Posted by Matt Rajkowski on October 19, 2009, 10:40 AM EDT
JetBrains recently released a preview version of IntelliJ as Open Source. The marketing page declares IntelliJ as "The Most Intelligent Java IDE — Now Free and Open Source."
I've been a paying customer of IntelliJ IDEA for several years, and with this news I thought, how great! I can continue to use the Enterprise edition on my main computer, and on my second computer use the Community edition for minor edits. You can't run two copies of IntelliJ Enterprise at the same time on the same network, so I have avoided using IntelliJ on two computers and use NetBeans instead.
The Community Edition looks very familiar to those using the Enterprise edition, with a few graphical color changes and some features removed. Most of the removed features are for hardcore refactoring, testing, and developing with integrated web servers... features a useful editor wouldn't need anyhow. The most surprising removed feature however, is that the "Most Intelligent Java IDE" doesn't know what a Java Server Pages (.jsp) file is. That's right, try to open a .jsp and the editor asks the user what to do with it. Is it a text file? an html file? well, no it's a .jsp! At a time when Eclipse, NetBeans, and even editors like JEdit have no problems identifying .jsp files, why would that feature be removed? I hope this feature gets added before the final Community Edition release. For a java web developer, or even to augment a primary IDE, the Community Edition just doesn't cut it.
With that said, I think the move by IntelliJ to Open Source part of the IDE is a great gesture. I'm all too familiar with open-sourcing an application and maintaining dual-licensed editions so the devotion to the Community Edition will certainly be scrutinized by users. The IDE is really top-notch and it will be interesting to see where it goes from here. Will it make sense to use the Community Edition? What do you think about it?