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Table of contents
1.
Introduction
2.
What is an IDE?
3.
What is IntelliJ?
4.
What is Eclipse?
5.
Difference Between IntelliJ vs Eclipse
6.
Features of IntelliJ
7.
Features of Eclipse
8.
Which IDE is better for beginners?
9.
Frequently Asked Questions
9.1.
Is IntelliJ really better than Eclipse?
9.2.
Which is better NetBeans or Eclipse or IntelliJ?
9.3.
Is IntelliJ IDEA the best IDE?
9.4.
Can we open Eclipse projects with IntelliJ?
9.5.
Which IDE is easier to set up?
9.6.
What is the difference between JDK and JRE?
10.
Conclusion
Last Updated: May 2, 2024
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IntelliJ vs Eclipse

Author Rahul Singh
1 upvote

Introduction

In software development, the Integrated Development Environment (IDE) plays a pivotal role, serving as the cornerstone of productivity, efficiency, and code quality. Among all those available IDEs all over the internet, IntelliJ IDEA and Eclipse emerge as titans, each boasting a dedicated user base, extensive feature sets, and robust development ecosystems.

Introduction

This article will explore the main differences between IntelliJ and Eclipse and help you decide which IDE is better for you. Let us start by introducing both IDEs.

Read more, how to run java program

What is an IDE?

An Integrated Development Environment (IDE) is a software application that provides comprehensive tools and features to facilitate software development tasks in one cohesive platform. It typically includes code editors, debuggers, compilers, build automation tools, and project management features, streamlining the development process and enhancing productivity for programmers and developers.

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What is IntelliJ?

IntelliJ is a cross-platform Java IDE developed by JetBrains. It supports many programming languages like Java, Kotlin, Groovy, etc. It is known for its intelligent code completion, refactoring and debugging tools, and colossal plugin ecosystem. These plugins extend its functionality and help to integrate IntelliJ with various other tools. It is easy to use and provides a smooth experience for new developers.

JetBrains offer different editions of the IDE for various purposes:

  1. Community Edition: This edition is free and open source. It is a popular choice for individual developers and minor projects. It provides all the basic features of an IDE, like code completion, debugging tools, etc.
     
  2. Ultimate Edition: This edition is a commercial version of the IDE. It has all features of the Community Edition plus more. It supports more programming languages and has more productivity features. It is a popular choice for professional teams and large projects.
     
  3. Educational Edition: This edition is for educational institutions, students and teachers. It allows a smooth learning process.

What is Eclipse?

Eclipse is a cross-platform open-source Java IDE developed by the Eclipse Foundation. It supports multiple programming languages like Java, C/C++, Ruby, etc., with the help of plugins. As it is an open-source project, it has better community support. It is better for experienced developers as it has many plugins that might confuse beginners. It requires fewer resources and performs better. 

It is more customisable and offers two types of IDEs - Desktop IDEs and Cloud IDEs. Cloud IDEs like Eclipse Orion and Eclipse Che allow users to develop software wherever they go in their browsers.

Also see,  Eclipse ide for Java Developers

Difference Between IntelliJ vs Eclipse

The following table shows the differences between IntelliJ and Eclipse:

Based on

IntelliJ

Eclipse

Developed by

JetBrains.

Eclipse Foundation.

User Interface

IntelliJ has a more modern and polished UI, making it easy to use. It has a dark theme by default.

Eclipse has a traditional UI, thus less visually appealing. It has a light theme by default.

Programming Languages supported

IntelliJ supports more languages out of the box.

Eclipse supports comparatively fewer languages.

Source Code Language

IntelliJ is written in Java and Kotlin.

Eclipse is written mainly in Java.

Performance

IntelliJ has a better memory management system and thus performs better.

Eclipse is slower because of slower indexing and higher memory consumption.

Plugins

IntelliJ offers many plugins (but still less than Eclipse). 

Eclipse provides a higher number of plugins.

Refactoring

IntelliJ has refactoring features out of the box.

Eclipse needs plugins to get refactoring features.

Cloud IDE

IntelliJ does not offer Cloud IDE.

Eclipse offers Cloud IDEs like Eclipse Che and Eclipse Orion.

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Features of IntelliJ

Apart from the standard code completion, debugging, refactoring, testing and version control features, it offers additional features such as the following.

  1. It offers Intelligent code analysis features that detect potential errors, unused variables, etc.
     
  2. It provides code navigation features to quickly locate a class or a method within a large project.
     
  3. It offers database integration by running queries, editing data etc., from within the IDE.
     
  4. It supports Spring framework and JavaEE technologies.
     
  5. It offers various tools for web development. 

Features of Eclipse

Apart from the standard code completion, debugging, refactoring (not built-in, but available through plugins), testing and version control features, it offers additional features such as the following.

  1. It offers intelligent code analysis that highlights errors in real-time and offers quick fixes.
     
  2. It provides code navigation features to locate classes and methods quickly and shows a hierarchical view of code structure.
     
  3. It also offers database integration.
     
  4. It has a large plugin ecosystem, which allows customisation and allows us to tailor the IDE to our requirements. These plugins also allow multiple programming language support.

Which IDE is better for beginners?

For beginners, IDEs with user-friendly interfaces, extensive documentation, and robust community support are ideal. IntelliJ IDEA and Eclipse are both popular choices, but many beginners find IntelliJ IDEA more intuitive and beginner-friendly due to its sleek design, helpful features, and built-in support for various programming languages and frameworks. Ultimately, the "better" IDE depends on individual preferences, project requirements, and learning goals.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is IntelliJ really better than Eclipse?

For many developers, IntelliJ IDEA is preferred over Eclipse due to its intuitive interface, powerful features, and seamless integration with modern development workflows.

Which is better NetBeans or Eclipse or IntelliJ?

The choice between NetBeans, Eclipse, and IntelliJ depends on personal preference, project requirements, and familiarity with the IDE's features and ecosystem.

Is IntelliJ IDEA the best IDE?

IntelliJ IDEA is widely regarded as one of the best IDEs due to its extensive feature set, intelligent code assistance, and strong community support.

Can we open Eclipse projects with IntelliJ?

IntelliJ automatically detects Eclipse projects on a computer and thus allows opening them quickly.

Which IDE is easier to set up?

IntelliJ is easier to set up as it comes bundled with a JDK (Java Development Kit), whereas Eclipse needs us to download the JDK ourselves.

What is the difference between JDK and JRE?

JDK (Java Development Kit) is a software development package that includes tools for Java development like compilers and debuggers. JRE (Java Runtime Environment) is the runtime environment required to run Java applications.

Conclusion

This article explored the differences between IntelliJ and Eclipse IDE and discussed their features. We also saw that in the end, the choice between these two depends entirely on your preferences. These IDEs are potent tools that improve your software development skills by providing productivity-enhancing features.

We recommend reading the following articles to learn more about IDEs and Java:

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