The 13 Best IDEs for Java Users to Have In Their Toolkit

When it comes to Java development, choosing the right Integrated Development Environment (IDE) is crucial for productivity.

Popular choices like EclipseIntelliJ IDEA, and NetBeans offer powerful tools for Java application development, including code completiondebugging utilities, and source code editors.

In this article, we’ll explore the features and benefits of these Java IDEs to help you find the best fit for your software engineering needs.

Top 13 Java IDEs

IDE NamePlatform CompatibilityMain FocusLicense TypeKey Feature
EclipseWindows, macOS, LinuxExtensibilityOpen SourceRich Plugin Ecosystem
IntelliJ IDEAWindows, macOS, LinuxProductivity/IntelligenceFree and PaidIntelligent Code Assistance
NetBeansWindows, macOS, LinuxJava and Other LanguagesOpen SourceGUI Builder
MyEclipseWindows, macOS, LinuxEnterprise DevelopmentPaidWide-Ranging Server Support
JCreatorWindows OnlyEfficiency/SpeedFree and PaidFast Loading Times
BlueJWindows, macOS, LinuxEducationalOpen SourceEducational Focus
DrJavaWindows, macOS, LinuxEducational/SimplicityOpen SourceInteractive Console
JDeveloperWindows, macOS, LinuxOracle IntegrationFreeOracle ADF Support
CodenvyCloud-Based (Web)Collaboration/PortabilityFree and PaidCloud-Based Workspace
Greenfoot IDEWindows, macOS, LinuxEducational/GamingOpen SourceInteractive Game Creation
JSourceWindows, macOS, LinuxSimplicity/CustomizationOpen SourceOpen Source and Modifiable
XcodemacOS OnlyApple DevelopmentFreeApple Software Integration


Eclipse-IDE-Cross-Platform-1-1024x638 The 13 Best IDEs for Java Users to Have In Their Toolkit

Eclipse is kind of like an old friend who never lets you down. It’s powerhouse stuffed with features that just screams flexibility. Think of it as a Lego set for Java developers, where you can snap in a gaggle of plugins, expanding its capabilities to your heart’s content.

Best Features:

  • Rich selection of plugins
  • Strong community support
  • Available for multiple platforms

What we like about it: The plugin ecosystem is by far what makes Eclipse a crowd favorite. It’s like having a Swiss army knife for coding—you’ve got a tool for every job imaginable.

IntelliJ Idea

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IntelliJ IDEA is that smart cookie in class who just gets it. This IDE, crafted by JetBrains, is all about boosting productivity with deep insight into your code. That feeling when an idea snaps into place? That’s IntelliJ IDEA with every operation.

Best Features:

  • Intelligent code assistance
  • Ergonomic design
  • Seamless version control integrations

What we like about it: Its intelligent code completion takes the prize. You’ll feel like there’s a mind reader on your team nudging you along. It’s the secret sauce to coding on steroids.


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Talk about ease of use, and NetBeans strolls up, waving. It’s a free, open-source IDE that’s got your back when you’re working with Java, and not just Java—C, C++, HTML5, and PHP are also in its wheelhouse.

Best Features:

  • Cross-platform support
  • Rich set of tools for a variety of languages
  • Intuitive drag-and-drop interface

What we like about it: Its rad GUI builder is a standout. Crafting a snazzy-looking interface becomes a piece of cake with NetBeans holding the whisk.


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MyEclipse is like that boutique coffee shop that knows just how you like your Java—rich, and with no bitter aftertaste. It’s a commercially available IDE that integrates the best of both worlds from Eclipse and adds super-charged features for enterprise development.

Best Features:

  • Integration of both Eclipse and proprietary features
  • Advanced database management tools
  • Robust support for web technologies

What we like about it: The wide-ranging server support is a gem, making it a breeze to deploy applications across different servers. It’s basically your passport to the land of ‘Develop Anywhere’.


