Hello everyone,

In this post, I am going to give some information about Java and the top 7 available Integrated Development Environments (IDEs) for Java.

Java is a powerful, object-oriented, general-purpose programming language that has been used by millions of people around the world. Java is structured such a way that once the code is written and compiled, it can run on all platforms that support Java ( Write Once, Run Anywhere (WORA) ). For these and many other reasons, according to TIOBE, Java is one of the most popular programming languages in the world.

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Java development requires focus and effort, and when done with pure dedication and involving your creativity, it is possible to code anything using Java. Here is an example showing how to code your first program in Java, if you are not familiar with the process. Therefore, Java is the primary language for Android platform that currently covers the %83 of the smartphone market.

In order to be able to code efficiently and rapidly most of the developers prefer to work with an IDE. An IDE, or an Integrated Development Environment provides us with numerous tools, that help us in our software development process. Since Java is an OOP language, it is very important to use an efficient and fast IDE to be able to organize the Java code in a better way.

In most of the cases, experienced programmers eventually find the right IDE for them. However, this might take a while for new programmers, since there are many available and free IDEs in the market.

Before we take a look at the top 7 Free IDEs, please join our poll below to share your opinion!

What's your favorite IDE for Java Development?

IntelliJ IDEA0%
Android Studio0%
Other, please specify0%

Thanks for your participation!

Now let's have a look at these most popular 7 Free IDEs and try to give brief explanations about them to make the IDE selection process easier for new developers:

 1- Eclipse

Eclipse is one of the most popular free Java IDEs and it is mostly written in Java. Eclipse lets you create various cross platform Java applications for use on mobile, web, desktop and enterprise domains.

Its main features include a Windows Builder, integration with Maven, Mylyn, XML editor, Git client, CVS client, PyDev, and it contains a base workspace with an extensible plug-in system for customizing the IDE to suit your needs. Eclipse's primary use is for developing Java applications, but it may also be used to develop applications in other programming languages through the use of plugins, including: Ada, ABAP, C, C++, COBOL, Fortran, Haskell, JavaScript, Julia, Lasso, Lua, NATURAL, Perl, PHP, Prolog, Python, R, Ruby, Rust, Scala, Clojure, Groovy, Scheme, and Erlang.

Different versions of Eclipse are available under a Eclipse Public License and are available on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux.

The first version of IntelliJ IDEA was released in January 2001, and was one of the first available Java IDEs with advanced code navigation and code refactoring capabilities integrated.

IntelliJ IDEA analyzes your code, looking for connections between symbols across all project files and languages. Using this information it provides indepth coding assistance, quick navigation, clever error analysis, and, of course, refactorings. Personally, IntelliJ IDEA is my favourite IDE for Java development.

In a 2010 Infoworld report, IntelliJ received the highest test center score out of the four top Java programming tools: Eclipse, IntelliJ IDEA, NetBeans and JDeveloper. There are some features missing from the Community Edition but if you require more you can buy a license to unlock all the features. Also, IntelliJ offers 1 year free trial if you are a university student or you have access to a university email account.

In December 2014, Google announced version 1.0 of Android Studio, an open source IDE for Android apps, based on the open source community edition of IntelliJ IDEA.

3- NetBeans

NetBeans IDE is the official IDE for Java 8. With its editors, code analyzers, and converters, you can quickly and smoothly upgrade your applications to use new Java 8 language constructs, such as lambdas, functional operations, and method references.

Batch analyzers and converters are provided to search through multiple applications at the same time, matching patterns for conversion to new Java 8 language constructs. The NetBeans IDE is primarily intended for development in Java, but also supports other languages, in particular PHP, C/C++and HTML5.

NetBeans is cross-platform and runs on Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, Solaris and other platforms supporting a compatible JVM.

4- BlueJ

The development of BlueJ was started in 1999 by Michael K├Âlling and John Rosenberg at Monash University, as a successor to the Blue system.

BlueJ is an integrated development environment (IDE) for the Java programming language, developed mainly for educational purposes, but also suitable for small-scale software development. It runs with the help of JDK (Java Development Kit).

BlueJ was developed to support the learning and teaching of object-oriented programming, and its design differs from other development environments as a result. The main screen graphically shows the class structure of an application under development (in a UML-like diagram), and objects can be interactively created and tested. This interaction facility, combined with a clean, simple user interface, allows easy experimentation with objects under development. Object-oriented concepts (classes, objects, communication through method calls) are represented visually and in its interaction design in the interface.

5- JDeveloper

JDeveloper is a freeware IDE supplied by Oracle Corporation. It offers features for development in Java, XML, SQL and PL/SQL, HTML, JavaScript, BPEL and PHP. JDeveloper can be used for coding, debugging, optimization and profiling to deploying. JDeveloper integrates with the Oracle Application Development Framework (Oracle ADF) – an end-to-end Java EE-based framework that further simplifies application development.

JDeveloper comes in 3 flavors which include the Java Edition, J2EE edition and Studio Edition which comes with a whole different set of features.

6- DrJava

DrJava is a lightweight development environment for writing Java programs. It is designed primarily for students, providing an intuitive interface and the ability to interactively evaluate Java code. It also includes powerful features for more advanced users.

DrJava reached the milestone of two million downloads of DrJava. There have been 2,204,443 downloads as of midnight, 25 Nov 2013.

7- Android Studio

Android Studio from Google is mainly designed for developing for the Android Platform however it is capable of running and editing some Java code.

Originally it was built on the IntelliJ IDEA Community Edition, created by JetBrains and features a Flexible Gradle-based build system, build variants and multiple APK generation, Expanded template support for Google Services and various device types, Rich layout editor with support for theme editing and Lint tools to catch performance, usability, version compatibility, and other problems.

Android Studio is freely available for download on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux and replaced Eclipse as Google’s primary IDE for native Android application development.

We have reached the end of our list. I tried to cover some of the best IDEs for Java. Hopefully, this post helps you to find the best IDE for yourself.

Again, experienced programmers, please join our poll above on "What's your favorite IDE for Java Development?" and let us know your opinion! Also feel free to comment if you have any questions or comments :)

Keywords: Java, IDE, Review

Software Developer, Codemio Admin

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