Developer Java Ide

Best Java IDEs (Integrated Development Environments) For Developers

Estimated read time: 12 minutes

Wondering which are the best Java IDEs? The following are the reputed Integrated Development Environments (IDEs) for Java programming:

1. IntelliJ IDEA: A prominent IDE for Java application development

Many developers and experts believe find that IntelliJ IDEA is one of the best Java integrated development environments. JetBrains has developed it. 

IntelliJ IDEA comprehensively supports prominent programming languages that target the Java Virtual Machine (JVM). This makes IntelliJ IDEA much more important than many other IDEs. E.g., Android Studio, the famous IDE for Android development is built on IntelliJ IDEA.

You can use the free and open-source edition of this IDE. Alternatively, you can use the proprietary IntelliJ IDEA Ultimate Edition for writing Java code. 

The advantages of IntelliJ IDEA

IntelliJ IDEA offers the following advantages:

  • It supports key operating systems like Windows, macOS, and Linux.
  • IntelliJ IDEA supports Java EE. 
  • IntelliJ IDEA offers an intuitive user interface, and it’s easy to use.
  • This IDE offers smart code completion, which is more powerful than basic code completion. 
  • If the source code of a program can cause exceptions, then IntelliJ IDEA suggests adding exceptions.
  • IntelliJ IDEA supports Java and Kotlin, the well-known JVM-based programming languages. However, it can understand programming languages like JavaScript, SQL, and HTML. It provides intelligent assistance for these too.
  • IntelliJ IDEA helps with cross-language refactoring.
  • This IDE offers many plugins, which you can integrate into the code editor. You can use third-party plugins too. 
  • IntelliJ IDEA has useful software versioning components, therefore, it offers robust version-controlling support. 
  • This IDE offers good debugging tools.
  • IntelliJ IDEA has data flow analysis capabilities.
  • IntelliJ IDEA provides strong capabilities for integration with application servers.
  • The proprietary commercial edition of this IDE offers excellent tools. 

The disadvantages of IntelliJ IDEA

The disadvantages of IntelliJ IDEA are as follows:

  • This IDE is heavy, and it occupies considerable disk space.
  • IntelliJ IDEA consumes considerable resources, therefore, it might slow your computer down.
  • The community edition of this IDE doesn’t have much framework support.
  • Some developers might find the IntelliJ IDEA Ultimate Edition costly.

2. Eclipse: An open-source, free, and good Java IDE 

If you write Java programs, chances are that you already know about Eclipse IDE! It’s been around for over 2 decades. However, it remains one of the most popular Java IDEs. 

This prominent integrated development environment developed by a team of developers at IBM is free. The Eclipse IDE is open-source. The Eclipse Foundation maintains the Eclipse platform.


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The advantages of the Eclipse IDE

The Eclipse integrated development environment offers the following advantages:

  • It supports multiple languages, e.g., Java, C, C++, JavaScript, Python, etc.
  • Free and open-source, the Eclipse IDE routinely receives innovative enhancements from a vibrant community of developers.
  • This IDE supports all key operating systems like Windows, Linux, macOS, and Solaris.
  • The Eclipse IDE supports Java EE and Java SE.
  • You can take advantage of numerous plugins available for Eclipse. There’s an Eclipse marketplace. The Eclipse Foundation also provides a plugin development environment.
  • The user-friendly graphical user interface and source code editor of the Eclipse IDE make it easy to write Java programs.
  • Eclipse has a useful syntax coloring feature.
  • This IDE offers robust debugging facilities.
  • The Eclipse IDE offers automatic code completion.
  • You can use either the desktop or cloud IDE from Eclipse. If you use the cloud IDE, then you store your source code on the cloud. You can work from anywhere. 

The disadvantages of the Eclipse IDE 

The Eclipse IDE has a few limitations, which are as follows:

  • It consumes more system resources than several other Java IDEs.  
  • If you install too many plugins, then Eclipse might slow down.
  • Memory management issues in the Eclipse IDE might cause crashes. 

