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Deirdre O'Brien Saturday, June 4, 2022

Codiga’s Ultimate Guide to Jetbrains IntelliJ IDEA

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Deirdre O'Brien, SEO & Marketing

Deirdre is an experienced marketer and SEO expert who is passionate about creating content for everyone except herself! She previously worked as Head of Content & Publishers for a Marketing Tech Startup where she led paid and organic content strategy for a large portfolio of DTC brands.

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There’s a lot to learn when you’re just starting out in your coding career; between mastering various languages and finding the right tools to help boost your productivity, there is a lot to consider. First things first; finding the right Integrated development environments(IDEs) should be where you focus your attention.

Once you choose the right IDE, customizing it and finding tools that can help make it more efficient and better suited to your needs can be a game-changer for your workflow, but we’ll get to that in a minute. In this article, we’ll be walking you through one of the most commonly used IDEs, Jetbrains IntelliJ IDEA, and outlining how Codiga’s Coding Assistant tool can help you get the most out of this IDE to maximize your productivity.

Why Choose Jetbrains?

While all IDEs have essentially the same purpose, each contain their own set of tools and specific shortcuts that you should consider before making your choice. IntelliJ is one of the most useful and popular Integrated Development Environments for Java. Developed by Jetbrains, this IDE is packed full of useful features that support fast code development and help to monitor and improve the quality of your code.

IntelliJ offers a seamless experience and can help you with a lot of your repetitive tasks; debugging, auto code completion, static code analysis, and refactorings, to name a few. While IntelliJ was mainly designed to be used for Java, it also supports many other programming languages like Kotlin, SQL, JavaScript, TypeScript, depending on which product offering you go with.

IntelliJ Community VS Ultimate; Understanding the differences

The Jetbrains IntelliJ IDEA IDE has 2 offerings available for you to choose from; Community and Ultimate. Basically, IntelliJ Community is the free, open-source edition. While this is no doubt an excellent tool, you should note that the main drawback here is that it only supports a few programming languages like Java, HTML, Kotlin and does not support many other languages such as Javascript, CSS, PHP, and Go.

Additionally, the Community edition provides only three frameworks, Android, JavaFX, and Swing. You should also know that it offers limited deployment and build tools, compared to the Ultimate edition.

IntelliJ IDEA Ultimate is the licensed edition and unlike Community, it supports a higher number of programming languages like Java, HTML, Python, CSS and Go. It also contains additional frameworks such as Spring, React, Selenium.

While it is clear that the Ultimate version of IntelliJ offers a much more robust suite of offerings, it is a licensed IDE, meaning you need to pay for it. We recommend getting started with the free version as you learn the ropes and look for the right tools that can take it to the next level.

Getting started

Getting set up to use Jetbtain IntelliJ is actually very simple; this cross-platform IDE is available for Windows, macOS, and Linux. Installation is easy; in this article, we’ll run you through how to install on a macOS, and while installation on other system types is relatively the same, you can find more detailed interactions for Windows and Linux here.

Download Codiga for JetBrains

To get started on macOS

  1. Follow this link to get the IntelliJ software.
  2. Click on the Download option.
  3. Select the platform as Mac and select the edition which you want to download (Community or Advanced).
  4. Save the downloaded file
  5. Open the downloaded file. A message will populate up on the screen which says verifying and opening. After this screen pops up, drag the IntelliJ to the Applications folder and drop it
  6. Once it has been added to the applications folder, a notice will pop up letting you know that IntelliJ is being copied to applications
  7. Once the copying has been completed, click on the Applications folder on your screen and open IntelliJ. You should see a welcome screen

Once you have installed IntelliJ IDEA, know that The Jetbrains Marketplace is packed with hundreds of plugin extensions that can be added to support just about any language, as well as third party product plugins, like the Codiga Coding Assistant( we’ll walk you through this game-changing plugin a little later in the article). Let's first look at some of the awesome features available for you ro use on IntelliJ IDEA.

Notable Features

Jetbrains has a user-friendly interface, so making the most of its features, as well as integrating other tools to enhance this IDE even further, couldn't be easier.

  • Chain code completion: an advanced feature, designed to assist in auto code competition.
  • Static member’s completion: IntelliJ enables you to use static methods and constants that automatically adds needed statements to avoid errors.
  • Detecting duplicates: IDEA searches the duplicate code fragments on the go and gives suggestions to the user.
  • Inspections and quick-fixes: When IntelliJ detects a mistake, a notification bulb pops up on the same line. Clicking on it gives you suggestions that will avoid you from making a mistake.
  • Inline debugger: Inline debugger enables the user to debug the application in IDEA itself.
  • ou can read about more of IntelliJ’s features here.

