Best Java IDE for Java programmers

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Best Java IDE
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The feature-rich, code-centric IDEs (Integrated Development Environment) provides comprehensive facilities to make Java programming easier and productive. Intellij idea IDE, Eclipse Java IDE, NetBeans IDE, BlueJ IDE, Xcode, MyEclipse, jGRASP  Greenfoot, JDeveloper, JEdit, and lots more IDEs are there to help Java developers. Few of IDEs are completely free and few are completely or partially paid ones. A java developer needs to choose the right IDE to improve and code efficiently, this is not a simple task.

Best Java IDE is that IDE which fulfills development needs like source code management, suggestions, error highlighting, test runner, debugger, interpreter. A good Java IDE provides a vast choice of inbuilt plugins as well as commercial and community supported plugins. A developer should find all the required tools within IDE, to avoid switching between different tools and help in fast and efficient software development.

What is IDE ( Integrated Development Environment)?

An Integrated Development Environment or IDE, enables developers to leverage the different aspects of software development with ease. An IDE consists of a code editor, compiler, debugger, automation tools, File explorer and multiple plugins to simplify day to day development tasks. An IDE always has a GUI from where a programmer can interact and provides lots of automation for recurring development activities. With the usage of IDE, a developer can focus on the development part, without worrying about file management. An IDE is mostly a native desktop application, few IDE supports web browsers as well.

Advantages of using IDE

There are number of reasons that to use IDE for software development, a professional developer expects following advantage from an IDE:

Faster setup

Setting up the project source code and development environment is a very complex task. But an IDE makes the setup process very smooth and fast, as these are specialized programs to perform such tasks and avoid manual efforts.

Fast paced Development

With an IDE, you can ready do fast paced development. You don’t have to worry about file management, remember every file/method name or trace the nested calls. IDE does all of these for you, e.g: you can just click on a method to open the linked file and check the code.

Project management

An enterprise project structure is always a complex structure, due to categorization of resources, resources placement according to build tools, references etc. IDE being a special tool to do these things, this is not a problem at all. It automatically creates & manages such project structure.

One stop solution

IDE is really a one stop solution, as it provides inbuilt support for development kits, compiler, interpreters, debugger, profilers, file explorer, file search tool etc. Mostly every IDE supports third party plugins, which can be added as per need from the required marketplace.


An IDE can help a team to collaborate and maintain a standard to manage a project. In big development teams, this becomes very critical. Few IDE has inbuilt support for source code version control also, which makes it easier to manage and check the code within the IDE along with regular development work.

List of Java IDE

Java is one the most popular programming languages, due to this reason there are many IDE available for Java development. Few are fully free, few are partially paid and few are completely paid IDEs. Every IDE provides a unique set of development tools. You need to decide based upon the support features that are the right IDE for you.

Java IDEDeveloped ByPlatforms supportLicense typeFree VersionPaid VersionDownload link
Intellij ideaJetBrainsWindows, macOS, LinuxApache License, trailwareYesYesDownload Intellij idea
EclipseEclipse FoundationWindows, macOS, LinuxEclipse public licenseYesNoDownload Eclipse
NetBeansApache Software Foundation, Oracle CorporationWindows, macOS, Linux, SolarisApache LicenseYesNoDownload NetBeans
BlueJBlueJ TeamCross-platformGNU General Public LicenseYesNoDownload BlueJ
XcodeApple Inc.macOSFreewareYesNoDownload Xcode
MyEclipseGenuitecWindows, macOS, LinuxCommercial licensesNoYesDownload MyEclipse
jGRASPjGRASP TeamCross-platformFreewareYesNoDownload jGRASP
GreenfootMichael Kölling, Computing Education Group, King’s College LondonCross-platformGNU General Public LicenseYesNoDownload Greenfoot
JDeveloperOracle CorporationCross-platform
Proprietary OTN JDeveloper License
YesNoDownload JDeveloper
JEditSlava PestovJava-supportedGPLYesNoDownload JEdit
Visual Studio Code JavaMicrosoftWindows, macOS, LinuxMITYesNoDownload Visual Studio Code
Best Java IDE

List of Online Java IDE

Online Java IDE is browser based Java IDE, which don’t require any installation. Online Java IDE makes source code sharing and collaboration very easy. Online Java IDE is majorly used for learning purpose and demonstration purposes, but not a good fit for enterprise development.
Following is the list of various online Java IDE which can be used to test Java code online:

Online Java IDEIDE Link
CodivaVisit Codiva
JDoodleVisit JDoodle
CodeChefVisit CodeChef
OnlineGDBVisit OnlineGDB
BrowxyVisit Browxy
RextesterVisit Rextester
RemoteinterviewVisit Remoteinterview
IdeoneVisit Ideone
GeeksforGeeks IDEVisit GeeksforGeeks IDE
TutorialspointVisit Tutorialspoint
Guru99Visit Guru99
Eclipse CheVisit Eclipse Che
Test Java online

Best Java IDE for competitive programming

For competitive programming the best choice IDE is IntelliJ IDEA ultimate edition. IntelliJ IDEA includes everything a Java developer will need for competitive programming. An IDE should be one stop shop for everything like development, file management, database, setup, analyze and test. In Competitive programming, the development needs to be accurate, fast, reliable irrespective of cost of development tools.

We recommend this choice of IDE based on our experience of the last 11 years of Java programming. For competitive programming, you need a lot of tools and plugins. Following is a high level list which can be used as a checklist while selecting your IDE. Fortunately IntelliJ IDEA supports all of following features:

  • Language and type specific wizard
  • Powerful search tools
  • Instrumental tools
  • Project management and file Explorer
  • Code references
  • Code skeletons and layouts
  • Test runner and code coverage
  • Debugger 
  • Powerful refactor tool
  • Source code linking 
  • SDK and Compiler multiple version support, 
  • Build tools support
  • Source code version tools support 
  • Terminal
  • Customizable user interface
  • Database management
  • Code suggestions and auto-completions
  • Duplicate code check
  • Dead code check
  • Unused code check
  • Customizable shortcuts for IDE
  • JIT Compiler
  • Decompiler
  • Docker support 
  • Application servers support
  • Code visualization
  • ClipBoard Manager
  • Entity and ERD creator

Best Java IDE for beginners

For beginners, the best choice IDE is Eclipse for Java EE developers. A beginner needs to focus on learning and focus on coding to create small, mid-level and bigger solutions. Eclipse’s all editions are free and open-source solutions, which means you can use it for any purpose, personal as well as commercial. Eclipse Java EE edition is a very strong competitor for paid IDEs for enterprise developers.

Eclipse for Java EE developers has lots of features, Few of these are highlighted below:

  • Source code editor
  • Project manager and file explorer
  • Inbuilt browser
  • Application servers support
  • SDK and JRE customizations
  • Powerful refactoring tool
  • Source code layout
  • Workflow analysis
  • Test runner
  • Debugger
  • Code checker
  • JIT Compiler


As there are lots of Java IDEs present in the market, you need to choose the right one based upon your needs. Your decision should drive from your requirements and need of paid support. I hope this will help you to decide your own Java IDE. If you are looking to install Java, then you can read my article about installing the Java language.