Java is one of the easiest and most commonly applied programming languages and computing platforms on the globe.
Programmers use it to create stable and secure desktop and mobile apps, enterprise applications, and other web applications. It is preferred over other programming languages because it is versatile, enabling users to develop different kinds of apps and applications.
Among their many applications, web developers prefer Java Integrated Development Environment (IDEs) because they can use them to create complete smart codes and validate errors on the go.
Due to Java’s popularity, users find it challenging to choose the best Java IDE out of a full list of options available.
This guide outlines the definition of IDEs and their advantages, and the 10 best Java IDEs for Java programmers, including their essential features, benefits, and demerits.
An IDE is a platform developers use to create codes and applications within a framework comprising all the necessary features and facilities.
It is a graphical user interface (GUI)-based platform, whose best features are measured by factors, such as language support, OS requirements, and IDE-specific costs, among others.
It comes with text editors, compilers, debuggers, and other capabilities, enabling developers to automate, test, and analyze the development flow of an application.
Why use IDEs?
Developers use IDEs to save on time and effort spent during programming. IDEs come with multiple tools and features, which enable web and app developers to organize resources, access shortcuts, and prevent errors.
IDEs also enable developers to meet project or company standards because they facilitate an environment where a group of developers can agree to a standard way of working.
The availability of predefined templates for a given IDE also makes it easy to share code libraries among a team of developers, leading to quality project output.
Many IDEs support project management because they have documentation tools, which automate developers’ entry of comments or require them to write comments across different areas of a project.
With these basics about IDEs, let’s have a look at the leading IDEs for Java programming.
Eclipse ranks among the best Java IDEs for java programming because it is an open-source platform written mostly in Java. Developers can use it to customize solutions to improve the application’s stability and security.
It is a stable tool for compiling and writing Java programs, enabling users to highlight the syntax written. You can also use it for debugging the program.
Developers use Eclipse to develop apps in different programming languages through the support of plug-ins. It is a highly flexible, extensible, and compatible tool, which users can integrate with other programming languages, such as Python, Groovy, C#, and C++, etc.
It comes with support for Java 8.0 and 9.0.
It has support for Linux, Windows, Solaries, and Mac OS.
It has a ready-made code template.
Users can validate syntax automatically.
It supports improvements to the internal code structure, also known as code refactoring.
It enables users to manage their projects remotely as it carries functions for incremental compilation, code suggestions, and editing with prompt validation.
It has powerful tools for modeling, reporting, charting, and testing.
It has an extensive documentation and help platform.
Users can download client solutions through Eclipse’s marketplace.
It has a robust debugging and recommendation feature for flagging errors.
It can be used to develop multiple mathematical documents using the TeXlipse plug-in and the Mathematica software packages.
The workplace is user friendly, enabling developers to identify files, projects, and folders easily.
Users can integrate Eclipse with Git version control and Apache Maven server.
Eclipse has a robust integration facility, enabling developers to build stable tools like Maven and ANT.
Users can use the same platform to develop multiple web and standalone apps and web services.
It has inbuilt debuggers and recommendations.
Eclipse requires intensive validation of HTML and JSP files.
Without proper documentation and guidelines, users can experience difficulties with the initial setup.
IntelliJ IDEA is one of the best Java IDEs for programmers developed by JetBrains. It offers advanced mobile and web support, as well as hybrid application development.
IntelliJ IDEA comes in two editions, the Apache 2 Licensed community, and the proprietary commercial/Ultimate edition. Developers can use both editions for commercial development.
The tool supports functions, such as code completion, reliable refactoring, code analysis, and other suggestions. The version control system allows for multiple frameworks and languages.
It holds smart completion capabilities. Developers can access the most relevant symbols that suit the application’s context. It makes code completion faster and easier by constantly rearranging and prioritizing the most recently used methods, classes, etc.
It has data flow analytic capabilities, enabling users to determine the possible symbol when running the application.
Developers can easily integrate fragments of other programming languages, such as SQL, into Java code.
It has an all-round knowledge of symbol usages, enabling developers to refactor conclusively and effectively.
IntelliJ IDEA has multiple, robust inbuilt web development tools, such as Version Control, Coverage, GIT, and Database SQL, among others.
It has a stable and effective compiler for detecting code smells, duplicates, etc.
Developers can easily integrate it with application servers.
IntelliJ IDEA is an effective tool for locating repetitive code blocks and displaying errors, making it a reliable IDE for Java programmers.
It has a robust customization functionality, enabling users to change the structure of their projects as desired.
It has multiple theme options, making it flexible for building the desired user interface.
IntelliJ IDEA has a complex learning curve and poor tool documentation capabilities.
