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IntelliJ IDEA 14 Arrives

| by Matt Raible Follow 13 Followers on Nov 06, 2014. Estimated reading time: 2 minutes |

IntelliJ IDEA 14JetBrains released IntelliJ IDEA 14 a month ahead of schedule. This release introduces a wealth of innovative features, including a new decompiler, debugger improvements, editor enhancements, support for Android Wear/TV, and support for many JavaScript frameworks.

The decompiler, based on FernFlower, allows the developer to view the source code of libraries where the original source code is not available. Debugger improvements include showing variable values in the editor, as well as allowing lambda expressions to be evaluated. Another noteworthy change is a Show Referring Objects action, that allows you to see all the objects with a reference to the current object, including arrays, collections, weak references, etc.

Editor improvements include smart backspace, and code style detection.

IntelliJ IDEA's Backspace Smart Indent

The new "smart backspace" feature aligns the current line, with just a single backspace. Code style detection, if enabled, detects if a file is using tabs or spaces, and infers the indentation size for blocks, adjusting your default settings.

For Android developers, IDEA 14 adds the enhancements and new features introduced in Android Studio Beta, including support for Android Wear and TV. Speaking of Android Wear, in his article Common Android Wear Tasks for Developers,Tim Mattison warned against choosing the prior version of IntelliJ IDEA over Android Studio. The arguments no longer apply to IDEA 14.

Maven and Gradle integration has been improved, as has support for Git and Mercurial. JavaFX Scene Builder is now built-in, allowing you to edit your layouts in IDEA. The database tools have also been improved, adding support for Integrated Windows Authentication with SQL Server, new navigation actions and a better Table view.

JetBrains 0xDBE, a tool for DBAs and SQL Developers, was covered by InfoQ earlier this year.

Other notable features in this release:

  • Code completion for supported frameworks has been updated to their latest versions.
  • Application server integrations has been updated to their latest versions.
  • Coding assistance for Thymeleaf has been added.
  • Play 2.x support has been moved to the Scala plugin, which has improvements for refactoring, sbt and performance.
  • JavaScript support for frameworks such as React, spy-js, Node.js and Grunt. Anything included in WebStorm 9 is included in IntelliJ IDEA 14.
  • New plugins for Meteor and PhoneGap, Cordova and Ionic.
  • Postfix code completion for both Java and JavaScript.

JetBrains has a "What's New" site with more details on this feature-full release.

This release of IntelliJ IDEA is free to students, as are all of JetBrain's products. Developers can buy a Personal License for $199, or $99 to upgrade from an existing version. The $99 upgrade is a subscription that's good for one year.

Reactions on Hacker News were varied. Many were pleased with the free option for students. One developer complained that "multithreaded debugging in IDEA is awful", linking to an open issue. Another noted that HiDPI support for Linux (and Windows) is still missing. One commenter didn't like the auto-formatting of Scala code, but the complaint was ultimately seen as spurious, caused by the smart backspace feature, which you can disable in Preferences > Editor > General > Smart Keys > Backspace smart indent.

The response on Reddit was mostly positive, with many saying they've switched from Eclipse to IntelliJ IDEA. JetBrains will be hosting a webinar about what's new in IntelliJ IDEA 14 on Tuesday, November 18, 2014.

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Upgrade to IDEA 14... so far so good by Richard Richter

As it often comes with major releases, sometimes you go back to previous version. During the last two days I haven't found any reason to repeat this experience - while this is just a short time, it is a positive result so far. ;-) Except for a couple of things I had to check/disable in Settings everything works at least as nice as in 13.x. I'd still welcome focus on some old annoyances, though...

While I accepted kinda silly Esc/Enter workflow for Search compared to Firefox which was one of the inspiration (since it was introduced ages ago actually), there are things that clearly are not intended. Expanding find results with Next occurence sometimes scrolls to right although 2/3 of the right area are empty (Ctrl+Left is handy to master then ;-)). Idea 13 improved Javadoc reformat, but other formatting annoyances are introduced or still present. Nothing that would push me to Eclipse though. :-)

Stuff involving type inference sometimes show error - just edit and undo it and it's OK. Type inference for return type is not tuned up - but hey, these are new Java 8 things! :-) And finally, search in very long outputs is much faster - limiting the number of matches after entering the first letter. In overall nice update.

It would be good to review Youtrack bugs though - obsolete some, close others...

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