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Eclipse vs. IntelliJ: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on March 2, 2024
Eclipse is an open-source IDE primarily for Java, versatile for other languages; IntelliJ IDEA is a comprehensive IDE by JetBrains, known for its advanced features and user-friendly interface.

Key Differences

Eclipse and IntelliJ IDEA are both Integrated Development Environments (IDEs) used for software development, but they cater to different preferences and needs within the developer community. Eclipse is known for its broad ecosystem and extensibility, supported by a wide range of plugins for various programming languages and technologies. IntelliJ IDEA, on the other hand, is celebrated for its intelligent code assistance, user-friendly interface, and comprehensive out-of-the-box functionality, particularly for Java development.
Eclipse offers a flexible and configurable environment, making it suitable for developers who need a customizable setup. It's an open-source project, allowing for free use and contributions from its community. IntelliJ IDEA provides a more streamlined and intuitive experience, with features like smart code completion, refactoring, and version control integration, aimed at improving productivity. While there is a free Community version, the more feature-rich Ultimate version is paid.
In terms of performance, Eclipse is known for its modularity, which can lead to a lighter or heavier setup depending on the installed plugins. This can affect startup times and overall performance. IntelliJ IDEA is often praised for its efficient performance and responsive user interface, although it can be more resource-intensive, especially on larger projects.
The user interface and experience are distinguishing factors between Eclipse and IntelliJ IDEA. Eclipse's user interface is more traditional and may require customization to fit individual workflows. IntelliJ IDEA's interface is more modern and intuitive, with many developers finding it easier to navigate and use effectively, especially those new to IDEs.
Community support and resources are robust for both IDEs, with Eclipse having a long history and a wide range of community-contributed plugins. IntelliJ IDEA has a strong following as well, with extensive documentation, forums, and JetBrains' active development and support. Both IDEs are continuously evolving, with regular updates and new features being added to enhance their capabilities and support the latest programming trends.

Comparison Chart


Open-source, free to use.
Free Community edition, paid Ultimate edition.

Primary Language Focus

Java, with plugins for other languages.
Primarily Java, with support for other languages.

User Interface

Highly customizable, traditional.
Modern, user-friendly, less customization.


Modular, can vary based on plugins.
Generally efficient, can be resource-intensive.

Feature Set

Extensive via plugins, more manual setup.
Comprehensive out-of-the-box, intelligent tools.

Eclipse and IntelliJ Definitions


A phenomenon where one celestial body obscures another.
We watched the lunar eclipse in awe.


Supports multiple programming languages and frameworks.
IntelliJ handles my JavaScript and Python projects well.


An open-source integrated development environment.
I used Eclipse to develop my Java application.


Known for its smart code completion.
The smart code completion in IntelliJ saves me time.


A decline or diminution.
The company's profits faced an eclipse this quarter.


Offers a user-friendly interface for developers.
I prefer IntelliJ for its intuitive interface.


To surpass or outshine.
Her performance eclipsed all others.


An integrated development environment by JetBrains.
IntelliJ IDEA makes Java development more efficient.


A type of Mitsubishi car.
He drives an old Mitsubishi Eclipse.


Has both Community and Ultimate editions.
I upgraded to IntelliJ Ultimate for its advanced features.


The partial or complete obscuring, relative to a designated observer, of one celestial body by another.


The period of time during which such an obscuration occurs.


A temporary or permanent dimming or cutting off of light.


What is Eclipse?

Eclipse is an open-source integrated development environment primarily used for Java development, extendable to other languages through plugins.

Is IntelliJ IDEA free?

IntelliJ IDEA offers a free Community edition with basic features and a paid Ultimate edition with more advanced functionalities.

What is IntelliJ IDEA?

IntelliJ IDEA is an integrated development environment created by JetBrains, known for its advanced code navigation and intelligent coding assistance, mainly for Java.

Can Eclipse handle large projects efficiently?

Eclipse can handle large projects, but performance may depend on the configuration and the plugins installed.

How does the performance of Eclipse compare to IntelliJ IDEA?

Eclipse's performance can vary based on the installed plugins, while IntelliJ IDEA is known for its efficient performance but may require more system resources.

Can Eclipse be used for languages other than Java?

Yes, Eclipse can support various programming languages like Python, C++, and PHP through its extensive plugin ecosystem.

Is there a community edition for Eclipse like IntelliJ?

Eclipse is open-source and free to use in its entirety, so there's no separate community edition like IntelliJ's.

Is Eclipse or IntelliJ better for Java development?

Both are excellent for Java development; IntelliJ IDEA is preferred for its intelligent features, while Eclipse is valued for its flexibility and plugin ecosystem.

What makes IntelliJ IDEA's user interface stand out?

IntelliJ IDEA's user interface is designed to be more intuitive and user-friendly, making it easier for developers to navigate and use its features efficiently.

How do Eclipse and IntelliJ IDEA compare in terms of debugging capabilities?

Both offer robust debugging tools, but IntelliJ IDEA's debugging interface and features are often considered more intuitive and powerful.

Can I use Eclipse for data science projects?

Yes, with the right plugins, Eclipse can be configured for data science projects, including support for languages like Python and R.

Can IntelliJ IDEA be customized like Eclipse?

IntelliJ IDEA offers customization options, but Eclipse is known for its highly configurable environment through plugins.

Does IntelliJ IDEA support web development?

Yes, IntelliJ IDEA supports web development, especially in the Ultimate edition, which includes tools for HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and various frameworks.

How often do Eclipse and IntelliJ IDEA receive updates?

Both IDEs are regularly updated, with Eclipse typically having annual release cycles and IntelliJ IDEA receiving frequent updates throughout the year.

Can IntelliJ IDEA's Ultimate edition features be added to the Community edition through plugins?

Some features of the Ultimate edition might be replicated through plugins in the Community edition, but many advanced features are exclusive to the Ultimate edition.

What is the learning curve like for Eclipse and IntelliJ IDEA?

IntelliJ IDEA is often praised for its lower learning curve due to its intuitive design, while Eclipse might require more time to master due to its extensive customization options.

Can IntelliJ IDEA be used for mobile app development?

Yes, particularly with the Ultimate edition, IntelliJ IDEA supports mobile app development, including Android with built-in tools and integrations.

Is plugin availability better in Eclipse or IntelliJ IDEA?

Eclipse has a vast range of community-contributed plugins, while IntelliJ IDEA also has a substantial plugin repository, especially for the Ultimate edition.

How do Eclipse and IntelliJ IDEA handle version control integration?

Both IDEs integrate with version control systems like Git, but IntelliJ IDEA offers a more seamless and integrated experience.

How do the refactoring capabilities of Eclipse compare to IntelliJ IDEA?

IntelliJ IDEA is highly regarded for its intelligent refactoring tools, while Eclipse also offers robust refactoring capabilities but might require more manual effort.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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