IDE : Java Glossary

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IDE (Integrated Development Environment). A smart editor that lets you edit, compile and debug all from within the same program. Most IDEs (Integrated Development Environments) understand the Java class structure and let you rapidly find the method declarations or source code. In future IDEs will offer other services such as global variable renaming, multilingual source code and application code and displaying the same source code in various different formats such as decision table, standard Java, tuple, postfix JASM (Java Assembler) or traditional bytecode.

I am so used to an IDE, I could barely code without one. Here are some of the features of the IntelliJ IDE I use constantly:

Dave Dyer has written an essay comparing the various vendor IDE offerings.

IBM (International Business Machines) ’s Visual Age was impressive, but it did not integrate well with other tools such as code beautifiers, editors and source code version control.

I mostly work with IntelliJ IDE, but I also use Slickedit because it is a powerful combo that is much lighter on its feet than any IDE. It also handles columnar editing which IntelliJ cannot handle.

Most IDEs don’t include a source code debugger. Ones I know that do include one are: Café, JBuilder, VAJ (Visual Age for Java), Forté, Eclipse, Netbeans and IntelliJ.

Bruce Ingalls did much of the work preparing this table. If you can help fill in the blanks in the table, please send me an email. Don’t forget URLs (Uniform Resource Locators). It would also be nice to note which of these IDEs can do which sorts of refactoring.

The most commonly used free IDEs are Eclipse and NetBeans for advanced users and BlueJ for beginners. The most commonly used commercial IDE is IntelliJ.

Codes Used in IDE Table
Code Explanation
$ Commercial
F Free
J Java : any OS (Operating System) that supports pure Java
L Linux
O Open source
S Solaris
W Windows 95/98/ME/NT/W2K/XP/W2K3
IDE Name Alive? Type Comments
AFC (Application Foundation Classes)    
AnyJ L  
Arriba L  
BlueJ FJ Notes. Often recommended for people just getting started.
Bluette F by Hyung G. Kim of South Korea.
Café Carouser    
Chicory FJ class diagrams and other software engineering tools too.
Code Crusader OL W?  
Code Fusion L not to be confused with ColdFusion, a web server.
CodeGuide $L notes. Does syntax checking, completion and refactoring. This is Marshall Spight’s favourite ide.
CodeWarrior LMW Notes.
Cosmo Code    
Drag`enCode $W  
Dr.Java F For people just getting started.
Eclipse F Does refactoring. Originally developed by IBM. Popular. It is an enormous project encompassing more than just an IDE. SWT (Standard Widget Toolkit) is a crack at tackling the same problem Swing does. This is Jon Skeet’s favourite IDE. It is the one I used to use. IBM is planning to replace it with an even more elaborate IDE.

People who don’t like it find the interface non-intuitive. It is certainly not like anything else you have used. It also insists you lay your projects on disk its way which can be irksome unless you are starting an entirely new project. A class cannot belong to more than one project. It is the most popular power IDE.

Uses Visual Editor plug-in.

