Java based IDE = Very bad IDEa


Have you ever used Eclipse or any Eclipse-based IDE, such as Zend Studio Neon or Aptana Studio?

All fine tools, but they have a big problem: Java

Note: this post is a bit old (late 2007), and IDEs have gotten better since then. For example, NetBeans 6.5 is a personal favorite of mine now. If you still want to read me bashing Java IDEs, feel free to continue reading!

Java is bad – why?

Java in itself is a fine programming language, but the problem comes from its nature as a language which requires a runtime.

If you’ve used any Eclipse-based IDE, you’ve probably noticed how it starts getting slower and slower when your project gets larger. With small projects the slowness is not even always noticeable.

Take Visual Studio 2005, my all time favorite IDE, as a comparison: It’s blazing fast no matter how large your project gets. Code-assist is instant etc.

Compare VS to Eclipse and you start noticing how everything takes longer: Starting the IDE, opening a project, opening a file, code-assist, even completing a word after hitting enter in assist is slower!

Want a non-Java PHP IDE? You’re out of luck

This is especially problematic in PHP IDE’s. Let’s name a few PHP IDEs:

  • Eclipse PDT: Java
  • Zend Studio: Java
  • Zend Studio Neon: Eclipse based

There actually is a Visual Studio plugin for PHP, but surprise surprise, it costs money to use after 30 days. Oh, not to mention that it isn’t as nearly as good as Zend Studio Neon is, even though Neon is still in beta.

What can we do?

So what options are there?

  • Wait until the IDE developers come to their senses and realize, that Java isn’t fit for heavy applications like IDE’s
  • Buy bigger, more powerful and faster PC’s with more RAM. Oh, by the way, I have 3 GB’s of it and that didn’t solve anything in this matter.
  • Suck it up, stop complaining and continue enduring slow applications

Option #3 isn’t a terribly bad choice. However when common tasks start getting slow, it can sum up to much more in total lost time. Not to mention that slow computers are known to cause stress!