Peek behind the curtain

An early look into ‘Cassiopeia’, aka IntelliJ IDEA 14

Eclipse alternative IntelliJ IDEA celebrates its 14th birthday this year - and, appropriately enough, it’s marking the occasion with the release of IDEA 14. This release won’t be out until later in the year, but as of today, you can get a taste of what’s in store for the future of the open source Java IDE via JetBrains’ Early Access Program (EAP).

Codenamed Cassiopeia, IntelliJ IDEA 14 has undergone some major renovations. For starters, the Java Debugger feature has been completely rewritten using the new API, with a unified Debugger tool window for all languages. The Watches tab now persists expressions, and retains the memory even after its been closed. Going forward, user groups can arrange Breakpoints, and concealed  elements of long arrays and collections can be displayed on demand, without any need to tinker with settings.

A Backspace smart indent addition to the Java editor is another useful addition, and helps ensure that you don’t break your code when removing indents before caret by making the Backspace key aware of your code formatting settings. You can also now generate tests for methods and stick them on to an existing test class.

On the JavaFX side, SceneBuilder 2.0 is now available as UI designer so you don’t need to leave IntelliJ IDEA to work with .fxml files ( this requires IntelliJ IDEA to run on Java 8.). Community Edition users can also now benefit from access to the Code Coverage tool, Structural Search and Replace, and Type Migration refactoring.  

More general changes to the IDE include a new Code cleanup action, which can apply quick-fixes in batch mode to selected files. It’s now possible to copy/paste selected code as HTML/RTF without additional plugins, and there’s been some tuning to make the IDE leap into life a little quicker.

Click here to see a full list of noteworthy changes, and start your EAP download going for all editions of IntelliJ IDEA 14.

Lucy Carey

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