ElixirIDE FL no longer supported
EMACS JDE OJ (Orenthal James Simpson) handles Java version 1.2. It also includes an obfuscator. Most passionately loved and hated editor on the planet. This is David Pollack’s favourite ide.
FieldBird FJO open source. lightweight.
Freebuilder FL  
FreeJava   now called RealJ
FrIJDE Free Java IDE    
Gel WF Gel is written in Delphi, natively compiled for Windows. It is billed as working quickly on less than top-of-the-line hardware. Supports both Java and JSP (Java Server Pages).
JGrasp J JGrasp is written in Java, good for beginners.
GWT (Google Web Toolkit)    
IBM Websphere Studio Application Developer $ Comes in Application, Site or Enterprise editions. Great CVS (Concurrent Versions System) support with synchronizing, diffing and such out of the box, based on Eclipse, WSED (Websphere Studio Enterprise Developer) has JSP highlighting and code completion. Takes forever to start up on a P4 1.7 but has all the bells and whistles. $5556.00 CAD for Application Developer. Last revised/verified: 2005-08-26
Instant Basic    
Intellij Idea
JetBrains Intellij Idea
$ JetBrains Intellij Idea, written in Java. The IDE I use myself. Notes
J++   Microsoft’s variant of Java. They now have a language called C#.
Java Jake F available for UNIX, Windows and MacOS9. simple, light weight fast, somewhat out of date.
Java WorkShop F Sun, aka JDE (Java Development Environment)
Javelin   graphical IDE.
JBuilder F$LW From Codegear, bought from Inprise/Borland. Notes. Requires 256 MB RAM (Random Access Memory) to run reasonably.
JCoder W The entire download is only 2MB, so presumably this is a lightweight IDE that you would expect to run well on older equipment. I could not tell from the website if it were free.
JCreator Pro $W Free trial. $69.00 USD Last revised/verified: 2005-08-26
JDE   based around EMACS (Extensible Macro System) editor
JDesignerPro L  
JDeveloper JFLMW Oracle’s offering. Many features. Now free. supports EE (Enterprise Edition) J2SE (Java 2 platform, Standard Edition) and J2ME (Java 2 Micro Edition) as well as web services and pl/sql development includes UML (Universal Modeling Language), code generation and editing, debugging, profiling, monitoring testing, deploying…
jEdit   It has plugins to add different functionality such as JBrowse and JavaStyle.
Jirvana F very slow response time. Be patient.
JMake $  
Jpad Pro    
Jurtle F Logo-like turtle graphics and a beginner’s IDE for learning Java.
Kawa $W Simple to use. Now owned by Allaire. No longer being developed or distributed. Does not support Java 1.4.
Latte   Borland’s code name for beta JBuilder.
Metamata   Notes. Metamata is owned by Webgain that went belly up.
Mini Java Editor    
Mozart   concept programming
MyEclipse $ Ajax, Maven etc. features
Netbeans F Evolved into Sun Forté then to One Studio, then to Sun Studio. Download is 15 MB vs 85 MB for One Studio. Has an absolute layout manager that they automatically convert to GridBagLayout. So you do your tweaking in the absolute layout manager and then do the conversion. I found the GUI (Graphic User Interface) builder quite buggy, though nicely designed. It would let you add any kind of component. It built event handling code. You could cut and paste components. It handled many kinds of layout. The latest version is reputed to be remarkably quick.
Netbeans Mobility Pack F Add on to Netbeads for J2ME development i.e. cellphones and PDAs (Personal Digital Assistants).
OptimalJ $ EE IDE by Compuware, built on NetBeans. Includes a package structure analysis tool.
Parts For Java   A Java IDE environment similar to Smalltalk.
RealJ   formerly known as FreeJava, lightweight. good for students.
Revologic   workflow, pageflow, EE drag and drop
Roaster M  
Slickedit $LW Notes.
Solstice WorkShop    
Source Navigator L particularly good at browsing networks of classes quickly finding what you are looking for.
Sun Java Studio Mobility free for now still in beta, for J2ME
Sun Studio $J née Forté, then One Studio, from Sun, requires fast machine with 512 MB RAM to work well.
Super Mojo L  
SuperCede   bought by Instantiations and buried.
TJI $FJ light weight, designed for teaching Java. Lite version is free.
VIBE   by Visix
Visaj FLM  
Visual Age FA IBM. Notes. Smalltalk-like project management. Replaced by Eclipse and IBM Websphere Studio Developer, Does not support Java 1.4.
Visual Café $WM now known as WebGAIN Studio.
webGAIN Studio   formerly Symantec Visual Café
WipeOut L in German

Oracle’s Four IDE s

Sun makes four IDE s: NetBeans, Sun Studio, JSE (Java Studio Enterprise), and JSC (Java Studio Creator). They are all free. What’s the difference?
  1. NetBeans provides a plug-in interface similar to Eclipse for third party ad-ins.
  2. Sun Studio provides features needed for C/C++ development on Solaris and Linux.
  3. JSE provides enterprise tools like UML.
  4. Java Studio Creator is a RAD (Rapid Application Development). It is a simple tool for cranking out GUI code, primarily for JSF (Java Server Faces).

All four of these are built on top of the NetBeans base.

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