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Poll Result: Top 3 Java IDEs Really Do Dominate Developer Desktops!

Posted by editor on February 11, 2014 at 6:15 PM PST

For years there has been a recognized "Big 3" with respect to IDEs used by Java/JVM developers. Each IDE has added new features along the way, and many of the improvements are great. But, truth be told, once a developer has invested significant time working with a particular tool, their efficiency is (at least temporarily) compromised if they decide to switch to a different tool. Not only does this make it difficult for one tool to attract users away from another, but it also makes it very difficult for a new entrant to break in and gain traction. What's a poor developer supposed to do when facing critical software delivery deadlines: get the release out as quickly and reliably as possible, or take the time to learn how to be equally or more efficient using a different IDE?

The results of the last-completed poll suggest that we shouldn't expect a revolution in which IDEs Java/JVM developers use any time soon. The top 3, I expect, will retain their dominance for years to come. A total of 925 votes were cast in the poll. The exact poll prompt and results were:

I do most of my coding using:

  • 38% (348 votes) - Eclipse
  • 11% (106 votes) - IntelliJ IDEA
  • 44% (406 votes) - NetBeans
  • 1% (5 votes) - Another IDE
  • 2% (19 votes) - A text editor
  • 4% (33 votes) - It depends on what I'm working on
  • 1% (8 votes) - Other IDE

A full 93% of the voters use Eclipse, IntelliJ, or NetBeans! Furthermore, you'd guess that among the 4% who selected "It depends on what I'm working on," what they're chosing between is probably most often a Big 3 IDE. If you're a consultant, and you have one project where the in-house development team uses one IDE, and another project where the in-house team uses a different IDE, it's going to be more convenient to interact with those teams within the context of their own native IDE.

This is, of course, not a scientific poll. Hence, I wouldn't want to argue that more Java/JVM developers actually use NetBeans than Eclipse; and it also wouldn't surprise me if more than 11% of Java/JVM developers use IntelliJ IDEA.

New poll: how should IDEs evolve?

Our current poll asks How would you like to see IDEs evolve over the next 2 to 5 years?. Voting will be open until Friday, February 21.

Suggest a Java/JVM tools poll!

As you may have noticed, we're running series of polls related to Java/JVM development tools. We've barely scratched the surface, starting with IDEs. Is there a category of tools for which you'd like to know the Java/JVM developer community's opinion? If so, please suggest the question and response options in a comment below, or in an email message to

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-- Kevin Farnham (@kevin_farnham)