Lambdas here we come

IntelliJ IDEA 12 shows its darker side and introduces Java 8 support

Chris Mayer

The latest version of JetBrains’ popular IDE gets a moodier ‘Darcula’ interface, support for Play 2.0 and an Android UI designer.

Almost a year to the day since the last version arrived, JetBrains have unleashed their annual update to their highly successful IDE, IntelliJ IDEA 12.

The Czech-based company renowned for its developer productivity tools haven’t skimped on additions to the Java IDE, bring a raft of new features in this major update.

The extensive highlight reel’s biggest addition is the long-awaited arrival of full JDK 8 support ahead of the entrance of Java 8 next year. This allows developers to utilise the newest syntax functions such as lambda expressions, method references and default methods within the IDE.

In the commercial ‘Ultimate’ version of the IDE, Spring Development Tools has been radically overhauled with performance enhancements and code assistance for the likes of Web Flow, Integration, MVC, Security and Batch. Developers using Ultimate are able to obtain the latest support for Scala/Java web framework Play 2.0, Google’s fledgling Dart language and Microsoft’s spin on JavaScript, TypeScript.

From an aesthetic side of things, developers will notice a darker look for the IDE in ‘Darcula’ – an optional dark grey theme said to help users focus on the code itself (whether or not you buy their claim, it’s at least a striking look). The Android UI Designer that debuted in the Community Version earlier in the year makes the step-up to the full version, which is a big bonus for Java developers keen to test out Android ideas in an familiar IDE.

No iframes? :-O

Away from features, the compiler mode has been renovated too, altering the approach to compiling significantly. All compilation tasks are now done separately and away from the main IDE’s process, lowering memory requirements and speeding up rebuilds substantially.

We’re only scratching the surface here, with editor enhancements and support for the likes of Scala, Groovy, Hibernate 4.0, Vaadin, Cucumber and Cloud Foundry, amongst others. Check out the entire What’s New list to find out more about the Apache 2.0 licensed Community edition and commercial Ultimate releases.

It’s another comprehensive update to the vastly popular IDE, with several of the community’s most-wanted features included – testament to a company that knows its audience very well.

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