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06 December 2012, 12:19

IntelliJ IDEA 12 gets new interface, compiler mode and Android Designer

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JetBrains, maker of development environments and productivity tools, has published version 12 of its Java IDE IntelliJ IDEA. The new version is a major update to the IDE and includes a number of innovations; most obviously, in terms of performance at least, is a new compiler mode that completely revises the way compilation is done. Compilation tasks are now performed in separate processes, independent of the IDE to avoid resource contentions, the dependency management is more accurate, and compilation is automatically triggered by filesystem events. The changes should give faster rebuilds, while also lowering the IDE's memory requirements.

IntelliJ's Darcula
Zoom IntelliJ's Darcula theme brings a less distracting look to the IDE UI
Source: IntelliJ
Developers can now make use of the new version of the IDE to work with the JDK8 features that have already been defined and implemented; this will allow them to test preview versions of the upcoming Java Development Kit and try out the new features such as lambda expressions and method references. The UI designer for Android applications, introduced to the community edition earlier in the year, has now been introduced into the main release of IntelliJ and offers the ability to create and layout canvas or component tree views, edit properties, and switch between multiple device profiles. The update also includes new refactorings and better code layout for Android XML layouts.

The look of IntelliJ IDEA 12 is darker thanks to a new dark grey theme by the name of Darcula; dark look-and-feels are said to be less diverting and allow users to focus on the code rather than the surrounding IDE.

Zoom The Android UI Designer offers direct manipulation of layouts and properties
Source: IntelliJ
Other changes in the "ultimate" edition of IntelliJ IDEA 12 include a big update of the Spring development tools with more code assistance for various frameworks, support for Play 2.0, Dart and TypeScript, and improved JavaScript testing. There are also enhancements to the database tools, adding the ability to add, drop or rename tables, columns, keys and indices, along with a new definition editor and diff tool. Live editing for HTML, CSS and JavaScript with immediate previews, Cloud Tools that let developers deploy, run and monitor apps on Cloud Foundry, improved Perforce and TFS 2012 support, updated support for a number of application servers, a byte code viewer to analyse generated code, and complete support for Hibernate 4.0 are among the other "ultimate" enhancements.

In the community version (and in the ultimate edition), there is now smarter code completion, improved Scala support, enhanced JavaDocs formatting, static type-checking for Groovy, improvements for Maven, GIT, Mercurial and Subversion support, and a better UI for diff and merge tools.

The Community edition is open source software under an Apache 2.0 licence. The "Ultimate" edition is commercial, and costs £517+VAT for a commercial licence with a one-year subscription, £147+VAT for a personal licence, and £73+VAT for an academic licence. Both are available to download for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux.


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