Tuesday, April 17, 2007

No, I Won't Stop Talking about IntelliJ!

During my No Fluff, Just Stuff talk on The Productive Programmer, I got a comment at the Minneapolis show to "stop showing us IntelliJ shortcuts -- we all use Eclipse!" And, Venkat Subramaniam blogged about the whole Eclipse vs. IntelliJ debate that came up at the expert panel in that same city. Venkat quite eloquently gives his reasons for choosing IntelliJ: it simply makes him more productive. And the same is true for me. I've used all the major Java IDE's in anger: NetBeans, JBuilder (I used to be considered a JBuilder expert, but I got over it), Eclipse, and IntelliJ. For me, IntelliJ works best. Period. In fact, I think that IntelliJ would land in my top five pieces of software of all time list. I also edited the No Fluff, Just Stuff Anthology chapter on IntelliJ tips and tricks, just out in treeware.

There are actually 2 IDE Tips and Tricks chapters in the anthology. When I sent out call for contributions from the authors and friends for IntelliJ tips, I got a flood of them, all very cool (and a few that I didn't already know about, like the Key Promoter). Ted Neward (who edited the Eclipse chapter) and I sent out the same call for Eclipse tips and tricks, and we got none. We sent out another call, and a few trickled in. And that is reflected in the book. I'm sure we're going to get grief over the IntelliJ chapter having more cool stuff. But that's really the whole point: like the preponderance of Macs on the No Fluff, Just Stuff tour, the people who use IntelliJ are passionate about it, because it exudes excellence. Like Venkat says, many people using Eclipse are in a bad arranged marriage. It's hard to drum up passion for an arranged marriage.

I feel like it is my duty to try to turn people on to things that make their life better. That's part of what being a speaker is about. So, I'm not apologetic about proselytizing IntelliJ. Every-time I find a tool that I think will make developer's lives easier, I'm going to talk about it. And, if I develop a passion about it, so be it.


mcjoe said...

Having watched both you and Venkat write code on the fly while presenting, I agree that it is hard to argue with your choice of IDE.

Because my company is cheap and won't spring for tools, I continue to use Eclipse at home as well to avoid the context switch. One thing I have noticed is that many of the cool things I see you and Venkat do can also be accomplished with Eclipse, but in a slightly different way. Probably not as efficient as with IntelliJ, which of course is your point.

I haven't picked up the anthology yet. When I do, I will take a peek at the IDE tips and see how Eclipse stacks up. Who knows, maybe I can get the boss to pony up some $$... nope, that isn't gonna happen.

Anyway, I've really enjoyed your presos in the past regardless of the IDE you use and REALLY look forward to NFJS in May (Denver). My cheap employer wouldn't spring for the admission so it is coming out of my pocket. Yup, you guys are that good!

Take care.

Ricky Clarkson said...

mcjoe, you could just do what I did, and buy IDEA yourself.

Are any of the past presentations available online?

Tim O'Brien said...

Hey, I like Eclipse, but don't stop talking/blogging about IntelliJ. IntelliJ users seem to be more faithful to the product than Eclipse users, in part because it isn't free. In other words, the price acts as a filter on the userbase.

Jane said...

@tim: and somehow people won't be attracted to eclipse because of its lack of price? ;)

I've had the pleasure of using IntelliJ on my significant other's computer often, and I can honestly say it doesn't have much to do with price.

If anything, the trial version of IntellJ should be enough? I mean, I don't really know that many people who would honestly just go out and spend $250 on a license for software they didn't feel they needed or liked more than the free alternatives.

Mike said...

A lot of developers can't get their companies to buy IntelliJ for them. When I was in the military, it took 18 months to convince our supervisors to come up with the funds to purchase IntelliJ for 60 developers. We did a lot of research and wrote a lot of emails to justify the value of IntelliJ. It seems a lot of people have this problem. If someone is looking for a good blog topic, "How to convince your boss to buy you IntelliJ" would be a great one.

