IntelliJ vs Eclipse: Better IDE for Beginners

If you are confused between Intellij and Eclipse, here’s my non-biased comparison to give you every inch of detail about them.

Choosing the best IDE is a crucial task- but it’s important too. As the best IDE serves you the qualities that help you in the long run. Features like debugging, performance, ease of use, and support for programming languages, etc all are important to consider.

Two of the best IDEs for java programming include Intellij and Eclipse, each has its own weaknesses and strengths but most importantly these IDEs are mostly preferred among java developers.

Intellij

IntelliJ IDEA is an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) for JVM languages designed to maximize developer productivity and it offers a range of features and capabilities that can help developers write, debug, and manage code more efficiently. Also, it’s a cross-platform IDE that provides consistent experience on Windows, macOS, and Linux.

Some of the key features of IntelliJ IDEA for Java development include an intelligent code editor, powerful refactoring capabilities, inline debugging and hot swap, good integration with other tools and frameworks, and support for a wide range of languages and frameworks.

Eclipse

Eclipse is a free open-source integrated development environment that allows users to create Java-based applications. Eclipse IDE is composed of plug-ins and be customized using third-party plug-ins. With its extensible plug-in framework, Eclipse can support other programming languages such as Fortran, Haskell, C, C++, JavaScript, Lua, PHP, Python, R, Ruby, Scala, and more.

Popularity

Based on a study held by codeanywhere, the Eclipse is the third popular IDE among developers from all over the world with 17.67% share. Intellij, on the other hand, gets 5th spot and market share of 4.77%.

Mind that, this data does not specifically show what programming languages these IDEs are used for. Anyways, the Intellij IDE is mostly preferred by Java developers while Eclipse users are not limited to java language only.

Eclipse vs Intellij for beginners?

If you are looking for an IDE with a more intuitive and user-friendly interface, and good integration with other tools and frameworks, choose IntelliJ IDEA.

If you are willing to trade some ease of use for a more feature-rich and customizable IDE, Eclipse is a better choice for you.

But it’s a good idea to try both as they are powerful and packed with useful features. You will probably use both of them.

1. System Requirements

Intellij

We can install IntelliJ Idea on Windows, macOS and Linux with the following hardware:

  • 2 GB RAM minimum, 4 GB RAM recommended
  • 1.5 GB hard disk space + at least 1 MB for caches
  • 1024×768 minimum screen resolution

Eclipse

We can run Eclipse IDE on any platform that supports JVM including Windows, macOS, Linux and Solaris. It demands the following hardware:

  • 0.5 GB RAM minimum, 1+ GB RAM recommended
  • 300 MB hard disk space minimum, 1+ GB recommended
  • Processor speed of 800 MHz minimum, 1.5 GHz or faster recommended

2. Debugging

Both IntelliJ IDEA and Eclipse offer a range of powerful debugging tools that can help you identify and fix issues in your code.

If you are looking for an IDE with convenient inline debugging and hot swap capabilities, IntelliJ IDEA might be a good choice for you. Its inline debugging feature allows you to view and evaluate expressions directly in the editor and make changes to your code on the fly.

On the other hand, if you are working on a project that requires more specialized debugging scenarios, such as remote debugging or integration with testing frameworks, Eclipse might be a better fit for you. Its remote debugging and integration with popular testing frameworks like JUnit can be useful in these cases.

3. Autocomplete

Both IntelliJ IDEA and Eclipse offer solid code completion or auto-completion capabilities that can help you write code more efficiently.

IntelliJ IDEA’s intelligent code completion, live templates, and postfix completion may provide a more comprehensive and customizable code completion experience, but Eclipse’s content assist and templates can also be helpful for quickly inserting commonly used code snippets.

4. Perforamnce

If you are looking for an IDE with strong performance and a focus on coding productivity, IntelliJ IDEA might be a good choice for you. If you are willing to trade some performance for a more feature-rich and customizable IDE, Eclipse might be a better fit for you. It is worth noting that both IDEs offer options for optimizing performance, such as disabling unnecessary plugins and adjusting memory settings, so you may be able to improve the performance of either IDE if needed.

That being said, IntelliJ IDEA is generally considered to be a more lightweight and faster IDE compared to Eclipse, which is known for being more feature-rich but also more resource-intensive. IntelliJ IDEA’s performance is optimized for frequent coding tasks, and it is designed to minimize the time it takes to perform common actions like code completion, refactoring, and debugging. Eclipse, on the other hand, offers a wide range of features and plugins that can make it more powerful and flexible, but these features can also contribute to slower performance in some cases.

4. Language support

If you are primarily interested in working with languages like Java, Kotlin, Scala, and Python, and have a need for strong support for Android development, IntelliJ IDEA might be a good choice for you.

If you are looking for an IDE with support for a wide range of languages and frameworks, and you are particularly interested in languages like C/C++ and PHP, or if you need the ability to easily add support for additional languages through plugins, Eclipse might be a better fit for you.

5. Plugins

Eclipse’s marketplace offers a wider range of plugins compared to IntelliJ IDEA. The Eclipse marketplace currently offers more than 1250 plugins, while IntelliJ IDEA’s plugin repository offers around 750 plugins.

However, the difference in the number of available plugins may not be as significant as it may seem, as not all plugins are relevant or useful to every developer or project.

It is also worth noting that while Eclipse may have more plugins available, the quality and reliability of these plugins can vary. Some Eclipse plugins may be more feature-rich and well-maintained, while others may be less reliable or have fewer features.

7. Usability

IntelliJ is much easier to use as compared to Eclipse. The learning curve is far faster in IntelliJ, which makes developing easier and more natural. Code completion, Dropdowns, quick view, project wizards, etc. are all possible in both Eclipse and IntelliJ, but the user experience in IntelliJ is much more satisfying.

About Naeem Riaz

I have been writing for different websites for a couple of years. From business ethics and marketing stratigies to Operating Systems, I prefer contributing to a variety of subjects.