Difference Between IntelliJ Idea and Eclipse (With Table)

For the past many years, Java has been one of the top programming languages used for various purposes. Most of the programmers for developing robust and securing desktop apps are being employed with Java is a programming language big Enterprises and organizations use Java as their primary language. 

In order to write codes in Java, an integrated development environment (IDE) is needed. It is software that has various packages and libraries installed in it and is used to write code in various languages. IntelliJ Idea and Eclipse are two such softwares that are used intensively to build applications to combine developer tools with a single graphical user interface.  

IntelliJ Idea vs Eclipse

The difference between IntelliJ Idea and Eclipse is that Eclipse is able to handle large projects at a faster whereas compared to IntelliJ. On the other hand, IntelliJ works more amazingly than Eclipse in the case of existing projects.

Comparison Table Between IntelliJ Idea and Eclipse

Parameter of ComparisonIntelliJ IdeaEclipse
DebuggingYou do not need to pick the entire expression with the IntelliJ Idea. You just place the cursor within the expression at any position and hit Alt+F8.In the case of debugging in Eclipse, you have to select the whole expression in order to evaluate some expression.
AutocompleteIntelliJ is instantly able to suggest the only valid options for a method or function and hence is amazing at the Auto-completion feature.Eclipse cannot understand the valid method or context very quickly. It shows everything that starts with a character that you entered, which is most of the time is of no use.
PluginsIntelliJ Idea offers approximately 750 plugins only which is less than Eclipse.1250 plugins are provided by Eclipse Marketplace, and it has many plugins for new technology.
PerformanceIntelliJ works in a much faster and smoother way when it comes to an existing project as compared to Eclipse.Eclipse is able to handle large and heavy projects at a faster rate as compared to IntelliJ Idea due to the indexing it does during the initial stage of the project.
User-friendlyIntelliJ has a simple, quick view and easy to use. It has a much more satisfying environment than Eclipse.Eclipse also provides many features to make the interface user-friendly but they are not enough to beat IntelliJ.

What is IntelliJ Idea?

IntelliJ IDEA for Java Developers, which was released to the public in 2001, is the most powerful, common, and fully-featured IDE. It is developed, managed, and maintained by the company Jet Brains. The license of IntelliJ Idea is Apache 2.0.

IntelliJ can be installed and used on Windows, Linux, and macOS with the following hardware requirements:

  1. Minimum 2 GB RAM, 4 GB RAM recommended
  2. Minimum 1.5 GB disk space + minimum 1 MB for caches
  3. Screen resolution: 1024X768

IntelliJ IDEA comes in two editions:

  1. Community Edition: This version is available for free and is mainly used by developers of Java and Android. Most languages, such as Java, Clojure, Scala, Kotlin, Groovy, and others are supported. It contains features like Deep static analysis, Code Completion, test runner, intelligent refactoring, debugger,  etc.
  2. Ultimate Edition: This edition includes the most sophisticated collection of web and desktop application development features. It encourages the integration of the spring framework, and web development frameworks like Node.js, React, and Angular.

What is Eclipse IDE?

Eclipse is an open-source IDE to develop applications using Java, Ruby, Python, C, C++, etc. It was published under the Eclipse Public License (EPL) by IBM in 2001. It soon became famous for free and commercial project creation. It has been the most common Java IDE today. It provides a base workspace and an extensible environmental customization plug-in framework. 

To run Eclipse IDE, we can use any platform like Windows, Linux, macOS, and Solaris. The system must support JVM with the following hardware:

  1. Minimum 0.5 GB RAM, minimum of 1 GB recommended
  2. Minimum 300 MB hard disk space, minimum of 1 GB recommended
  3. Minimum processor speed: 800 MHz, minimum of 1.5 GHz recommended

Main Differences Between IntelliJ Idea and Eclipse IDE

  1. Sometimes, a user wants to evaluate just an expression to see its value which helps to debug the code. In IntelliJ Idea, one does not need to select the whole expression but, just placing the cursor inside the expression and hitting Alt+F8 is enough but in Eclipse, one has to select the whole expression to get it evaluated.
  2. IntelliJ smartly understands the method you want and gives the option for that whereas, in Eclipse, the autocompletion does not work that smoothly. It sometimes throws the whole list of items that start with the character you have entered which is of no use most of the time.
  3. IntelliJ Idea offers only around 750 plugins whereas Eclipse provides 1250+ plugins with many plugins for new technologies.
  4. When it comes to performance, Eclipse is much faster for large projects as compared to IntelliJ because of its technique of indexing the whole project at the initial stage. However, IntelliJ Idea is much faster and smoother when the user is working on an existing project.
  5. IntelliJ has a faster learning curve and a much easier to use interface as compared to Eclipse. Eclipse offers Code completion, quick view, Dropdowns, and many other features too but IntelliJ is the clear winner in case of user-friendliness. 

Conclusion

On this topic, there are lots of arguments that make it hard to determine which of the two is the most relevant. As a result, most developers argue that both IDEs are comparable in their strengths, and it is a matter of taste to choose any of them. 

But it is very important to have a comparison of various parameters between the two and hence if you want a free service with a decent set of features and tools, you should go with Eclipse. However, if you can afford it, there are many amazing things in IntelliJ Idea where Eclipse lacks.

References

  1. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/4118656/
  2. https://dl.acm.org/doi/abs/10.5555/3381631.3381633
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