Wednesday, 3 January 2018

NetBeans vs. IntelliJ


At present, Java is used widely by developers to building desktop GUI applications, web applications, and Android mobile apps. But developers have to focus extensively on the quality of Java code to maintain, manage, and update the software rapidly. The integrated development environments (IDEs) make it easier for Java programmers to write high quality code by providing a code editor, debugger, and compiler/interpreter. The Java programmers have option to choose from an array of IDEs. Both NetBeans and IntelliJ are widely used IDEs for Java programming language.



NetBeans
The features provided by NetBeans help developers to write desktop, web, and mobile applications in Java rapidly. In addition to being the official IDE for Java 8, NetBeans also comes with features to help developers to migrate their existing applications to Java 8. The developers can use the code editors, analyzers, and converters provided by NetBeans IDE to upgrade their existing applications to Java 8. At the same time, NetBeans also supports a number of programming languages – C/C++, HTML5, XML, JavaScript, PHP, Groovy and JSP – in addition to Java.



IntelliJ IDEA
JetBrains have developed IntelliJ IDEA with features to help programmers to write high quality Java code. IntelliJ accelerate Java programming by providing features like smart completion, chain completion, static member completion, data flow analysis, language infection, cross-language refactoring, editor-centric environment, inline debugger, and development  tools. Also, it supports several programming languages in addition to Java – HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Perl, Go, Groovy, Perl, PHP, and Python. However, the developers have to use separate plug-ins to work with some of these programming languages.



Important Points of Distinction between NetBeans and IntelliJ IDEA


Contextual Coding Assistance
The code editor provided by NetBeans supports multiple programming languages. Also, it provides code generators, code templates, and coding tips, in addition to matching words and brackets and highlighting source code syntactically and semantically. But the code editor provided by IntelliJ has the capability to analyze the source code and use the information to provide contextual coding assistance. It accelerates Java programming by providing clever code analysis, facilitating code refactoring, and supporting language injection. The contextual coding assistance makes programmers productive and reduces development time.



Maven Support
Unlike IntelliJ, NetBeans comes with out of box support for a powerful project management too like Maven. Most Java programmers use Maven as a robust build automation tool. Maven enables Java programmers to manage the build, reporting, and documentation of a project from a single location. It further makes it easier for Java programmers to manage enterprise grade Java projects. The out of box support provided by the IDE makes it easier for Java programmers to build and manage projects efficiently using Maven.


Third-Party Plug-ins
IntelliJ is developed and maintained by a dedicated team at JetBrains. Hence, each new version of the IDE comes with several new built-in features and enhancement to support enterprise grade development. The users even have option to choose from a large number of plug-ins for IntelliJ. On the other hand, NetBeans is a developed and maintained by a robust community of developers, along with Oracle. Members of the community add new functionality to NetBeans by uploading new plug-ins. While using the open source IDE, the developers have option to download a variety of third-party plug-ins from the NetBeans Plugin Portal according to their precise needs. 
Performance
While using IntelliJ, developers are recommended to use a system with minimum 1 GB RAM for normal Java application development, and 4 GB RAM for Android app development. The IDE further requires 300 MB hard disc space, along with 1 GB space for cache. The developers have to focus on the system requirements to use IntelliJ efficiently. But NetBeans requires Java developers to use a system with 2 GB RAM and 1GB free space. Hence, NetBeans consume more memory than other Java IDEs including IntelliJ. Also, the developers have to explore ways to reduce memory consumption and make the IDE run faster.

Developer Productivity
Despite being the official IDE for Java 8, NetBeans is maintained by a community of users and developers. Hence, the open source IDE for Java lacks some of the robust features provided by commercial Java IDEs like IntelliJ. On the other hand, the ultimate edition of IntelliJ comes with an array of features to make the Java programmers more productive and accelerate development of enterprise grade Java applications. In addition to providing a clean and intuitive user interface, it further allows programmers to customize the interface’s appearance and behaviour. Likewise, the robust development environment provided by IntelliJ enables programmers to work with Java EE and develop Android mobile apps. However, the community edition of IntelliJ lacks some of the advanced features provided by the ultimate edition.
Cost
NetBeans is an open source Java IDE. The Java developers can use NetBeans without paying any licensing fees. Also, they can avail the assistance of large community of NetBeans users and developers. On the other hand, Java programmers have option to choose from several editions of IntelliJ. The students, teachers, and academic institutions can use the community edition of IntelliJ without any subscription. But the individual and enterprise users have to choose the right subscription option based on the license and usage.

Programming Language Support
Both NetBeans and IntelliJ IDEA support a number of programming languages in addition to Java. NetBeans support HTML5, PHP, Groovy and C/C++. At the same time, IntelliJ allows programmers to work with several programming language including PHP, Python, Scala, Kotlin, Perl, Go, Groovy, and HTML5. But it requires developers to use separate plug-ins to work with PHP, Python, Go, Clojure, Dart, and Erlang. Also, the programming languages supported by the community and ultimate editions of IntelliJ differ. The developers have to use the ultimate edition of the IDE to work with additional programming languages.

On the whole, both NetBeans and IntelliJ IDEA come with features to accelerate Java application development. Each IDE supports several programming languages in addition to Java. But the IDEs differ from each other in terms of features, programming language support, and licensing. Hence, it is always important for Java developers to compare NetBeans and IntelliJ IDEA based on precise needs of each project.


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