Tim O'Brien said...

@jane, the idea here is that you are more likely to encounter an indifferent Eclipse user than you are to encounter an indifferent IntelliJ user precisely because of the price barrier. In a sample of 100 Eclipse "customers", you might find a large percentage of those customers to be somewhat indifferent ("it is just an IDE I use"). In a sample of 100 IntelliJ customers, you are likely to find less indifference because the price acts as a utility filter.

salient1 said...

Your company not buying a license just isn't a valid excuse. This is a tool that you use for the greater part of 8+ hours a day. If it makes YOU happier to use IntelliJ over a free alternative, then you owe it to yourself to pay up the $250 for it.

I actually have an annual budget of $1000 for tools (and their upgrades). I consider it a necessity for anyone who calls themselves a professional developer to do likewise. Don't expect a corporation to buy you what you need because they probably won't. If the $1k freaks you out, then ask for $1k higher in salary than you would ordinarily for your next job to cover it. Most so called professionals spend a good deal more than $1k a year on tools of some sort but in our profession people seem to think that's just unimaginable. I guess it goes to show who's really a pro and who isn't.

You need the right tools to be productive and happy in this business. I use to use the "my company won't pay..." excuse too but blaming someone else did not help my enjoyment of myh job.

Anonymous said...

IntelliJ is absolutely worth the price of admission, even if you're strapped for cash; I can't imagine programming without it. It will cost you a buck seventy-fie a day to buy IntelliJ. Maybe you make more than that programming....

Do you make your living writing code or don't you? Most professions that use specialized tools pay thousands or tens of thousands for those tools, i.e. auto mechanic, landscaper, doctors, dentists, all athletes and musicians... etc etc... I don't know of ANY other field where I could get the absolute best-in-the-world ANYTHING, for work or recreation (think stereos etc.) for 500 bucks. When you couple that with the fact that you're probably making money with the tool, the only question I ever have when IntelliJ comes out with a new version is, where's my wallet?

Travis said...

Great post.

In fact, I think that IntelliJ would land in my top five pieces of software of all time list.

I couldn't agree more. If I could only afford one single piece of software out of any (including OS), it would be Intellij Idea. Every once in a while I try eclipse to see if it has gained some ground, but I go back to Intellij in about 10 minutes.

I am a ComplexNumber said...

IntelliJ is simply the best IDE that I have used. The founder of IntelliJ started the project to provide an IDE for Java that is as good as Visual Studio for MS languages. I guess he is way past that point I guess.

On the other hand, I bought Resharper also (plug-in for C# and .Net in Visual Studio). It is good but not as good as IDEA

DilbertWannaBe said...

I am another passionate and evangelistic IntelliJ IDEA user. I get tired of hearing people say "but my company won't buy it for me." I wish my company would pay for it, but it doesn't. As a professional, I want to use the best tools available. So I bought my own license 6 years ago, and have upgraded every year since. For $1.00 a day for the first year (initial license purchase ($250/50weeks/5days)) and 60 cents a day thereafter (upgrade license) I enjoy my job more, am far more productive, and write better code.

More importantly, IDEA has paid for itself 50 times over. It was a small investment in my career that has paid incredible dividends. IDEA has made me a better developer. I turn out better code. And when I can open a class someone else wrote in Eclipse in IDEA, notate the three dozen subtle potential bugs in the class thanks to IDEA's inspections, and walk into a code review with that info... I look like the ultimate guru. On top of that, I have had the lowest bug rate in my code among my peers for the 6 years I have used IDEA. Four years ago, all that led me to be promoted several years ahead of my peers; even developers hired years before me. The increase in salary paid for IDEA in a few days. And now, every time I drive my nicer car and watch my awesome big screen TV, I simply say "Thanks IntelliJ IDEA." Yes, I am saying that I make more money by using IntelliJ IDEA. It's that simple.