3. DrJava: A lightweight Java IDE

If you want a lightweight Java IDE, then DrJava is a good option. The JavaPLT group at Rice University has developed it. This group continues to maintain and enhance this lightweight IDE. 

The developers of DrJava had designed it primarily for students. They created it as an open-source and free IDE. Programmers undertaking small-scale software development using Java can use this IDE. 

The advantages of DrJava

DrJava provides the following advantages for application development:

  • This lightweight IDE helps with the faster execution of code.
  • Due to the popularity of this free and open-source IDE, many developers continue to contribute greatly to DrJava.
  • You can use this IDE on operating systems like Windows, Linux, and macOS.
  • DrJava offers a user-friendly interactive interface. Students and new developers find DrJava very easy to use.
  • Programmers can use DrJava to interactively execute Java applications.
  • While very user-friendly to students and new programmers, DrJava also offers advanced features for experienced developers.
  • DrJava offers a Junit testing facility. 
  • This IDE provides a built-in debugger.
  • DrJava supports automated code completion.
  • It supports commenting and automatic indentation. This IDE automatically formats code.
  • You can integrate DrJava with Eclipse.

The troubleshooting part of the software development process becomes simple with DrJava. 

The disadvantages of DrJava

The disadvantages of DrJava are as follows:

  • Since DrJava primarily intends to serve students or new programmers, the stress is on the basic functionalities of an IDE.
  • You can’t use 3rd party plugins with DrJava.
  • This IDE might slow down in the case of large-scale web and enterprise development projects.

4. NetBeans: an open-source and free Java IDE with a good reputation

NetBeans is one of the popular Java IDEs. The creators of this IDE launched it as commercial software over 2 decades ago. Sun Microsystems acquired it and open-sourced the project. Later, Oracle acquired Sun Microsystems and NetBeans. Oracle donated the project to the Apache Software Foundation, which now maintains NetBeans. 

The advantages of NetBeans

NetBeans offers the following advantages:

  • This free and open-source IDE continues to receive important enhancements, thanks to a motivated developers’ community!
  • NetBeans supports web and enterprise development comprehensively. 
  • You get valuable software development tools when you use NetBeans. E.g., NetBeans offers in-built tools for refactoring. 
  • The modular software components of NetBeans help programmers to become productive quickly.
  • NetBeans is user-friendly.
  • This IDE offers syntax highlighting. NetBeans also highlights your code semantically. 
  • NetBeans auto-completes code, therefore, you can write code more effectively.
  • You can use NetBeans on all the important operating systems like Windows, Linux, macOS, and Solaris.
  • In addition to Java, NetBeans supports programming languages like JavaScript, PHP, HTML, etc.
  • You can integrate NetBeans with prominent web application servers easily.
  • NetBeans supports Maven, an important one of the build automation tools. 
  • You can easily use NetBeans with Git and other version-control tools.
  • NetBeans offers easy-to-use management features.
  • This IDE provides features for intelligent code compilation.
  • There are useful plugins for NetBeans. E.g., the Autosave plugin is a software that automatically saves a file that wasn’t saved earlier.
  • You can easily debug your code with NetBeans.
  • Testing and deployment become easy with NetBeans.
  • NetBeans offers a useful code comparison tool.

The disadvantages of NetBeans

The limitations of NetBeans are as follows:

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  • You get community support only and no professional support.
  • NetBeans takes longer to start than a few other IDEs.
  • The code compilation process is slower than a few other IDEs.
  • NetBeans doesn’t manage memory efficiently.

5. BlueJ: One more of the good, open-source, and free Java IDEs

BlueJ is a good Java IDE for students and new programmers. Many developers use this free and open-source IDE for commercial Java application development too. 

The creators of BlueJ launched it over 2 decades ago. It’s been an open-source project since 2009. A team at King’s College, London maintains it.