Shortcuts

Shortcuts are a developer's best friend. Learning shortcuts is absolutely essential to being a highly productive coder. After you have installed IntelliJ for your program, you should turn your attention to mastering the shortcuts available to you.

The good news is that IntelliJ IDEA has keyboard shortcuts for most of its commands related to editing, navigation, refactoring, debugging, and more. Mastering some or all of these commands can help you get into a good workflow and speed up your coding time.

We’ll walk you through some of the basic commands in a moment, but if you’re more of a visual learner, be sure to check out Jetbrains awesome Youtube Video showcasing the top 15 commands.

The most basic and useful command on IntelliJ is by far the Alt + Enter function. This keyboard shortcut can be used to fix just about anything by showing you actions for the current context.

If you notice an error in your code, place the cursor on the error and press Alt+Enter to display a list of suggested fixes for the problem.Alt+Enter can also be used on code that doesn’t have an error, warning or suggestion, rather it will show you Intention Actions and Inspections.

When navigating between errors and warnings within the editor, you don’t need to use your mouse. Use the F2 shortcut to quickly jump to the next error, warning or suggestion. Combine this with either Alt+Enter, to see all suggestions and pick one, or Shift+Alt+Enter to apply the first suggestion.

Pressing the escape key can put you back in the editor so you can carry on working with the code. In fact, escape is useful for closing any popup without applying changes.

There’s a ton more shortcuts to learn, so be sure to check out Jetbrains useful blog that walks you through each of them.

Codiga Coding Assistant & Jetbrains IntelliJ IDEA

Once you have gotten your feet wet on Jetbrains IntelliJ IDE, finding the right plugin tools to help you in your journey to mastering coding is essential. Codiga was designed to help developers significantly reduce their working time, and our platform houses a number of innovative features that can be integrated directly in your IntelliJ IDE using our Codiga Code Snippets Jetbrains plugin.

If there’s one lesson you should learn as a junior developer, it's that you should never, without exception, spend your time doing work that has already been done by another. That’s where code snippets come in. In case you don’t already know, using snippets of code to help frame a project is a common best practice in engineering, and many software developers spend countless hours of their time searching online for the right code snippet to frame their work. Code snippets are reusable patterns of code( think of them like building blocks or lego!) that can be adapted to form the foundation of a project.

Finding code snippets is a risky game, as you never know if the pattern of code you sourced online is the most updated version, or worse, laden with bugs. Codiga’s Smart Code Snippets feature within our Coding Assistant tool was specifically created to help developers find, use, and store code snippets directly in their working environment. When we created Codiga, we envisioned a network where developers can help each other out by sharing their own code snippets with one another. Smart Code Snippets are being constantly added by our users who are talented and trusted engineers and available for you to use whenever you need.

We’ll get into the specifics of Smart Code Snippets in a moment, but first let's walk through installing the Jetbrains plugin for Coding Assistant so you can start to reap the many benefits of Smart Code Snippets. Once you install the Jetbrains plugin, you don’t need to navigate around multiple IDEs to find what you are looking for; all of the features of Smart Code Snippets are available directly in your IDE!

Coding Assistant has many Smart Code Snippets that are ready to use and available to search on the Codiga Hub. Within Hub, you can search for a Smart Code Snippet by defining search metrics by name or language, or tags associated with the code you are looking for. Then, you can favor the code snippet, which means it will automatically populate in IntelliJ IDEA when triggered by name or some keywords associated with the code.

Outside of giving you access to a growing suite of Smart Code Snippets, Coding Assistant also acts as your own personal Code Snippet Manager, where you can add, store and share your own code snippets publicly, privately or with a specified team.

Adding your own Smart Code Snippets can be done directly in IntelliJ IDEA!

  1. Highlight the code you want to share
  2. Right click
  3. Select “create Codga Code Snippet” and you’ll be asked to add a name, language, a brief description, and most importantly, the keywords that will trigger a recipe to be populate
  4. Then, you can select “share publicly, privately or with a team” and once saved, your code snippet will be available instantly to you, or anyone on the platform if you choose to share publicly. Note, we want Coding Assistant to be a give and take environment, so we encourage public sharing of Smart Code Snippets when possible.

Wrapping Up

IntelliJ IDEA is a robust and easy-to-navigate IDE that can help you master coding and cut down on repetitive tasks. But if you want to take it to the next level, consider installing Codiga’s Smart Code Snippets so you can make your working life a whole lot easier. The right tool can make a huge difference in your work output, and we’re confident you will love all of the features of Coding Assistant and Smart Code Snippets! You can gain access to Smart Code Snippets for free, and If you have any questions about how to install, or any of their functionalities, our team is always available on Discord and happy to assist you!

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