Intellij IDEA vs. inertia

posted Aug 3, 2013, 8:34 AM by Marsh Gosnell
Inertia is a pretty hard force to change.  As a long time Eclipse user, I found it pretty much met my needs despite a few reoccurring problems and cruft. Despite reading lots of comments about how much better Intellij IDEA, from JetBrains was, it was not much more than a curiosity to me.  Who wants to pay for an IDE when Eclipse is free... 

Inertia moved a little last December when JetBrains offered an "end of the world" sale to celebrate the end of the Mayan calendar.  On an impulse, I bought myself a copy but inertia took over again it just sat there pretty much unused until May.

This spring, a project at one of my clients finally migrated from Visual Source Safe to Git.  I was using an old Eclipse plugin for VSS but that plugin didn't work in anything newer than Helios. I remembered that Ultimate version of IDEA supported VSS and Git plus had a Python plugin so I decided that it was time to give it a serious try.  It took a while to convert the Eclipse shortcuts in my muscle memory to IDEA but I can now say that I wish I had switched earlier.  I find IDEA more intuitive and feature rich compared to Eclipse.  For example, I like how IDEA hilights unused variables and methods.  I have also found the static analysis built into IDEA to be as good as and sometimes better than Klockwork.  One of my biggest surprises was to find that the static analysis also worked on Python code.  

Icing on the proverbial cake is that IDEA is now the basis for Android Studio.  Even though Android Studio is still in developer preview, it has been very stable for me and is now my Android IDE of choice.  I build subtly different versions of Cargo Decoder for each Android distribution channel and the Build Variants feature in Android Studio and Gradle has turned this task from cumbersome to trivial.

If you don't need things only supported in IDEA Ultimate, the free community edition might be the IDE you are looking for.