there's nothing like a little pressure to help me learn something new..
i've been procrastinating learning IDEA for weeks now. the truth is i didn't really have any pressure to. i've been using eclipse 3 since 3 was in M2 i think and that environment was cozy and familiar and productive. well now that i've upgraded my mac to "tiger" and that for some strange reason eclipse is basically hosed..the pressure finally arrived. all the talks i give at nfjs conferences have a strong hands-on component and i perform almost all of these hands-on coding sessions in eclipse. so i quickly gave myself a crash course in IDEA and netbeans and it was a great learning experience.
i now have a really good feel for the state of most major java IDEs: netbeans 4.1 which just came out, intellij IDEA 4.5, and eclipse 3.0. i've been wanting to try the ant features in netbeans for a while. i have to take my hat off to the netbeans folks. this IDE has gone through many enhancements since i last used it. i have to admit it: it's quite snappy and the environment felt very natural. but i also have to admit that there were a few small kinks that finally swayed my decision to go with intellij in the end. the file templates feature in intellij is pretty awesome. it's really hard to say that one IDE is better than another. they each have their strengths and they're each evolving quite nicely. i'm kind of excited about what IDEA 5 will look like.
my main impressions however are that swing apps are faster than swt apps. that swt apps on macosx have problems. and that it's a real shame that macos does not pass through the command-space shortcut to java applications! i'm big on shortcuts, and very particular about which shortcuts i use. i try to use the same (or very similar) key mappings across all my editors.
it's never easy to break old habits and form new ones. habits are the cornerstone to productive use of computer applications. well, i can now finally check off 'learn IDEA' from my to-do list. wish me luck this weekend. :-)