeans is ok as well, but also is a bit slow, JBuilder is OK, not particulary impressed by it, but it doesn't frustrate me as much as eclipse or netbeans. I tried JCreator briefly, and it seems to be fairly nice. So I guess it depends on what OS you are doing Java development on.

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As long as you don't use Mac OS, I say go for NetBeans 4.0! With the expception of mac os, it runs really fine on any os (and even mac os may be possible, if you have administration rights).

Version 4.0 is real easy to use and it's got Ant-based projects which is just great!

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eclipse for 3 years now...

started with notepad, joe, jedit etc pp., and for simple editing i still use jedit or notepad2, but for projects it's eclipse...

a big point for eclipse is definitly that its free and has a whole lot of plugins (example: www.eclipse-plugins.info)...
ok, it needs resources, can be pretty annoying on some older machines, but it's worth it, in my oppinion...

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Despite the fact that I frequently curse it (Daily at work in fact), I think I have to recommend Eclipse as the best free (and professional-grade) available tool for Java development.

If you get it and want an idea of its handy features (it has bugger-all documentation) then PM me and I'll give you a quick run down.

One tip- you may have to edit the desktop icon to Eclipse and allocate the JVM some more memory if you want tolerable speeds and youre working on a large project.

Good luck
Jon

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Quote:
Despite the fact that I frequently curse it (Daily at work in fact)
There's something very familiar sounding about that [wink]. My current project is related to writing some new language editors as eclipse-3 plugins...

Eclipse, at least for Java, has a lot of very powerful features given that it's free/open-source. You've got decent debugging (comparable to VStudio imo), decent build management (Using ANT) and code-refactoring support built in.

Quote:
edit the desktop icon to Eclipse and allocate the JVM some more memory if you want tolerable speeds
Got any more info on this? sounds interesting... my work machine has 1gb RAM - would happily allocate more to eclipse if it'll make it happier!

Cheers,
Jack

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Eclipse, all the way.

It's pretty sluggish on my 128MB/700MHz laptop, but works wonderfully on my very fast personal desktop and my work laptop (752MB/2GHz Celeron). As long as you have a recent machine, Eclipse should work fine, and I think RAM is more important than CPU in this case.

But enough of this "slow because it's written in Java" crap. Enough misinformation, please! Let's move on from the mid-nineties performance problems.

--cfmdobbie

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But enough of this "slow because it's written in Java" crap
Two quick points I've found in my travels:

1. It's, from what I read, slow during loading simply because of the way it pre-loads lots of plugins and has to traverse a potentially huge depedency graph.

2. The SWT (Standard Widget Toolkit) that they developed for the GUI is amazingly fast (uses platform-specific native code to get the best performance/results). Makes you wonder what the £$%! Swing is playing at.

hth
Jack

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Guest Anonymous Poster
emacs is not a simple editor! It should fill all of the needs that you want from an IDE. and more.

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Another vote for Eclipse. I only have 1.0GHz with 512MB of RAM and I don't have speed problems with it, once it loads. It does have a longer load time than other progs, but I can wait for it. It also has excellent built in CVS support. It is unbelieveably easy to use CVS with it.

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Loading an existing projetct into Netbeans is a real pain. I also found it alot slower than other IDEs.

I also give my vote to Eclipse. It's powerful, solid, extensible and has a big community providing lots of useful plugins for it, or you can develop your own. Apart from that, you can use Eclipse for C++, UML, and lots of other things as well, if you install the corresponding plugins.

If you have the cash, I can also recommend IntelliJ. I think it's the best commercial Java IDE. But I'm not sure if it's worth spending money here. Eclipse can do almost everything that IntelliJ can do, and it is being improved all the time.

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Quote:
Original post by jollyjeffers
Quote:
Despite the fact that I frequently curse it (Daily at work in fact)
There's something very familiar sounding about that [wink]. My current project is related to writing some new language editors as eclipse-3 plugins...

Eclipse, at least for Java, has a lot of very powerful features given that it's free/open-source. You've got decent debugging (comparable to VStudio imo), decent build management (Using ANT) and code-refactoring support built in.

Quote:
edit the desktop icon to Eclipse and allocate the JVM some more memory if you want tolerable speeds
Got any more info on this? sounds interesting... my work machine has 1gb RAM - would happily allocate more to eclipse if it'll make it happier!

Cheers,
Jack


Sure. I assume you're using Windows.

Go to your desktop icon for Eclipse, right click and select "properties" then select the shortcut tab and where it says target write something like:

C:\Java\eclipse\eclipse.exe -vm C:\Java\j2sdk1.4.2\bin\javaw.exe -vmargs -Xmx512M

The first path is the path to the eclipse executable, which should already be there, the second is the explicit path to your JVM and the two arguments allocate 512 MB of RAM to the JVM when running Eclipse. I wouldnt go above that, merely because with lots of RAM - instead of dead object refs getting garbage collected- they will get swapped out on to disk and stored instead, which means garbage collection will take even longer when it does run, as it has to fetch a load of pages with dead object refs from disk.

Jon

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Sure. I assume you're using Windows.
Yup, using XP-Pro. Cheers for the help..

I cloned your commmand line accordingly, seems to still work - guess I'll have to do some hardcore development before I can determine any improvements. It's friday afternoon now, not really too keen on doing much work today [wink].

512mb should be good enough - I've not paid that much attention to what it's used in the past, but I highly doubt it's that much.


Quote:
a big community providing lots of useful plugins for it
Another interesting dimension to this is that IBM (amongst others) are using the platform as their defacto standard base platform for development and testing tools.

Minor point up front I suppose, but if you have big companies making sizeable investments in the tool (even if it is now open-source) you can be guaranteed that it'll probably accrue a fair bit of attention from the people that can make a big difference. Hell, IBM are pouring a fair bit of money into the project across their various labs...

Jack

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As people said
JCreator is the most lightweight, straightforward, and probably the fastest.

Eclipse is stable with lots of features.

Netbeans is feature rich but a bad performer; however, I haven't noticed the performance hit with the linux version.

I personally use eclipse the most because it most easily allows java and C++ in the same project, which makes using the JNI substantially easier.

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I used Netbeans 4. It is looking even better with the JFluid profiler built in. Just make sure you have the recommened 384MB of physical memory.

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