The advantages of BlueJ

BlueJ offers the following advantages:

  • BlueJ is easy to use. It was originally developed for students to learn Java and object-oriented programming (OOP). This IDE retained its simplicity.
  • Since it’s an open-source project, BlueJ receives useful enhancements from an enthusiastic developers’ community.
  • BlueJ supports key operating systems like Windows, Linux, and macOS.
  • It’s a lightweight IDE.
  • BlueJ shows graphical representations of Java class structures. This and other similar features make it a great IDE for learners.
  • This IDE offers robust debugging capabilities.
  • BlueJ offers useful features like scope coloring.

The disadvantages of BlueJ

BlueJ has the following limitations:

  • This IDE doesn’t support automatic code completion.
  • BlueJ isn’t suitable for complex and large-scale software development projects.
  • BlueJ doesn’t support automatic formatting of code.
  • This IDE doesn’t support other prominent programming languages.
  • You need to manually stop the JVM if a program terminates due to an error. That’s inconvenient. 

The Oracle Corporation developed JDeveloper, a well-known Java IDE. JDevelope is free, however, it’s proprietary software. 

Oracle created JDeveloper with the objective of making Java application development simpler. The company wanted to provide capabilities for software visualizations for that. 

Oracle launched JDeveloper first in 2005. The last stable release of this IDE came in 2019. Presently, JDeveloper shares a significant part of its code with NetBeans. 

The advantages of JDeveloper

JDeveloper provides the following advantages:

  • It comprehensively supports the development of enterprise applications and web applications. Toward this, it integrates with the Oracle Application Development Framework. 
  • JDeveloper supports Java, JavaScript, SQL, PL/SQL, HTML, and PHP. 
  • This IDE supports important operating systems like Windows, Linux, and macOS.
  • JDeveloper is one of the most powerful visual and declarative editors, and it provides powerful capabilities. These can especially help with complex projects.
  • This IDE has an in-built Oracle Application Server.
  • JDeveloper offers useful project templates. 
  • Developers can create Java EE documents like Servlets, JSPs, etc. easily with JDeveloper. 
  • JDeveloper is a comprehensive platform to code, debug, test, and optimize Java applications.
  • This IDE supports the entire software development lifecycle. The tools offered by this IDE support all the phases starting from design to deployment.
  • Its debugging capabilities are very helpful.
  • The drag-and-drop capabilities of JDeveloper considerably help with web development.
  • You can get robust customer support for JDeveloper.
  • JDeveloper provides very good version-control capabilities.

The disadvantages of JDeveloper

JDeveloper has the following disadvantages:

  • This IDE is more complex than several other popular Java IDEs. Experienced developers can use it effectively, however, new programmers might find it a bit hard to use.
  • JDeveloper consumes plenty of system resources.

7. JCreator: An IDE for the Java programming language only

A relatively new IDE, JCreator has gained popularity quickly. Xinox Software has created this IDE. This proprietary IDE is available in 3 editions, namely, Lite, Pro, and Lite-Pro.

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The advantages of JCreator

The advantages of JCreator are as follows:

  • The creators of this IDE have specifically designed it for Java programmers. 
  • JCreator is user-friendly.
  • This IDE is fast and lightweight.
  • JCreator offers a customizable user interface.
  • This IDE makes debugging easy.
  • JCreator supports automatic code completion.
  • It provides an editor with syntax highlighting.
  • You can set up JCreator quickly.
  • The tree view of projects, classes, and interfaces offered by JCreator helps programmers.
  • You can choose project templates when you work with JCreator.
  • While new and advanced Java developers can use JCreator productively, new developers find this IDE especially helpful. The powerful features and intuitive UI help new programmers a lot.

The disadvantages of JCreator

JCreator has the following disadvantages:

  • It supports Windows only.
  • This IDE is for Java only.
  • You can’t use 3rd party plugins with JCreator.
  • One might consider JCreator as an expensive IDE.

Note: This isn’t an exhaustive list. For e.g., you can also use Visual Studio Code for Java coding. 

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