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June 29, 2004

Not My Cup of Tea

After all these years of C#/C++ I am back to writing Java code for a project that has to run cross-platform. It is a commercial grade effort so I have to stay away from Mono at this moment, unfortunately.  I would have loved to use this particular project to pound on Mono, but the project is all about reliability, and if failure results in real revenue loss, one tends to become somewhat conservative.

Going back to Java was not really an issue, although I had to battle programming language fatigue for a while. It was as if my mind just didn't want to go back to Java, even though this was a language in which I once produced tens of thousands of lines of code. Then I realized it wasn't as much the language, but the fact that I had become a Visual Studio junkie. I know how to ride that beast and have it produce the right info at all times.

The obvious way to then solve this is just to get a good java IDE and pound away again. That is easier said than done. A brief survey gets me four different products/projects: Eclipse, Idea, Studio Creator and Netbeans. And each has so many religious followers that it is impossible to get a good review of the advantages of one over the others. Try asking your favorite search engine for a comparative review of Eclipse and Idea. So I am sitting here with 4 IDE's installed trying to figure what I should be using. And I seem to miss the intuition to immediately hit it off with any of them. I have no clue which of these I will stick with.

The advantages of a single dominant vendor is that there is little question about what to use. This disadvantage of choice is that you actually have to choose...

Posted by Werner Vogels at June 29, 2004 10:53 AM


very true, see my post on the Tyranny of choice, and you will see why its such an issue.

If you think you had it bad image the problems I had choosing a new PDA!

Posted by: Steve on June 29, 2004 02:03 PM

I completely agree and I am not sure that there is a clear winner. It really comes up to personal preference. However, if you have access to it (I am not sure it is on their site any longer) I would recommend trying Idea version 3.x. Version 4 seems to have a lot of "feature creep" in my opinion and just too many settings to choose from. IIRC the only major new feature in v.4 was a GUI designer. Good luck!

Posted by: Simon on June 30, 2004 04:31 AM

I completely disagree with Simon - IDEA 4.0 (and the beta for the soon to be release 4.5) has a lot of improvements over 3.0, without adding complexity. I would indeed stay away from 4.0's GUI designer, but for straight code, there's no better Java IDE IMHO.

Posted by: Luke Hutteman on July 1, 2004 11:17 AM