Best Java IDEs in 2020

Feb 27, 2020 · 2 mins read

Integrated Development Environments, or IDEs for short, provides software developers with a comprehensive environment and tools for writing software. IDEs maximize developer productivity. They started as simple source code editors, but modern IDEs support all aspects of software development and activities.

If you are a Java developer, chances are you use an IDE. I have not met a Java developer who doesn’t. We asked CodeAhoy users which Java IDE they use. The results are presented below in the form of a fun infographic. Please note that in the survey, IntelliJ includes IntelliJ-based IDEs such as Android Studio. Also, we did not include cloud (online) IDEs such as AWS Cloud9, GitPod, etc.

Survey Results

The results aren’t surprising. the Top 3 IDEs account for 99% of total use.

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Infographic Showing Top 5 Java IDEs including IntelliJ IDEA, Eclipse, NetBeans, BlueJ and DrJava

Java IDEs Survey Votes Breakdown

Developer Survey on Top Java IDEs showing results and votes

Infographic Notes:

  • #1 IntelliJ IDEA: No surprises here. Arguably, IntelliJ IDEA Community Edition is the best free Java IDE out there. It deeply analyzes your code and provides in-depth coding assistance. Feature rich & very smart. It has both free and paid versions. If you haven’t already, check it out.
  • #2 Eclipse: Classic and time honored Java IDE. Still used by millions of developers. Has an impressive collection of tools to boost productivity. Open source and free. You can get it here.
  • #3 NetBeans: Another old school Java IDE that is alive and kicking. Before IntelliJ, the choice of Java IDE boiled down to Eclipse or NetBeans. It is actively maintained and supported by the community at the Apache Software Foundation. Check it out.
  • #4 BlueJ: A light-weight IDE developed for educational purposes, but also suitable for small-scale software development. James Gosling, father of Java, called it one of his favorite IDEs… back in 2004. Check it out.
  • #5 DrJava: Another light-weight IDE developed for educational purposes. Open source and free, supported by active development at Rice University. Check it out

Other Java IDEs that didn’t have enough votes to make it into Top 5:

  • Visual Studio Code
  • JCreator
  • GitPod
  • JDeveloper
  • JGrasp
  • CodeEnvy
  • Greenfoot
  • MyEclipse

In total, 253 Java developers from all over the world took the survey in the month of March, 2020. Majority of the readers of CodeAhoy blog are from USA, followed by India, Canada, UK and Russia.

Whether you agree, disagree or have something to add, please feel free to leave a comment below.

#java #ide #intellij #eclipse

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Comments (5)


S Kelley

I’ve been on Greenfoot since high school. It’s pretty impressive. I get error checking, object visualization, code completion, etc. Eclipse was too much to handle and I’m not sold on it. I have just started using IntelliJ because it is not as overwhelming as Eclipse (although just as powerful according to your article.)


Ishaan

It is developed by the same team who developed BlueJ at the University of Kent, U.K. I believe Greenfoot is a stripped down version of BlueJ. I would recommend against choosing either for any serious development.


Tinay

JCreator was my personal favorite because it was so easy to use but they stopped updating it in 2015. There has been 0 updates since Jan 2015. It doesn’t work with JDK 11+ which confirms they haven’t updated it to support the new changes. I reached out to JCreator team but received no response.


Ryan

Almost everyone at my work uses IntelliJ IDEA every single day. There was such high demand that the I.T. dept for forced to shell out 1000s for the Ultimate Edition license. I don’t argue that it is great but I’m going to stick with Eclipse. The main reason is that after 12 years of using it, it has become a second nature. At my previous job (very big ecommerce site) there were custom Eclipse plugins and many are holding up with Eclipse because it is simply just not worth it for them to move to IntelliJ IDEA. I’m usually served a monthly reminder by ‘enthusiasts’ why I’m still using Eclipse when there is a better option available.


Karen

I was also forced to switch to IntelliJ because it was what everyone else was using and the team lead wanted to avoid inconsistencies and streamline.

I’m glad they made me switch. I’ll never go back.

IntelliJ assists users in countless ways that Eclipse isn’t good at. It helps people become good programmers with its smart suggestions which assist with refactoring and overall code quality. Sees an anonymous class, highlights it and allows it to be converted to Lambda function in one keystroke. Got duplicate code? Extract it into a common method and replace it everywhere in two keystrokes. Are your imports messy? Fix in one keystroke. Using SpringBoot? It reads all your beans and applicationcontext and ready to assist you. Our projects use both Java and Kotlin and IntelliJ multilanguage support is immaculate.

I should also mention that I switched to IntelliJ 10 years ago. It was probably one of the best IDEs then, but in 2020 there should be no doubt. Nothing comes close.


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