The paid version, the enterprise edition, is costly, yet the IDE may crash in the face of a heavy application.
BlueJ is a free open-source Java IDE suitable for beginners. It ranks among the best IDEs for Java programming because it has capabilities for visual and fast scanning of code.
It also has many extensions, making it a highly versatile tool for developing a robust and fast application.
It was initially designed for learning and training, but today, it is mostly used in small scale industries. Users can create the desired application objects and test them for stability and security. It is also portable and accessible on many operating systems.
BlueJ is simple and attractive for beginners in Java programming.
It is an interactive IDE, allowing for integration with objects while inspecting their values and using them as method parameters.
The tool is highly portable, running on multiple, Java-enabled operating systems, such as Mac OS, Windows, or Linux.
It is also versatile with many powerful features, such as code pad, object bench, and scope coloring, aspects not found on other java IDEs for java programmers.
It has portable teaching materials, including the BlueJ textbook.
BlueJ is one of the best IDEs for beginners in Java programming because it is easy to learn.
It is a flexible tool, enabling developers to see the Unified Modeling Language (UML) view of the project, which makes it easy to locate user classes.
Users can directly use the Java expression without having to compile the code.
BlueJ lacks advanced features for experienced developers to develop powerful applications, limiting its usage to beginners.
It is not compatible with big projects as it crashes when contradicting Java dialects are introduced.
NetBeans is an open-source Java IDE governed by Apache Software Foundation. Programmers use it to create web and mobile applications using diverse modules, also known as, software components. Developers can run it on Mac OS, Solaris, Linux, and Windows.
Its value-adding, inbuilt tools enable users to add features to project requirements from inception to deployment. It also comes with quick and smooth code editing capabilities.
NetBeans is an easy and simple Java IDE suitable for full-scale web and mobile development.
It has real-time error detection capabilities.
It also has automated documentation popups and smart code completion functionalities.
It comes with a refactoring tool, allowing developers to restructure code safely.
It conducts source code analysis, providing multiple hints for code enhancement and repair.
It has stable inbuilt support tools for Ant and Maven, and Gradle plugin. More plugins can be obtained from its rich set of community.
NetBeans allows for smart and fast code editing within its development environment.
It also carries code converters and a static tool for analysis.
Developers using NetBeans can deploy the code internally within the IDE’s environment.
They can also format and define all language rules.
Programmers can write similar pages simultaneously because NetBeans has a side-by-side code comparison capability.
NetBeans is a large tool, which can get slow during deployment. Developers can caution themselves against such problems by using a lighter version.
The IDE’s plugins for IOS and Android development can be improved for seamless integration.
It is an advanced tool with coding, debugging, profiling, optimization, and execution capabilities.
JDeveloper also comes with multiple layers of framework, making it easy for developers to write and deploy their programs with less coding. The inbuilt declarative and visual editors give it user-friendly drag and drop capabilities.
JDeveloper is a free application, making it affordable to developers.
It is a comprehensive tool with functionalities to create web and mobile apps, and database applications.
It is a flexible tool, enabling users to manage the entire development process for applications that are within the JDeveloper interface.
It has visually appealing and declarative editors for easier and simpler element definition.
It supports Java EE, Java SE, and other database environments for application development.
JDeveloper IDE has an agile development framework, allowing for flexible and strong integration mechanisms and software versioning.
It has a good database connection and developers can easily execute SQL queries.
JDeveloper is complex, making it difficult for beginners to use without guidance.
It consumes huge memory, causing it to slow down whenever developers try to deploy bulky business processes.
Android Studio is one of the best IDEs for java programmers using the Android Operating System. This tool is developed through the IntelliJ IDEA software, and it is built specifically for Android development.
It is renowned for its stability and reliability, including inbuilt tools for fast Android development. Android Studio is accessible through Mac OS, Linux, and Windows-based operating systems.
Android Studio has a visual layout editor for creating complex constraint layouts.
Its fast emulator enables developers to simulate different features and configurations. It also ensures prompt app installations.
The intelligent code editor allows for better code writing through its editing and auto-completion tool.
It also has a flexible builder, allowing for customization of the apps’ memory, CPU time, and connectivity.
The APK analyzer helps in managing the size of the android app, hence, customization of its user interface.
Android Studio has a customizable build system, allowing developers to create their programs flexibly.
It has powerful features for detecting underperforming, enabling developers to deploy remedies.
Its powerful code editor comes with code completion for Kotlin, C++, and Java programming languages.
Android Studio is relatively costly because it requires high memory to operate.
It also comes with multiple errors, which are difficult to resolve, such as to render problems and layout.
