Which is better Eclipse or IntelliJ

Marvin Menzerath

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Google has rejected Eclipse in favor of IntelliJ IDEA as the main development environment for Android apps, so I took a closer look at the Android studio and especially the IntelliJ IDEA.

There are two different versions of the IntelliJ IDEA: The free open source version “Community Edition” and the paid “Ultimate” version.

What are the differences between Eclipse and IntelliJ IDEA?

Both are Development Environments (IDEs) for software and (also) Android apps and should primarily relieve the user - the programmer - of “annoying” work (through code completion and troubleshooting). Many developers swear by Eclipse - precisely because of it many plugins and open source development. Eclipse supports many programming and syntax languages ​​(with the help of plugins). In the free “Community Edition”, however, IntelliJ “only” offers Java, Groovy and “standard syntax languages” such as XML. The “Ultimate” version also supports HTML / CSS, JavaScript, PHP, Ruby, Python and many other languages. Schoolchildren and students can obtain this edition at a lower price with appropriate proof.

What are the advantages / disadvantages of Eclipse?

Eclipse definitely has that larger community. Many developers have been “attached” to this IDE for a long time and appreciate the large number of available plugins and the range of supported languages. However, with an increasing number of projects in the workspace and activated plugins (keyword: Android apps), Eclipse will slower and less responsive. Code completion is not always quick either, and troubleshooting allows multiple (redundant) initialization of variables.

What are the advantages / disadvantages of IntelliJ IDEA?

IntelliJ IDEA is first and foremost fast and comfortable. The Code completion is very fast and also scans other (own) classes. Possible sources of error are searched for and found very meticulously. Most of the proposed solutions are correct and can be implemented at the touch of a button. Many actions can also be carried out quickly using small key combinations instead of using the mouse. Unfortunately, IntelliJ only supports a few languages ​​in the free version and has fewer plugins in the directory. In addition, longer methods cannot always be completely checked for errors, so that sometimes only a succinct error message appears.

Tips for switching

I've switched from Eclipse to IntelliJ for a few days now and I don't regret this step. All of my projects (Java (Swing) applications, Android apps and Bukkit plugins) could be imported and compiled without any problems. Even if some things are new and different at the beginning, the Eclipse-equivalent functions can be found again very quickly. Those switching should also consider the following things:

  • Projects are not projects: While in Eclipse all projects were in the workspace, your projects can now be in any directory and contain several modules. When starting IntelliJ IDEA you open or create a new project, which can contain several sub-projects (“modules”). Hence:
    • Eclipse Workspace -> IntelliJ IDEA project
    • Eclipse project -> IntelliJ IDEA module
  • export: If you now have several application parts in a project (such as server and client) and only want to export a part as a jar file, you have to create an artifact in the project settings, specify the module output as the source, possibly still required Add files, create a manifest and specify the location of the file. After that, the build can always be started under Build -> Build Artifact.
  • Warnings: If you find a lot of yellow warning messages in an exported project, this is completely normal. IntelliJ is reporting many more incidents than Eclipse has. The suggested solution method is usually the right one.


As already mentioned above, I (successfully) switched from Eclipse to IntellliJ IDEA and do not regret this step. I am positively surprised by the speed of the IDE and I don't want to miss the completion anymore. If you also want to switch, I can almost guarantee you: After that, you will certainly not want to go back to Eclipse. You can find the download here.