Java is the most common programming language used by developers to create desktop applications, mobile applications, web applications, enterprise applications, and more. But when you are working with Java, you will need a Java IDE that helps you develop these applications more efficiently. Eclipse, NetBeans, IntelliJ IDEA, etc. are the common types of Java IDEs, but apart from these, there are many other IDEs available that you can use to develop apps. The Java IDE is a tool that dynamically improves the performance of Java applications. It will provide you with a source code editor, debugger, build automation tools, and so on to make developing apps with Java easier. But when you are a Java application developer, it can be a little difficult to understand what Java IDE is the best for you. That’s why we have designed this guide to assist you with the top 11 free Java IDE 2021. Before we get into the list, we need you to know the essential features a good Java IDE should have.
What are the Ideal Features of Java IDE?
The IDE is a short-term Integrated Development Environment that comprises all the necessary Java tools that you require to build powerful Java applications. The IDE helps you write, debug, and test your Java code for creating applications. Developers are able to work in a single environment and improve their workload using IDE tools. Each IDE comes with different resources and each of them includes text editors, build tools, debuggers, etc. To identify which IDE is best for your needs, you need to be sure of what you expect out of it. So, here are the essential features of the IDE that you might need, no matter how experienced or beginner developer you are.
The type of debugging an IDE provides varies from one IDE to another. But it is important for all IDEs to have a debugging tool that will identify the potential errors of codes and help you improve them quickly.
An IDE comes with a built-in highlighting tool that will help you highlight the errors of the code. In this way, you can resolve the errors to make your codes more efficient and readable.
The IDE helps you write and run your Java code at the same time you are working on your program to make it more efficient.
Code completion allows you to identify and insert components of codes into the application so that you can save time and also reduce the risk of typos and glitches.
Graphical User Interface (GUI)
An IDE should provide you with an attractive Graphical User Interface (GUI) so that your web applications also come with a modern user interface.
These are the most significant features of an IDE that should be present in the program you are choosing. But for different developers, the essentials can vary as well. Below, we have mentioned the top 11 free Java IDEs to choose from.
4. IntelliJ IDEA
IntelliJ IDEA is another great Java IDE and number 4 on our list. It is an efficient and convenient Java IDE that comes with features to boost your application’s functions without harassing its user interface. In IntelliJ IDEA, you will find various tools to make your application development simpler. It contains cross-language refactoring, smart completion, data flow analysis, language injection, and more. You can even try out either one of the two editions of IntelliJ IDEA. The first edition is the Apache 2 Licensed community edition, and the second one is the proprietary ultimate edition. If you use the community edition, you can change its code any time you want because it is a free and open-sourced platform. The community edition also focuses on the Android platform and the Java Virtual Machine (JVM) development. But if you want to use the second edition, aka the ultimate edition, then you will have to enter into a paid subscription. But it is worth it since you can do both web and enterprise development with this one.
BlueJ is another IDE for Java that is perfect for small-scale software development which beginners and advanced developers prefer alike. The primary dashboard of BlueJ shows you the development structure of the application and helps you test and create objects for boosting the performance of your project. BlueJ is a multiplatform integrated development environment where you can simply interact with other objects related to your application development. You can add methods on objects, examine their values, set them as parameters with BlueJ. There are also some other development features available in the BlueJ IDE that allow you to create dynamic objects, scan codes, etc. Even though BlueJ was designed for educational purposes, you can use it for application development just as easily.
6. Android Studio
Android Studio, as the name suggests, is developed by Google for the Android platform. But it is also proficient at working with Java code. Android Studio was built on the IntelliJ IDEA Community Edition and supports different APK generations. It comes with a flexible Gradle-based build system and template variations that support different device types. The layout editor allows you to edit themes of the development process. There are also some other tools available for you to analyse performance, compatibility of the applications’ versions, their usability, and more. Android Studio has built-in support for Google Cloud and you can configure the app development projects using Java Development Kits. You can download Android Studio for free on Windows, Mac, or Linux and save the development projects on the cloud if you want.
7. Oracle JDeveloper
Greenfoot is a great educational tool for beginner developers who use Java to create the web. Mobile, or other types of applications. There is a two-dimensional graphics system in Greenfoot that helps developers learn how to create video games, stimulation programs, and addictive applications. Greenfoot IDE is a great community for teachers and students who share motivations and ideas with each other to help young developers grow in the field. In Greenfoot, you can access various animations, soundtracks, and illustration guides for free to boost your productivity with object interactions and parameters. If you are looking for an easy community to learn about application development, then Greenfoot IDE serves the purpose.
jGRASP offers automated software virtualization to developers. This lightweight Java IDE was designed for Java users, but it is a cross-platform IDE that provides you with various features to work with. It comes with a debugger, workbench, UML class diagrams, etc. At the same time, it offers statistical virtualization for both source codes and data structures. If you work with Python, C++, or any other programming language, it can offer Control Structure Diagrams. So, overall, jGRASP is a free IDE that supports all programming languages and also offers plugins for finding bugs, checking style, etc. As usual, you can download jGRASP on Windows, Mac, and Linux.
JCreator is not a Java IDE, but it is faster and lighter than its counterparts since it was written in C++. The user interface of JCreator looks like Microsoft’s Visual Studio, so you can navigate between source codes more easily. It offers an API guideline for software developers and also provides you with various JDK profiles to handle different types of projects. The user interface is manageable and straightforward, which makes JCreator a great tool for beginner developers. It offers code completion, syntax highlighting, wizards, etc. You won’t have to modify the main document, but you can still run or compile Java codes with Jcreator. There are two editions available for JCreator: Pro and LE.
DrJava is for beginners and students of software development because it is simple to use and lightweight. It is not as advanced as some of the Java IDEs we have mentioned here, but still supports development for different platforms. You can use it to run your code from a console and specify the outputs. It comes with auto-completion, auto-indentation, commenting, syntax highlighting, a find/replace feature, and more. You can use DR Java if you are looking for a clutter-free user interface.
There are many other free Java IDEs we could mention here, but those will not be necessary. These top 11 free Java IDEs of 2021 for programmers and developers are enough for young developers and students who are looking to create a career in the software development field. The best way to get most of these tools is to practice and practice some more. There are many hands-on guides available on the internet for you to get going. Learn object-oriented programming with Java, printing with Java, conditional statements in Java, and more so that you can improve your skills faster and more efficiently as a novice developer. If you are a beginner in Java application development, you can check out our blog to find more relevant information about the same. We share straightforward tutorials on Java and application development regularly so you can improve your skills efficiently. If you have a proposal, feel free to drop it in the comment section.
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