JGrasp is a lightweight IDE with automatic software visualization capabilities. It is a comprehensive, platform-independent tool, which developers can run on all platforms, including virtual machines running on Java.
Its powerful functionalities make it suitable for providing the control framework for multiple programming languages, including Java, C++, and Python.
Its strong system allows for visualization of software applications.
It comes with a UML class diagram for an effective understanding of inter-class dependencies.
It offers users dynamic views for primitives and objects.
Its string debugger enables developers to study and review the code carefully.
The robust integration feature allows for code editing, addition, and immediate execution.
JGrasp is a multi-layer IDE, providing users with automatically-generated software visualization.
Its own set of plugins enable developers to locate bugs, check style, etc.
It has a complete documentation of user guides.
JGrasp lacks a navigation mechanism making it less user friendly to new developers.
Huge applications requiring a lot of classes and coding will slow its deployment.
Xinox software’s JCreator is one of the best Java IDEs for Java Programmers mainly because it is programmed entirely in C++. This feature makes the tool faster than other Java-based IDEs.
JCreator’s powerful platform makes it a reliable development tool for coding. It can handle multiple JDK profiles across various projects. It is also easy to customize due to its robust API guidelines. Its user-friendly user interface is ideal for beginners as it allows for smooth navigation.
JCreator comes with multiple programming functionalities for developers, including project templates, code completion, syntax highlighting, debugger, wizards, and others.
Developers can use it to compile and deploy Java programs directly without the need to activate the main document.
JCreator is developed in C++ programming language, making it efficient and fast for web and mobile app development.
It has a robust user interface, giving it a user-friendly source code navigation panel.
It has a code auto-indent functionality, improving document and project readability.
It has an effective operating framework, allowing developers to perform advanced tasks, including code completion, word wrap, spell checks, etc.
Developers can build and deploy the project within the JCreator IDE, saving them time.
JCreator only supports Windows operating system, limiting developers using Mac or Linux OS.
It has a poor plugin architecture, making it difficult for developers to integrate new features.
Greenfoot is one of the best educational Java IDE for Java Programmers. It provides an appropriate environment for real-time programming and interaction between learners and trainers.
It has powerful functionalities for creating two-dimensional software, such as simulations and interactive games. It also comes with a rich pool of materials and teachers from whom learners can gain useful, programming ideas.
Greenfoot has good online tutorials and educational materials for learners.
The IDE allows for the creation of two-dimension applications.
Developers use the standard text Java code, giving them real-time visual and traditional views of their programming projects.
Greenfoot supports code completion, syntax highlighting, and other project management functionalities.
Greenfoot IDE is an open-source platform with excellent materials for beginners to learn Java programming.
Its online community of teachers and learners enables developers to interact and participate in a single forum.
The IDE has an easy and simple learning curve.
Greenfoot IDE lacks advanced features to support programming for huge applications.
The interface requires updating to make it more user friendly.
This is a lightweight open-source Java IDE originally created for trainers and students, allowing them to write, check, and review written Java codes while providing a friendly programming environment.
DrJava has a robust support system with inbuilt debuggers and testing capabilities through Junit. It also has more powerful features for advanced developers.
Programmers can evaluate the Java code and generate the output within the same console.
DrJava was developed using the powerful Sun Microsystems’ Swing toolkit, giving it a consistent appearance across multiple platforms.
It has a wide variety of quality features for developers, including, autocompletion, brace matching, commenting, syntax coloring, and others.
It is applicable on multiple platforms, such as Mac OS, Windows, and Linux.
DrJava is a lightweight IDE, allowing for a smooth and faster deployment.
The tool is designed for beginners and students, hence, users are not required to launch the initial setup.
Developers can test and troubleshoot their programs quickly because their interaction features allow for independent class execution.
DrJava comes with basic IDE functionalities, which restrict users from deploying features like auto-completion extensively across multiple class names.
It can be slow for heavy real-time applications, limiting its use in lightweight environments.
Java is one of the easiest and most popular computing platforms worldwide, thanks to its versatility in creating stable and secure web, mobile, and enterprise applications.
Java IDEs are the best for programmers because they enable developers to save on time and effort, document their projects, and meet the set application standards.
Of the many IDEs for java programming, this article covers the top 10, including Eclipse, IntelliJ IDEA, BlueJ, NetBeans, JDeveloper, Android Studio, JGrasp, JCreator, Greenfoot, and DrJava.
This collection consists of the best Java IDEs for novice and experienced Java programmers to develop stable, powerful, and user-friendly applications.
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Jamsheer K, is the Tech Lead at Acodez. With his rich and hands-on experience in various technologies, his writing normally comes from his research and experience in mobile & web application development niche.