IntelliJ IDEA vs. Visual Studio 2003

I know, these are different platforms and such comparison maybe not very fare. But, anyway, IDE is an IDE in any environment… I am trying IntelliJ now, and will provide some thoughts about two world famous IDEs.

There are many built-in features in IntelliJ. VS.NET has very few of them, but fast-growing community released many open-source plug-ins that close the gap. Some listed in the table below (If you know any other, please, email me : michael(at)

IntelliJ VS.NET
Ant integration NAntRunner Visual Studio .Net AddIn
JavaDoc integration

It seems that there is no such plug-in for VS.NET, but there is very good tool I like very much – GhostDoc. It automatically generates those parts of a C# documentation comment that can be deduced from name and type of e.g. methods, properties or parameters.

Built-In refactoring tool

ReSharper (much less functionality for now)

Refactory (supports more refactorings that ReSharper)

TODO. Very cool feature for me VS.NET also supports this, but in less attractive manner
Very good templates and automatic code generation features

ReSharper (well, Resharper bring this into VS.NET as well)

I think there are other tools like that, but don’t know any.

JUnit integration NUnitAddIn (allows to run tests right from VS.NET and simplifies tests debugging)

Build/Run options for Web Applications

First of all, I must say that I failed to get IntelliJ work with Tomcat server. I tried on two workstations and failed on both. There were no such problems with Visual Studio. I understand the reason. Many vendors trying to create a killer web/application server for Java platform. And IntelliJ have to support many of them. On the other hand, VisualStudio integrated with IIS only and doesn’t bother about all the other web servers (do you know any supporting ASP?).

As I mentioned, I got mysterious error from IntelliJ and tried to find answers on support forum and knowledge base. All I’ve found was a single page in Google with the same question, but without answer. So I’ll continue my fight today’s evening. By the way, VS.NET has greater community. All questions I had about VS.NET were resolved (well, sometimes it took time)

More to follow…

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