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InfoQ Homepage News IntelliJ IDEA 14 Arrives

IntelliJ IDEA 14 Arrives

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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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