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JCreator says ‘keep it simple but powerful’. It’s a lightweight IDE that’s zippy and gives you that bare-metal control over your Java code. It leverages the Microsoft Foundation Classes which means, yep, it’s a Windows-exclusive affair.

Best Features:

  • Fast loading times
  • Customizable user interface
  • Project management wizard

What we like about it: Speed is the name of the game here. This nimble tool means you spend more time coding and less time staring at a loading screen. It’s all about coding in the fast lane.


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Imagine an IDE holding your hand while you take your baby steps in Java—welcome to BlueJ. It’s a nifty educational tool designed precisely for teaching and learning OOP (Object-oriented programming). Plus, it’s cross-platform which means it plays nice with everyone.

Best Features:

  • Interactive interface with visual representation
  • Simple and easy for beginners
  • Designed for educational purposes

What we like about it: The simplicity and educational focus steal the show, making Java less daunting to newcomers. BlueJ makes the complex world of objects and classes seem like a friendly neighborhood to explore.


DrJavaInteractions The 13 Best IDEs for Java Users to Have In Their Toolkit

Here comes DrJava with a minimalistic vibe, yet enough punch to keep intermediate developers interested. It’s tailored for students and keeps things straightforward with an interactive console and a simple interface that doesn’t bog down your system.

Best Features:

  • Lightweight and compact
  • Interactive console for immediate feedback
  • Suitable for beginners and intermediate users

What we like about it: The interactive console feels like having a chat with your code—type, run, see results, and repeat. It’s instant gratification for learning and debugging.


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Oracle’s JDeveloper is a bit like a Swiss army command center. It’s not just an IDE; it’s a full-service development suite. If Java’s your playfield, JDeveloper pulls you into Oracle’s ecosystem with ADF (Application Development Framework) and deep integrations with other Oracle products.

Best Features:

  • End-to-end development tools
  • Visual editors for faster development
  • Tightly integrated with Oracle’s application server

What we like about it: For those rocking the Oracle stack, it’s a dream fit. The level of integration with Oracle technologies can make you feel like a wizard controlling the strings of enterprise applications.


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Welcome to the cloud, Codenvy’s home turf. This browser-based IDE lets you code from anywhere, with beefy servers humming in the background. Work with teammates, or fly solo—it’s GitHub-friendly and built for the modern, flexible coder.

Best Features:

  • Cloud-based and accessible anywhere
  • Smooth collaboration features
  • Docker environments for each project

What we like about it: It’s the portability for us. The flexibility to jump into coding sessions from any machine, anywhere, no setup required, is huge. Codenvy is like your workspace in the cloud, ready when you are.

Greenfoot IDE

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Twist opens the doors to game design and say hello to Greenfoot. This educational IDE is all about interactive Java development, especially in the context of graphics and gaming. Students get to code up characters and make them interact—an impressive, interactive learning tool.

Best Features:

  • Interactive and visual design
  • Engaging way to learn Java
  • Focused on building simulations and games

What we like about it: It gamifies learning—instead of yawning through dry tutorials, Greenfoot spices up coding lessons with the excitement of making your own games. Now that’s a class everyone wants to attend.


screen The 13 Best IDEs for Java Users to Have In Their Toolkit

JSource buzzes in as an open-source option—a little rough around the edges but brimming with potential for those who want to tinker. It’s Java IDE meets text editor, stripped down for those times when you just need to dive in and code.

Best Features:

  • Simple, clear-cut interface
  • Open-source and modifiable
  • Lightweight and minimalistic

What we like about it: Its uncluttered approach appeals to those wanting a clean slate for writing Java. The freedom and simplicity mean your imagination is the only real limit to how JSource works for you.


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Okay, Xcode’s not your typical Java haunt—it’s Apple’s treasure chest for macOS and iOS apps. But with a few workarounds, Java developers can make it a nice spot for cross-platform projects, dipping into Apple’s slick environment.

