JetBrains' IntelliJ IDEA, one of the leading Java IDEs, has pioneered features such as extensive refactoring support, integration with libraries, and highly sophisticated code completion. JetBrains announced today that will make available IntelliJ IDEA Community Edition, a full-featured Java, Scala, and Groovy IDE under the Apache 2.0 license. In this interview with Artima, JetBrains' Dmitry Jemerov discusses what motivated JetBrains to open-source IntelliJ, and how this move will benefit Java developers:
IntelliJ IDEA 9 will be available in two editions: A Community Edition, and the Ultimate Edition. The Community Edition is free and open-source. You can download the binaries right now, and the source code is available as well. The Community Edition includes all that you need for core Java development: testing support, build system support, version control system integration. And it includes Groovy and the Scala plugins as well.
The Ultimate Edition is, essentially, what was IntelliJ IDEA before: it has all the Web development support, enterprise development framework support, Java EE, Spring, Hibernate, all the application servers are there, the commercial version control integration, and so on. The pricing for the Ultimate Edition remains the same as it was before. Going forward, both editions will be developed in parallel.
We released the code for the Community Edition under the Apache 2.0 license. That means that you can build other tools on top of our codebase. One of the components of that codebase is the IntelliJ Platform, which is the foundation for our entire line of Java-based IDE tools. That includes RubyMine, MPS, and our Web Development IDE, which has yet to get a final name. We will also have a number of additional products based on this platform.... The Platform is a framework for building IDEs—it's not designed for building general-purpose applications. For example, if you wanted to build an IDE for Erlang or Haskell, then you might want to do that on top of the IntelliJ Platform.
One of the big reasons for open-sourcing the Community Edition is that the availability of the source code will mean that it is now much easier to build plugins or add-ons to IntelliJ IDEA. That's what we expect to see happen in the coming years: We expect to see plugins for tool integration, library integration, all those things we can't build ourselves, but can be built by the community...
We believe by removing the price, we are removing a big barrier to the adoption of IntelliJ. We want to expand our market share quite a bit with this move, to get a lot of users who are now able to get IntelliJ and see if it really works for them.