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Setting-up Development Environment- Eclipse vs IntelliJ

Have you had a hands-on experience in developing an application of your own? If your answer is YES, then you must have definitely come across the term Integrated Development Environment, which is more popularly called as IDE and have a basic idea about this topic. But if your answer is a NO, then there is absolutely no need to worry. This blog will help you get a complete idea of what an IDE is and how  you need to use it.


Before we start with the main topic of discussion, we would like to brief you about the articles related to, in which you can expect to find some brainstorming ideas right here, in this blog-post. This post is mainly  written for the purpose of  highlighting the differences between two of the most important and widely used development environments: the Eclipse environment and the IntelliJ environment. This post will also point out ideas which will further help you to decide which development environment will be suitable for you according to the task which you wish to perform.

About IDE

IDE is the abbreviation for Integrated Development Environment. It is a software application which is used by programmers while developing Android application, or in other words for software development, as it provides comprehensive facilities for the ease of its users. An IDE  generally consists of a source code editor, build automation tools and a debugger. Overall, an IDE provides an efficient and an easy environment for the programmers to develop the required software.eclipse_bckgr_logo_fc_med

About Eclipse and IntelliJ

Eclipse is an IDE which is designed to handle multiple languages. Thus it can be said to be language- dependent. It also comprises of a base to perform several tasks and an extensible plug-in, which refers to a software component that helps to add desirable and specific features to an existing software application of yours and thus it helps to customize the environment. On the other hand, IntelliJ is an Integrated Development Environment or a platform which is also language-aware and provides a smart and an efficient environment along with a comprehensive set of features and facilities which include an editor, a debugger etc.

Eclipse vs IntelliJ:

Now we come to the main part of discussion. This portion will point out the differences and comparison between the Eclipse environment and the IntelliJ environment.

The first and the most basic difference that can be pointed out between these 2 IDE’s is the difference in the terminologies used by these  two environments. The following table will make you aware of these differences.

Workspace Project
Project Module
Project-specific JRE Module SDK
User Library Global Library
Classpath Variable Path Variable

If we start noting the points of differences, the biggest fact that we come across is that both the Eclipse and the IntelliJ perform nearly the same sort of and the same  number of features but the difference lies only in the fact that these features are implemented differently in these development environments which is the ultimate factor for the decision as to who will have an upperhand over the other and the little details which decide the overall usability of the product.

So, lets start the comparison between Eclipse and IntelliJ on the basis of various factors one by one.

1. Plugins

Plugins refers to the software components which are used to add certain desirable and specific features to an already existing software application. The eclipse environment offers nearly about 1276 plugins whereas the IntelliJ environment offers only about 727 plugins. Since we require plugins for new technologies, therefore this should not be considered as a minor difference as these plugins can be developed only for Eclipse. Another advantage of Eclipse over IntelliJ in this case is that Eclipse is easier to extend. So overall analysis suggests that if you are working on a plugin, then there is maximum chance that it will be an Eclipse plugin and thus, Eclipse gains an extra point as compared to the IntelliJ in this section.

2. Projects

In this aspect, we can easily denote Eclipse as the winner. This is because Eclipse allows the user to open multiple projects in the same window which thus helps him/her to keep a control over all the projects at the same time. On the other hand, IntelliJ has the option of opening a single project with its multiple sub-projects on a single window but when you open multiple projects, you are required to open multiple number of windows. The real fact is, when you implement it practically, it turns out to be very confusing and difficult to handle. Thus, if you are going to handle multiple number of projects and don’t want to shift between windows continuously, then IntelliJ is definitely not the choice for you and you will undoubtedly go for Eclipse.

3. Handling Multiple Languages

On comparison,we are able to notice that Eclipse is capable of handling multiple languages more efficiently and conveniently as compared to that of IntelliJ which lacks a little bit of features in this aspect.

4. Coding and Inspection

This section of creating the code and then inspecting them is more effectively performed using the IntelliJ development environment rather than using the Eclipse.

5. Compatibility

The greatest advantage of IntelliJ lies in the fact that it is quite user-friendly and provides a very good experience and environment to the user to work with. It makes the process of developing an Android application very easy and thus makes the learning process quicker which in turn leads to a satisfied customer base, in comparison to Eclipse.

6. Performance

If we talk about performance related to project handling,then I can say that Eclipse handles a large number of projects simultaneously and more efficiently, works faster even with them  as compared to the IntelliJ environment which first analyses the entire set of projects during start-up and thus takes more time. However, when it comes to the handling of a single existing project, IntelliJ works more smoothly and faster.

7. Repository

Both the development environments i.e the IDEs have various plugins like SVN/GIT etc. But undoubtedly, the IntelliJ’s plugin is more reliable to use, has a better Graphical User Interface and is easier and quicker to use. So, in this case, it is the IntelliJ which wins.

8. Implementing GUI builder

A GUI builder, which is also known as a GUI designer is a software development tool which allows the creation of Graphical User Interface(GUI) in a simpler and easier way. It allows the user to arrange widgets using a drag-and-drop editor. Without a GUI builder, a GUI must be manually built by specifying the parameters of each widget in code, which would have made it a very long drawn and a tedious process. So now, comparing these two environments on the basis of this criteria, we find that the IntelliJ GUI builder is more reliable to work with, easier to operate and work upon and also more enjoyable to develop as compared to that of the Eclipse GUI builder.

9. Cost factor

This is one of the most important features of marking distinctions between the 2 environments under discussion i.e. the payment factor. On one hand, where Eclipse is completely free of cost and there are no issues of payment for use whatsoever, on the other hand, IntelliJ is available for free use only for a limited period of time and after that you will have to pay for further use. This reason is one of the major factors for many people using the development environments to shift their choice from IntelliJ to Eclipse.


This was the entire discussion about 2 of the most popular and widely used Integrated Development Environments or as we popularly call IDEs, their pros and cons, their pluses and minuses etc. This blog will prove very useful to you if you are confused about making a choice as to which IDE you should choose when you develop an Android application. The above facts and the comparison, I hope, will tend to reduce or even completely finish off all your tussle that you have regarding this topic and will help you make your decision quicker and easier. Thus concluding, we would like to say that as a programmer, you should be able to find the right tool for executing a particular task that you have at hand with the maximum efficiency and ease. If you still have any problem and is not convinced fully yet, then feel free to drop in your comments. We will definitely try to solve it to the fullest.



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