The best IntelliJ IDEA productivity plugins for Java developers
Lots of us use and love IntelliJ IDEA. But even this great IDE can benefit from some plugins to help boost our development productivity. Here’s a list of our favorite IntelliJ productivity extensions!
IntelliJ & Java
IntelliJ IDEA is one of the most popular IDEs, with almost 30% of all professional developers using it. Among Java developers, it reigns supreme: 72% of Java developers claim to use it. IntelliJ IDEA is so popular for good reason: it offers a variety of tools to promote development productivity, and comes packaged with plugins for Maven, Gradle, Lombok, Docker, and more.
A range of other plugins or extensions is available for IntelliJ IDEA, whether developed by JetBrains or third-party teams, to further enhance your coding efficiency. We’ve collected the extensions we think are best if you’re looking to boost your productivity.
IntelliJ plugins to boost Java development productivity
If you often find yourself having to interact with large volumes of text, formatting that text can be a productivity drainer. Enter plugins like String Manipulation, which provides string handling capabilities including filtering, sorting, capitalization, changing the coding style (e.g. switching to camelCase for instance) or encoding (e.g.to HEX, but also converting non-ASCII chars to Unicode), and so on. It also lets you make mass edits by enabling changes to all lines of the string in a single operation.
Mouse-free development with the adept use of keyboard shortcuts is the ultimate productivity-boosting tool – once it becomes second nature. But getting there can be a long and bumpy road of learning and getting into the habit of using hotkeys. The Key Promoter X plugin helps you learn hotkeys by showing you the shortcuts you could have used every time you click on an element within the IDE. It also gives you a top list of mouse actions and corresponding keyboard shortcuts that you use most often.
Maven is still the leading build system used by over 76% of Java developers. It’s great for maintaining the structure of your projects, managing dependencies, and it also supports the build process – but conflicting dependencies can cause issues that can lead to overhead. That’s why we love Maven Helper: it provides support in analyzing and resolving conflicting dependencies, and also offers a tree view on those dependencies for a clean visualization of conflicts.
Since testing is consuming much of your coding time, we have to add our own plugin to the list. With Symflower, you can save valuable time when creating tests by auto-generating smart unit test templates for Java and Go applications. Our smart templates contain all the boilerplate code for your tests, so all you need to do is fill in the right values and you’re good to go. Using our smart test templates, you can shave off a few seconds to multiple minutes every time you write unit tests – if you’re thoroughly testing your code, you know that all that time for boilerplate adds up. Using Symflower helps you ship high-quality code faster, without having to go through the routine task of writing boilerplate code over and over again.Here’s how you’ll access the plugin in the IntelliJ Marketplace.
Repeating the build loop every time you make a small change is a major time consumer. JRebel is a plugin that reloads your code instantly. By skipping the rebuild, restart, and redeploy cycle, using JRebel can improve your focus by enabling you to stay in the flow. XRebel, on the other hand, is a code analysis tool that gives you performance insights that you can use to improve your code. It helps identify, resolve, and validate performance issues, and filters out irrelevant data so that you can stay focused on the problem. XRebel helps boost the performance of both your code and your coding process at the same time.
A staple in many developers' tool sets, Rainbow Brackets is a simple plugin that highlights nested brackets and parentheses with different colors. With many nested statements in Java, you may end up spending seconds matching opening and closing brackets. Rainbow Brackets does away with that problem by color-coding brackets, making it easy to see at a glance where parenthesized statements end. Use it to greatly improve visibility in your code and to simplify debugging syntax.
Improve, measure, iterate – that’s how you achieve continuous improvement, and that general pattern also applies to programming. WakaTime helps you implement that principle by providing metrics, insights, and time tracking for your coding activity. Think of WakaTime as a fitness tracking watch for coding. Just install it and it will automatically monitor your programming pace and offer visualized metrics that help enhance your productivity. Pro tip: it can also be used to boost coding productivity for teams!
Using IDE plugins lets you customize your development environment to streamline your workflows and can bring about a major improvement in your coding productivity. The plugins introduced above are just a few of our favorite extensions that could prove to be useful for you and your team. Feel free to try them out, let us know about your experiences, and be sure to send us your favorite plugins so that we can extend this post!
We’re especially interested in what you think about our own plugin, Symflower, for automatically creating unit test templates. Do feel free to try the plugin and send us your feedback!