Best and Popular IDEs for Java Development 2020


Developers spend a lot of time to develop, compile, debug, and run the applications. Since every Java developer looks for a programming editor or Integrated Development Environment (IDE) that can help them in writing Java code and using class libraries and frameworks. IDEs make developers life easy in terms of compile, debug and to run the program, etc. There are various IDEs available for the development of applications, but the choice depends on your requirement, nature of the project, your role in an organization, process, and your preferences. We mentioned some of the good available IDEs, but out of these, Eclipse, NetBeans, IntelliJ IDEA, and Android Studio are four most often chosen IDEs for Java development work. These IDEs are the best free IDEs to download for development.

  • Eclipse
  • NetBeans
  • IntelliJ IDEA Community Edition
  • Android Studio
  • Enide Studio 2014
  • BlueJ
  • jEdit
  • jGRASP


Eclipse is the most popular Java-based Integrated Development environment (IDE) used in computer programming. It is open-source and written in Java. As Eclipse is written in Java, it is cross-platform and runs on Linux, Mac OS X, Solaris, and Windows operating systems. It is free to download and available under the Eclipse Public License.


Eclipse is having a base workspace and extensible Plug-in system to customize the environment. Although Eclipse is basically for Java development, but you can also use it for other programming languages too, including Ada, ABAP, C, C++, C#, Clojure, COBOL, D, Erlang, Fortran, Groovy, Haskell, JavaScript, Julia, Lasso, Lua, NATURAL, Perl, PHP, Prolog, Python, R, Ruby (including Ruby on Rails framework), Rust, Scala, and Scheme, by adding respective plug-ins.

Essential features for the development are available in Eclipse. Main features included in Eclipse are

  • Code Recommenders Developer Tools
  • Eclipse Git Team Provider
  • Eclipse Java Development Tools
  • Maven Integration for Eclipse
  • Mylyn Task List
  • WindowBuilder Core
  • Eclipse XML Editors and Tools

Eclipse facilitates you to edit, build, debug, and test your systems with ease and grace. In eclipse, a built-in incremental compiler runs, whenever it loads a file or finds any changes in your code, the compiler runs automatically. If eclipse found any compilation error, it displays error indicators. Although you can stop auto compilation too and can compile your code on a requirement basis. Eclipse Java Projects maintain a model of its content, which includes information of Java elements declaration, references, and the type hierarchy.

Eclipse download link  is


NetBeans is an integrated development environment (IDE) for Java development work.  It is written in Java and open-source (free to download) and cross-platform IDE. It is an Apache project and allows people to get involved and contribute to its feature enhancement. They have a website ( explaining more about Apache NetBeans.


NetBeans applications are developed from a set of modular software components called modules. Because of its cross-platform feature, NetBeans can run on Windows, macOS, Linux and Solaris operating systems. Apart from Java development, it has extensions for other languages too like PHP, C, C++, HTML5, and JavaScript.

Applications based on NetBeans can be extended by third-party developers. Third-party developers can create plug-ins to enhance the NetBeans application functionality. NetBeans PDF viewer-plugin is a good example of it.

Enterprise application development or MVC based application development is very easy through NetBeans, as JSP/Servlet application development, deployment and debugging is quite easy and simple.

 NetBeans has in-built support for SQL, MySQL, and Oracle drivers, and some of the others too. So making connections to the database in the application is quite simple. 

NetBeans has all the required features for the development. Features are including:

  • Ant-based project system, 
  • Maven Support, 
  • In-built support for SQL, MySQL, and Oracle drivers
  • Refactoring and version control (supporting CVS, Subversion, Git, Mercurial, and Clearcase), etc.

It is also released under a dual license- Common Development and Distribution License (CDDL) v1.0, and the GNU General Public License (GPL) v2.

Apache NetBeans download link

IntelliJ IDEA

IntelliJ IDEA is an integrated development environment (IDE) for software development. It is written in java and is available for Windows, Linux, and Mac operating systems. It is developed by JetBrains and formerly known as IntelliJ. It has intelligent coding assistance and ergonomic design, that makes developers enjoyable and helps to maximize their productivity.

IntelliJ IDEA
IntelliJ IDEA

IntelliJ IDEA was one of the first available Java IDEs, It was released in January 2001 with advanced code navigation and code refactoring capabilities.

IntelliJ IDEA is available in two editions: the free Community edition, and the paid Ultimate edition(which has additional features).

The free Community edition is used for JVM and Android app development. It is open-source and available under Apache 2 Licensed community. 

The Ultimate edition is used for web and enterprise development. The Ultimate Edition is built on top of the Community Edition including many other extra features.

