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Nisa Champagne
Nisa Champagne

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IntelliJ vs Eclipse vs VSCode

When I started out learning Java at Lambda, we could have used VSCode or used our student pack for a free year of IntelliJ IDEA. I gave VSCode all of one day to get it set up for Java usage but Lambdas curriculum showed examples using IntelliJ. My choice was obvious at the time as I really didn't want to be stuck behind. IntelliJ impressed me far more than I thought it would haha!

Fast forward to May of this year with the new job and here I have become comfortable with Eclipse. I have been back and forth using Eclipse and finally setting up VSCode for Java development. I like to change it up occasionally at work and get experience.


What a long round-a-bout to get to the point of this post! Now that I have experience using all three code editors for Java development, I think I can give my opinion on learning curves and etc like that!

keep in mind this is a very small list from my point of view*


  • runs on anything that supports JVM
  • very basic hardware demands
  • immense ecosystem of plugins
  • bigger learning curve
  • commonly used IDE
  • more frequent software updates
  • free


  • beginner friendly
  • code completion
  • smaller learning curve
  • preferred IDE by new and experienced Java devs
  • two editions depending on your needs
  • version control to manage branches, browse changes, and merge conflicts
  • indexes the entire project when you start up (speeds up search process )


  • good for working on single file or smaller things
  • many extensions to turn it into a full fledged IDE
  • not as preferred as IntelliJ
  • debugger not as good as IntelliJ
  • no extensions installed upon use
  • live share functionality
  • built on top of an Electron platform where as IntelliJ is running on an older JVM
  • ease of multiple windows when coding

Obviously there are many more points to touch on with each code editor but probably would take a bit more than a post to get to every point...

All in all, my personal preference will always be IntelliJ. I encourage devs (especially newer devs) to give each a go to see what suits their needs.

Top comments (6)

pavel_polivka profile image
Pavel Polívka • Edited

I prefer IntelliJ all the way. When I was starting I used Eclipse but when I first used IntelliJ it's hard to go back. The best feature is the ultra fast search in IntelliJ, if you have huge code base it completely changes how you work with it.

You probably have a typo in the vs code section "debugger not as good as vscode"

nisachampagne profile image
Nisa Champagne

I agree its pretty difficult to go back. Work was awesome enough to take care of the cost for the ultimate edition so I could move away from Eclipse.

Oh my lol! Probably why I shouldn't type these up before 8am ... Thanks for the heads up!

jmzgit profile image

Thanks...after reading your share I went straight to IntelliJ, Im keeping Atom for web dev and jupyter notebook appImage for so...tnx

khmarbaise profile image
Karl Heinz Marbaise

You have listed several points off interest but listing different things to compare them? May be I misunderstand the post here..

You have listed Eclipse to run on anything that supports JVM yes of course cause it's Java based exactly like IntelliJ does?...

For Eclipse you have listed a large plugin ecosystem? For IntelliJ most things are already contained in IntelliJ out of the well existing a large number of plugins. A simple example is to switch from Java Code to the according test class. In Eclipse you need a plugin in IntellIJ it works without a plugin out of the box.

You have mentioned having Eclipse more frequent software updates? Hm...
If I take a look within the laster 3 years which I'm using IDEA IntelliJ I see more or less every 4 weeks an update in IDEA IntelliJ or even less.

Furthermore IDEA IntelliJ has a far superior refactoring support then Eclipse apart from that there a lot of small nitfy details which are a lot better in IntelliJ then in Eclipse (I've worked 12 years with Eclipse). Things like structural search/replacement does simply not exist in Eclipse. A much better support for Java8 lambdas etc. debugging of Lambdas etc.
And yes there are two different editions of IntelliJ. The community and the ultimate (which cost money)... but if you are working on the Job with IDEA each cent of the money is worth...
Things like support for Asciidoctor in Intellij simply works Eclipse to be honest it was not really usable (tried it several times)...

mksbtech profile image
Milan Sonkar

Eclipse all the way for Java.Unless you are employed by big corporate there is no point of spending $499 on an IDE just for few nitty features

moaxcp profile image
John Mercier

I currently use Intellij but I used NetBeans for years. NetBeans is really nice. I really like the mouse support for managing windows/tiles.