Android IDE: Eclipse or IntelliJIDEA?

This post I would like to dedicate to Android IDEs. Why? First of all, it’s really important to have a convenient programming environment in order to make apps effectively. Secondly, you would be more happy to work in IDE that just looks nice and works without delays.

I’d start from the hardware. My computer at work has 4GB of RAM, Intel Core i5 with 3.3GHz processor and Windows 7 installed on it. At home I have almost the same configuration except that I have Windows 8 Release Preview as my OS.

One might think those configurations are OK for software development. Oh, I wish this was true… After using Eclipse for about 1.5 year I know what a nightmare it can be to write apps on those computers.

As you probably know, Eclipse Juno was released this summer. I was expecting it with quite an interest. The design and code editor improvements were really promising. So, one day I downloaded Eclipse Juno and attached the Android SDK to it. The first impression wasn’t that bad. It worked fast and I really liked the new features. But! With every start it was getting worse and worse. Until, it was really impossible to work! How do you like this? XML layout switching can last about 5 seconds, Delete key doesn’t work at times to times; when I have a few XML layouts opened and I edit a first one, changes are applied to the second one! And this is not even the full list! My colleagues switched their Eclipse versions to Indigo as they couldn’t bear programming in Juno! How this could happen?! And this is the IDE Google recommends for Android programming…
Well, yesterday I have installed IntelliJ IDEA 11.1.3. Now you know why 😉

The creation of Android project went really smoothly. A lot of things are intuitive and easier to find than in Eclipse. The Settings are in File and all Android tools are in Tools -> Android.
In Android project options there is a really useful one – Force regenerate R.java file. If only layout clean is needed this option can be helpful. Another nice thing is the layout preview. As you make changes in XML layout, you automatically can see them in the Preview window. And it works quite fast which is impressive for me!

There are a few things I miss from Eclipse though.

  1. The UI elements which I can drag and place in XML layout(especially the pre-defined ones like Large Progress Bar)
  2. Easy way for adding the Support Library by choosing the correct project option and a few other things I can’t remember now 😉

But, everything else is better in IntelliJ! It is:

  1. A few times faster than Eclipse
  2. More intuitive
  3. Well adjusted for Android development
  4. It is very easy to see what was changed in project files though Local history option
  5. A quick access to all Android features

From now on, I will recommend IntelliJ IDE for Android development.

P.S. For Mac users, this link might be useful – http://stuffandtech.blogspot.com/2011/10/android-development-eclipse-vs-intellij.html.

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Tonia Tkachuk

I'm an Android Developer, writing code for living and for fun. Love beautiful apps with a clean code inside. Enjoy travelling and reading.