An IDE refers to a software application that all computer programmers use for software development. Typically, all IDEs have certain features based on which they are chosen. Other factors that are taken into consideration are cost, web development support, desktop development and multi-browser support, licensing model, parallel execution, and so on. Java has many well-known IDEs. Here are some of them that we think are its best ones:
BlueJ: First released in 1999, BlueJ is one of Java's oldest IDEs. It works on Windows, Linux and Mac OS. It supports unit testing for various applications. It is developer-friendly and is therefore suitable for all Java developers. It also works well in case of small projects. BlueJ's design is different from other IDE's because it was initially created to teach OOPS to beginners. The main screen has a clean user interface and shows the class structured of the application being Java developers. It also allows developers to get easy access to objects and modify them. BlueJ works on Linux, Windows and Mac OS.
Eclipse: First released in 2001, Eclipse is a Java IDE that supports cross-platform website and web application building. It has a desktop edition as well as a cloud edition. It comes with an XML editor and also a maven build. It is primarily suitable for large projects. Eclipse supports plugins, and it has several of them in the Eclipse Marketplace. These plugins help to add more features to the IDE, such as that of multi-lingual support. Eclipse supports code completion as well. It has many powerful tools that facilitate various aspects of web application development, such as charting, reporting, modelling, testing, and so on. It reduces coding time for Java developers and helps them build applications more efficiently. One of its unique features is that it can be used to create mathematical documents. Eclipse works on Windows, Linux, Mac and Solaris operating system.
IntelliJ IDEA: First released in 2001, IntelliJ IDEA is an IDE with complex features. It has two editions- a proprietary commercial edition and an Apache 2 Licensed Community Edition. It supports data flow analysis and cross-language refactoring. It is developer-friendly in that it has features like chain completion, smart completion, static member completion and language injection. It not only supports Java programming language but also other programming languages like Kotlin that are JVM based. It works on Windows, Linux and Mac OS.
DrJava: First released in 2002, DrJava is an IDE highly suitable for beginner level Java developers. Its user interface is developer-friendly. It has several features such as unit testing, brace matching, syntax colouring, automatic indentation, and so on. It also supports Eclipse as a plugin. DrJava can use a console to evaluate Java code. It can present the output of the evaluation in the same console. One of its best features is that its appearance remains consistent on different platforms because it was developed using Swing toolkit, a product of the Sun Microsystems. It works on Windows, Linux and Mac OS.
JCreator: JCreator is a lightweight Java IDE. Its interface is similar to Microsoft's Visual Studio. Although it does not have advanced features, developers, like it because it is small and faster than most Java-based IDEs. This is because it does not require a JRE to execute codes in Java. It has three different versions- JCreator Lite, Pro and Life-Pro edition. It also has a free and paid version. The paid version has a debugger, code wizards and comes with Ant support. JCreator is perfect for beginners.
Greenfoot: First released in 2003, Greenfoot is primarily meant to be used for educational purposes. With this IDE, developers can build applications with 2D graphics. They can also make interactive games with simulations. It is free to use and offers access to many animated graphics and sounds. It is highly interactive and suitable for all beginners. Greenfoot works on Linux, Mac, Windows and Solaris operating systems.
These are some of Java's top IDEs. It has several others as well. The choice of IDE depends largely on the project and its requirements. It also depends on personal preference. If you are a Java developer for hire, the best IDE for you will ultimately be the one you like to work with the most.