Why I moved to IntelliJ Idea (IntelliJ vs Eclipse)

IntelliJ Idea Vs Eclipse (Easy transition from Eclipse to IntelliJ)
June 04′ 2015

After using Eclipse for almost 10 years, I recently moved to IntelliJ and can surely say I am a happy user.  Not only Eclipse to IntelliJ, any IDE switch brings some usability issues in beginning and productivity goes down but once you are used to it, things are back to normal and even better. This article describes some of the cool features and tips for easy and quick transition from Eclipse to IntelliJ.

Getting started with IntelliJ

The first and foremost difference between IntelliJ and Eclipse is naming convention of project structure. In Eclipse, outermost layer is workspace where you create projects whereas in IntelliJ, outermost layer is Project where you create modules. It goes like this-

Eclipse –> IntelliJ

Workspace –> Project

Project –> Module


Noticeable features in IntelliJ


1. Search – IntelliJ indexes all the source code and resource files which makes reference or text search much faster than eclipse. You can install Lucene plugin in Eclipse to index all the code base to make search better but Intellij’s inbuilt search for both text and reference is quite fast.

2. References – Searching references for any class finds out the references in spring context files and property files too. This is the feature I had been missing in Eclipse and not sure if there is a plug-in in eclipse that could achieve this. In a typical spring project having context files and java source code, developers often need to search for the references of java files. In eclipse, you can do ctrl+shift+G (default shortcut) in Eclipse whereas Alt+F7 in IntelliJ but eclipse doesn’t find references in spring files.

3. Refactoring – In a typical Java application, there are data transfer objects which are immutable and their parameters are set in constructor. Everytime developer has to add a new paramter, he typically needs to perform multiple steps like add parameter in class, add constructor parameter and set it, add javadocs etc. In IntelliJ, this kind of refactoring can be done quickly and IntelliJ takes care of adding constructor parameter, javadocs etc.


Keyboard shortcuts


Below are the list of shortcuts I find really helpful in IntelliJ and their couterpart in Eclipse. If you are transitioning from Eclipse, you can change the shortcuts to be Eclipse like using below option but I myself doesn’t like that options and in some time got used to the IntelliJ default keyboard shortcuts.




Search References Alt+F7 Ctrl+Alt+G
Refactor Code Ctrl+Shift+R Shft+F6
Move down to next occurence Alt+J Ctrl+K
Move up to next occurence Shift+Alt+J Shift+Ctrl+K


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