Introduction to JetBrains IntelliJ IDEA Community Edition

In this post I will introduce to you the JetBrains IntelliJ IDEA, one the the most powerful IDE (Integrated Development Environment) for Java development or other languages that run on the JVM such as Groovy and Scala. IntelliJ IDEA comes in two editions, the IntelliJJ IDEA Ultimate Edition and the IntelliJ IDEA Community Edition.

The IntelliJ IDEA Community Edition is an open source version of Intelli JDEA. That’s mean you can use it for free. If you works with standard Java, Groovy, Scala or mobile development using Android then the Community Edition can be your choice. If you works with in web or Java EE development then the Ultimate Edition is the way to go.

Here are some features that you will get when using the IntelliJ IDEA Community Edition:

  • An Intelligent code editor that has all the smarts for understanding Java, XML and Groovy code.
  • Refactorings, code inspections and intentions, super-fast navigation and search
  • Testing frameworks integration: JUnit and TestNG
  • Build tools support: Ant and Maven
  • Popular version control systems integration: CVS, Subversion and Git
  • Swing UI designer

After a bit of introduction, let’s begin the installation.

Step 1. Getting the Installation Distribution

  • Download the installation package of the IntelliJ IDEA Community Edition.
  • Click Download IntelliJ IDEA Community Edition to go the the download page.
  • On the page you can see two editions, select the Community Edition. The current version available when this post was written is the version 12.1.4. You can also see that the download are available for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. For this post I will download the Windows version. The download size for the Windows installer is around 130MB.

Step 2. Install IntelliJ IDEA Community Edition

  • To begin, double click the installer you’ve download, for example ideaIC-12.1.4.exe.
  • You’ll be greeted with the following screen
intellij-idea-community-edition-setup-step-1

IntelliJ IDEA Setup Welcome Screen

  • Prest the Next button to continue.
  • You’ll be ask the installation location. On Windows it will be default to the C:\Program Files directory.
  • Press Next for a couple of times until the installation complete.
  • When you choose to run the IntelliJ IDEA for the first time you’ll get the following screen
Installation Complete Screen

Installation Complete Screen

  • Press OK button to start IntelliJ IDEA for the first time. You will be shown a splash screen right after you press the button and continued by the screen welcoming you to the IDE.
Welcome to IntelliJ IDEA

Welcome to IntelliJ IDEA

Step 3. Now you have the InteliJ IDEA Community Edition installed in your machine. Let’s create your first program using IDEA.

  • From the Welcome Screen above click the Create New Project menu.
  • New Project dialog window will be shown. In this dialog you can do:
Create a New Project Window Dialog

Create a New Project Window Dialog

  • Enter the Project Type, choose Java Module.
  • Define the Project Name. We’ll just name it HelloWorld.
  • Choose the Project Location directory.
  • Select the JDK version you’ll be using.
  • Press the Next button followed by the Finish button to continue.

Step 4. IntelliJ IDEA Main Window, creating HelloWorld.java

  • Here is the Main Window of IntelliJ IDEA.
IntelliJ IDEA Community Edition

IntelliJ IDEA Community Edition

  • The bigger screen shot of the project explorer panel.
Project Explorer Window

Project Explorer Window

  • Before we create a class let’s create a package.
  • Right click the src folder, continued by selecting the New and Package menu.
  • Enter the package name, for instance org.kodejava.introduction
  • To create a class right click on the newly created package, select New and Java Class menu.
  • In the Create New Class dialog enter HelloWorld in the Name text field and choose Class from the Kind drop down selection.
  • Type the following code in the editor.
package org.kodejava.introduction;

public class HelloWorld {
    private String name;

    public String getName() {
        return name;
    }

    public void setName(String name) {
        this.name = name;
    }

    public static void main(String[] args) {
        HelloWorld hello = new HelloWorld();

        String name = "world";
        hello.setName(name);
        hello.sayHello();
    }

    private void sayHello() {
        System.out.println("Hello " + getName() + "!");
    }
}
  • Press Shift + F10 or click the green Run button to execute your code.
  • And we are done!

Other things you can do next is to learn more about the menu and the keyboard shortcuts that you can use while working with the IDE. One good place is to look at the HelpTip of the Day menu. You might also want to read the following cheat sheet from the DZone Refcardz, IntelliJ IDEA Cheat Sheet.

That’s finishes our introduction to the IntelliJ IDEA Community Edition IDE. I hope you can continue your learning and this IDE will surely help you to understand Java better. Because it is not just a tool to write code, it will give you a lot of suggestion so that you can always improve your code quality.

What’s needed to be prepared for learning Java programming?

When you decided to start to learn Java Programming you can start by downloading the Java Development Kit (JDK) from Java Download website. There are three different types of JDK, the Java SE (Java Standard Edition), Java EE (Java Enterprise Edition), Java ME (Java Mobile Edition).

From the website you can also download the Java API documentations which will sure be your first companion when learning the language. It is better also to download the Java Tutorial Series that was written by the Java experts.

In the tutorial you can learn from the basic of Java programming, introduction of the fundamental of Object Oriented Programming (OOP) which is Java all about. Next you can also find trails in each subject of the API (Application Programming Interface) provided by Java library, such as the core package, how to communicate with database, Java GUI programming, image manipulation, RMI, Java Beans Framework, etc.

When you want to write a code you might wonder what editor or IDE you will need to use to start learning. A good text editor that support a coloring will be a good candidate, colorful screen is better that just black and white isn’t it?

There are a lot of good text editor available today such as the VIM, NotePad++, TextPad, Editplus, UltraEdit. If you already have your preferred editor you can use it of course.

If you’re ready for the big stuff, a bigger homework project, you might considering to use an IDE (Integrated Development Environment) as you’ll be working with lots of Java classes, configuration files and build script for examples. There are many great IDE on the Java world from the free to the commercial product.

What IDE to use is really a developer decision, use whatever tools that can help you to improve your learning and programming activities. You can find IDE such as NetBeans, Eclipse, JCreator, IntelliJ IDEA, JDeveloper, etc.

Beside learning from the Java tutorials there are also many forum on the internet where you can discuss your doubts or your problems. Forums like JavaRanch, Stack Overflow are great forums with Java gurus that can help you to clarify your doubts and help you to solve your problem. But remember one thing when you ask for help, be polite, elaborate your problem clearly.

A good Java books on your desktop is also a good resource to study Java, from a good books you can learn the bolts and nuts of the Java programming languages. When you have all your arsenal you can get the best out of you in learning Java. Have fun!