Difference Between Intellij and Eclipse

Intellij vs Eclipse

Java IDE (Integrated Development Environment) market is one of the most intensely competed in the area of programming tools. IntelliJ IDEA and Eclipse are two of the four major competitors in this area (NetBeans and Oracle JDeveloper are the other two). Eclipse is free and open source software, while IntelliJ is a commercial product.


Eclipse is an IDE that allows the development of applications in multiple languages. In fact, it can be called a complete software development environment composed of the IDE and the plug-in system. It is free, and open source software released under Eclipse Public License. However, with the use of suitable plug-ins, it can be used to develop applications in many other languages such as C, C++, Perl, PHP, Python, Ruby, etc. The Eclipse IDE is called Eclipse ADT, Eclipse CDT, Eclipse JDT and Eclipse PDT, when used with Ada, C/C++, Java and PHP, respectively. It is a cross-platform IDE, which runs on many operating systems. Its current release version 3.7 was released in June, 2011.


IntelliJ IDEA is a Java IDE developed by JetBrains. The first version of IntelliJ came out in 2001. At that time, it was the only IDE with support for advanced code navigation and refactoring. It is a commercial product, where a free 30-day trial (with all features) is available for all platforms. More recently, an open source edition has been made available. The current stable version is 10.0. It offers support for drawing UML class diagrams, visual modeling in Hibernate, Spring 3.0, analysis of dependencies and Maven. Applications in many languages such as Java, JavaScript, HTML, Python, Ruby, PHP and many more can be developed using IntelliJ. IntelliJ supports a large range of frameworks and technologies such as JSP, JSF, EJB, Ajax, GWT, Struts, Spring, Hibernate and OSGi. Furthermore, various application servers like GlassFish, JBoss, Tomcat and WebSphere are supported by IntelliJ. Easy integration with CVS, Subversion, Ant, Maven and JUnit is made possible by IntelliJ.

What is the difference between Intellij and Eclipse?

Although both IntelliJ and Eclipse are two of the most popular Java IDEs at present, they have their differences. First of all, Eclipse is free and fully open source, while IntelliJ is a commercial product. Support for Maven is better in IntelliJ. IntelliJ IDEA comes with built-in GUI builder for Swing, but you need to use a separate plug-in in Eclipse for the same purpose. In fact, the Java community considers IntelliJ’s GUI builder as the best GUI designer at the moment. In terms of XML support, IntelliJ offers the better option. It has a built-in XML editor with sophisticated features like code completing and validation (which is not present in Eclipse). However, the plug-in system and the large amount of extensible plug-ins available from many parties make Eclipse very popular within the industry. Despite the differences in features, the general opinions within the Java community about the performance of these two IDE are fairly similar.

  • Serge Baranov

    IDEA Community edition is free and open source, you may need to mention it.