Monday, September 15, 2014

Trying IntelliJ

One or two months ago, I tried the NetBeans IDE. Editing was painfully slow. With reservations for the unlikely possibility that it has something to do with my local environment, I can't understand how you can release something like that.

Now, I'm trying IntelliJ. It has pretty solid key bindings emulating the Eclipse bindings, which is great for trying out your normal activities. It also comes with Subversion built in, which is lucky for me because that is what I use when programming on my own.

With only a subset of my needs tried out, it's looking good. I miss two things so far: the linking of current open file to the file hierarchy, so that it (almost) always shows in the file tree; and, I haven't managed to see output from debugging/running. I fear this might be that IntelliJ won't run code until there are no errors, even in unrelated code, and I couldn't find a setting to allow it. (Or maybe it did start my main(), but I didn't see it?)

Other promising areas, both from seeing it first-hand and reading comments to that effect, is the indexing engine. Haven't tried refactoring yet, which is also important. I hear debugging is also faster, which is good. Eclipse's debugger is OK, most of the time, but sometimes grinds to a frustrating stand-still. I think that is caused by the mis-designed communications protocol, e.g. it will try to send a whole stack trace in one go, which is bad for example in the common scenario of recursion gone infinite. I noticed the option of using 'shared-memory' in the IntelliJ debug settings, which might help (but suspiciously not turned on by default?).

So, in summary, trying out IntelliJ can be recommended for Eclipse users, thanks to the ease of getting into it.

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