Catching the 8

The latest version of my favorite Java IDE, IntelliJ IDEA 8, was released today. I’ve been using IDEA since version 2.0 and have consistenly upgraded my personal license every new release. This time is no different. IDEA has been my favorite IDE for the simple fact it is the ultimate coders tool. No other IDE I have ever used has been so good at helping me with the things I need while staying out the of way the rest of the time. There is not a better Java development environment on the planet.

Yes, I’m sure I’ve offended the Eclipse mafia. I have used Eclipse, on serveral occassions. But I go back to IDEA every time. It is hard to describe the difference in feel between the two. Eclipse is like a swiss army knife — it does a little bit of everything, but none of it particularly well. IntelliJ IDEA is like a Spyderco knife, the perfect cutting instrument. Eclipse is the Visual Basic to IntelliJ IDEA’s emacs.

So what’s new with IntelliJ IDEA 8? The coolest thing I’ve used so far is the built-in JavaScript debugger. You no longer have to depend on Firebug to debug JavaScript files in a project, you can simply set breakpoints in the JavaScript and run the page. For the full list of the new features, check out this page. I’ll be doing a more in-depth review of IDEA 8, using it with a Spring MVC web project.

If you haven’t tried IntelliJ IDEA, and you’re a Java developer, I strongly encourage you to check it out. Personal licenses are only $249 and they are well worth it. Eclipse may be free, but you get what you pay for.

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