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Java Development Tools

Over the years, different development tools have come, and gone, and a few have stood the test of time. In the early years Visual Cafe was the Java GUI development IDE of choice, and there even existed a reasonable Microsoft Java IDE, VisualJ++. With the advent of open source IDEs of good quality, the ability to plug in your own tools has been made far easier. From being nice things to explore, these IDEs have become mainstream quality products, which will only cost you the configuration and learning curve time.

Open Source IDEs


The Java server application IDE of choice. Not so good at visual GUI development, but nice support for J2EE and the like.


A nice IDE, with good GUI development support.


A Java editor for code oriented development.


A nice alternative to commercial UML tools (such as Rational Rose and Together), which supports round-trip engineering in Java, and most UML diagrams.

Commercial IDEs

Borland JBuilder

IBM WebSphere Studio

IntelliJ IDEA


Microsoft if phasing out support for Java, and here you will find information to assist you on phasing out MSJVM-dependent applications. As expected, Microsoft advises you to migrate to C# or C++. If you are relying heavily on MS-dependent extensions in your application, such as using native dll calls, this may be a reasonable road. If not, there are many all-Java alternatives.

Microsoft Java Virtual Machine Support

Overview of tools

A list of other tools can be found here.

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