Best Features:

  • Polished user interface
  • Strong integration with Apple’s software stack
  • Excellent for designing Apple apps

What we like about it: It’s the golden ticket for Apple’s world. Crafting apps with that Cupertino polish becomes second nature with Xcode, making it a favorite for anyone eyeing the App Store.

FAQ On IDEs For Java

What are the best IDEs for Java?

The top IDEs for Java include EclipseIntelliJ IDEA, and NetBeans. These development environments come with features like code completionbuild automation, and powerful debugging tools, which make them indispensable for Java programmers.

Each offers unique plugins and integration options to enhance developer productivity.

Why should I use an IDE for Java development?

IDEs for Java provide a cohesive environment with essential tools for Java development like source code editorsdebugging utilities, and build automation.

They simplify the process of coding, testing, and maintaining applications, making it easier to manage complex projects and improving overall software engineering workflows.

Is Eclipse a good choice for Java programming?

Yes, Eclipse IDE is highly regarded in the Java community. It’s an open-source tool with extensive plugin support that caters to various needs in Java application development.

Eclipse supports cross-platform compatibility and offers robust features for code refactoring, making it a preferred choice for many developers.

How does IntelliJ IDEA enhance Java development?

IntelliJ IDEA, developed by JetBrains, excels with its intelligent code completion, advanced debugging tools, and integrated version control.

It offers extensive plugin support and built-in tools for test automation and project management. Its intuitive user interface significantly boosts developer productivity.

What makes NetBeans unique among Java IDEs?

NetBeans IDE stands out with its comprehensive support for Java development frameworks and its modular architecture.

It provides a powerful project management system and rich features like source code analysis and API integration, making it an excellent choice for both beginners and seasoned developers.

Can I use multiple IDEs for a single Java project?

While it’s possible, it’s not recommended to mix IDEs for Java for a single project due to compatibility issues and configuration complexities.

Each IDE has its project structure and settings, which might lead to inconsistencies. Choosing one robust IDE like IntelliJ IDEAEclipse, or NetBeans is usually more efficient.

Are there free Java IDEs available?

Yes, Eclipse and NetBeans are completely free and open-source toolsIntelliJ IDEA offers a Community Edition which is free, although its Ultimate Edition providing extra features is paid.

These free versions are highly functional, providing essential tools for Java source code editingdebugging, and more.

What should I look for in an IDE for Java?

When choosing an IDE for Java, look for essential features like code completiondebugging tools, and build automation.

Consider the customization options, available plugins, and support for different frameworks. An intuitive user interface and good community support also enhance the overall development experience.

How do Java IDEs help with debugging?

Java IDEs come equipped with powerful debugging tools that allow step-by-step code execution, breakpoints, and variable inspection.

Tools like IntelliJ IDEA and Eclipse provide advanced debugging utilities that can trace complex issues, monitor thread performance, and analyze memory usage, making the debugging process much more efficient.

Are cloud-based IDEs suitable for Java development?

Cloud-based IDEs like AWS Cloud9 and offer flexibility and remote collaboration features, making them convenient for Java development.

They provide many standard tools found in traditional IDEs like source code editorsversion control, and build automation. However, performance might vary based on internet connectivity.


Outlined are the prime IDEs for Java — from Eclipse to IntelliJ IDEA and NetBeans. These integrated development environments offer robust debugging toolscode completion, and efficient build automation, streamlining Java application development.

Choosing the right Java development environment can significantly boost developer productivity and enhance your software engineering workflows. Dive into your preferred IDE, tailor your source code editors and project management tools, and elevate your Java programming experience.

If you enjoyed reading this article on the best IDE for Java, you should check out this one about the best IDE for web development or this one with open-source mobile app development software.

We also wrote about a few related subjects like the best IDE for Flutter, C++, Javascript, and for Mac.

And we managed to create comparative articles like Sublime vs Notepad++, Sublime vs PyCharm, and VScode vs Sublime.

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