You can download IntelliJ IDEA Ultimate from the URL

Its 30 days trial is free to evaluate. Once the trial is complete, you can purchase a license. You can get a free license if you are a contributor in an established open-source project.

Features including in IntelliJ IDEA are:

  • Language support:  it supports coding assistance with smart code completion, deep static analysis, intelligent refactorings, inspections, quick-fixes, and more.
  • Large variety of frameworks: It supports a large variety of frameworks for both server-side and client-side.
  • Build Tools: It integrates with major build automation tools for Java, Scala, JavaScript, and other languages.
  • Version Controlling: It allows check out/in changes, browse the history, work with branches, etc
  • Deployment: It allows to deploy to major application servers and to the cloud: it also helps to build artifacts, deploy, and debug
  • Others: Junit Unit test runners, Debugger, Decompiler, etc

Difference between IntelliJ IDEA Community Edition and IntelliJ IDEA Ultimate

FeaturesIntelliJ IDEA Community EditionIntelliJ IDEA Ultimate
Programming LanguagesJava,Scala, Groovy, Kotlin, Python and Jython, Dart, Rust, HTML,  XML, JSON, YAML,XSL, XPath,Markdown,On top of community edition it supports addition  languages like JavaScript, TypeScript (all the functionality of WebStorm), CoffeeScript, ActionScript, SQL (all the functionality of DataGrip), CSS, Sass, SCSS, Less, Stylus, Ruby and JRuby (all the functionality of RubyMine via a plugin), PHP (all the functionality of PhpStorm via a plugin), Go (all the functionality of GoLand via a plugin), Java, Groovy, Kotlin, Scala (via a plugin), Python and Jython (all the functionality of PyCharm Community edition via a plugin), Dart (via a plugin), Rust (via a plugin), HTML, XML, JSON, YAML, XSL, XPath
Frameworks SupportAndroid (includes the Android Studio’s functionality), Swing (incl. UI Designer), JavaFXOn top of community edition it supports additional Frameworks – Spring (Spring MVC, Spring Boot, Spring Integration, Spring Security and more), Spring Cloud, Java EE (JSF, JAX-RS, CDI, JPA, etc), Micronaut, Quarkus, Helidon, Grails, GWT, Play (via a plugin), Thymeleaf, Support all community framework including Freemarker, Velocity, AspectJ, JBoss Seam, OSGI, Akka, SSP, Play2 (via Scala plugin), React, React Native, Angular, AngularJS, Node.js, Vue.js (via a plugin), Apache Flex, Adobe AIR, Ruby on Rails (via a plugin), Django, Flask, Pyramid (via a plugin), Drupal, WordPress, Laravel (via a plugin), Symfony (via a plugin)
Build ToolsMaven, Gradle, Ant, sbt, Bloop, Fury (via Scala plugin)On top of community edition it supports additional build tool- npmWebpack Gulp, Grunt
Version controlGit, GitHub, Subversion, Mercurial, Team Foundation Server (via a plugin)On top of community edition it includes additional version control –  Perforce 
DeploymentDocker, Docker Compose (via a plugin)On top of community edition it supports deployment on- Tomcat, TomEE, GlassFish, Resin, Jetty, Virgo, JBoss, WildFly, WebLogic, WebSphere, Liberty, Kubernetes (via a plugin)
Customer SupportIssue Tracker and Community ForumsIssue Tracker and Community Forums. It also provides 24*7 customer support
Difference between IntelliJ IDEA Community Edition and IntelliJ IDEA Ultimate

Android Studio

Android Studio is the official Integrated Development Environment (IDE) to develop Android applications. It is built on the IntelliJ IDEA Integrated Development Environment. Google recently launched it for the Android Operating system. It is basically designed for Android app development but It also has the capability of running and editing the Java codes.

Android Studio
Android Studio

Android Studio can be used on Windows, macOS and Linux based operating has Gradle-based build system, emulator, code templates, and Github integration 

Android Studio provided a lot of development tools for app development and launched as an alternative to Eclipse Android Development Tools (ADT) which is a primary IDE for native Android application development.

Features for Android Studio are:

  • Capability for expanded template support for Google Services and various device types and a rich layout editor with support for theme editing.
  • Lint tools to catch performance, usability, version compatibility, and other problems.
  • ProGuard and app-signing capabilities.
  • Built-in support for Google Cloud Platform.
  • Allows to see any visual changed of your app in real-time

Android Studio software was announced at Google conference in May 2013, and its first stable build was released in December 2014. Its current stable release is 3.6 

In Android Studio, you can configure projects to use specific Java Development Kits.

Android Studio license is free to download under the Apache License 2.0 and is available for download on Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux.

You can download Android Studio and can install it easily on your system as per the android studio wizard guideline.

Android Studio download URL is

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