Java has been one of the most popular, versatile and well-rounded programming languages in the tech industry. Since its development, it has grown exponentially – thanks to the rich community of Java developers and the constant updates and releases. Java developers have been working towards making this language part of every modern technology emerging in the tech world. There is now an abundance of top Java developing tools that have made this possible.
Some of the popular Java developing tools will be discussed in this article that are making things easier and convenient for Java developers to apply new development tools in their Java applications. Some of these Java dev tools are open-source, others are backed by some renowned tech giants but all of these tools are a great choice if you are a Java developer or planning to learn Java right now.
We will be covering a wide variety of tools ranging from management, testing profiling, web services tools, IDEs and various Java developing tools that are offering some unique features.
IDEs (Integrated development environment)
NetBeans has been around for quite some time. It is an open-source IDE for Java development. It offers desktop, mobile and web applications development. Despite being a simple IDE, it can still be considered as one of the best Java developing tools. It is anall-rounder tool and offers all the best features you would wish from an IDE.
It offers complete support for all the latest releases and updates by Java Technologies. You will get full support for faster coding and editing with a list of coding features. Its Rapid User Interface is a treat for mobile and desktop application developers, making the UI development process way faster than other IDEs. With coding, its Project Management tools also come in handy if you are working on a large project and want to manage it well. The list of debugging features is also never-ending, which provides developers bug-free code in no time.
NetBeans IDE can be a practical option for developers working on multiple technologies simultaneously as it offers advanced support for C/C++ and PHP. It is available for all major operating systems including Windows, Linux and Mac OS as well as all systems that support Java. Being free and receiving regular updates makes NetBeans a must-have Java developing tool for developers.
2. IntelliJ IDEA
IntelliJ IDEA is an integrated development environment for Java applications development. From offering a variety of live templates to unique code completion features, IntelliJ IDEA offers a well-rounded and developers-oriented Java coding experience. It has a solid community support as well. A diverse set of high-quality plugins are also available for IntelliJ IDEA, which makes it a tough competition for other outstanding Java IDEs.
The only thing that holds this IDE back is its price tag. The fact that its competitions are offering free tools makes IntelliJ DEA a less likely choice for Java developers. Nevertheless, it is an obvious choice for tech giants and big companies where money is not an issue.
Eclipse is an open-source integrated development environment for Java development. It offers some modern features like providing a large number of modelling tools, multiple Java testing tools, and support for development frameworks. It also supports very easy and stable integration with Junit for load testing of applications and comes with a very detailed reports generator.
While eclipse is not as popular or efficient as IntelliJ IDEA, it is still favored amongst a large group of developers because it allows users to manage multiple workspaces simultaneously and it is also free. Eclipse is also much more customizable than other IDEs. It is not only a feasible option for individual developers but it also allows companies to create their own versions of the IDEs according to their preferences. Some known examples include RAD and MyEclipse.
Best Testing tools
JUnit is an open-source unit testing tool for the Java programming language. It is among excellent Java developing tools for test-driven development and efficient application deployment. JUnit tests allow developers to write the testing codes way faster than other testing tools.
It offers some incredible testing features that are usually found in paid testing tools, which includes,
- Use of fake objects for input data to test the modules for every possible case even if the real data is unavailable at the time of testing.
- It allows the loading of databases with only a specific known set of data for testing.
- It also provides annotations so that test classes can have a fixture run before or after every test and that also helps in identifying the best test methods.
2. Apache JMeter
JMeter is an open-source load testing tool for Java web applications. It is the best option for loading functional test behavior and measuring the performance of a Java web application. Its loads and performance tests are compatible with various server types, which allows the developer to work on different servers simultaneously.
Another noteworthy feature of Apache JMeter is that it stores its test plans in XML format which allows the developers to generate the test plan by just using a text editor. It also supports various data analysis and visualization plugins that allows extensibility as well as personalization for Java developers. It can also be used for automated and functional testing of the applications.
Top Java Decompilers and Debuggers
1. Java Decompiler
Unlike other tools, Decompilers do not offer that many features as decompiling is a complex task, and the engineers working behind the decompilers mainly focus on the main task. Contrary to this, we have an amazing decompiler for Java that is quite the opposite.
Java Decompiler is a freeware Java tool that reconstructs Java source code from the CLASS files. It allows to decompile Java applets, JAR and ZIP files for producing accurate Java source code. Along with being a stable and having a robust decompiler, it offers some trivial features that gives it a significant edge over other decompilers. It also supports Drag and Drop feature and displays color-coded source code that works with almost all versions of Java. This creates a lot of convenience for Java developers, and as it is a free tool, it offers a lot more than its paid competitors.
2. Patch Manager by SolarWinds
Another Java developing tool by SolarWinds, Patch Manager is a DevOps tool that addresses the vulnerabilities present in your Java application. This tool provides a very easy report analyzing process with patch compliance. It helps developers extend their SCCM (System Centre Configuration Manager and Systems) very easily.
As the name suggests, patch manager offers some great features for patching. It provides a minimal and user-friendly dashboard to monitor and manage patches. It also helps in deploying security patches in very few steps and developers also have the option to automate the patching process. SolarWinds patch manager can analyze and determine which devices need patching.
3. Apache Maven
Apache Maven is a powerful software project management tool for Java developers. It is based on the Project Object Model (POM) concept. It has a very simple project setup process that follows optimal practices to get you started on a new Java project or module within seconds and without any hassle. It also allows for easy writing of plugins using Java. You can easily access new features with simple configurations. The highlighting feature which makes Apache Maven a good option for Java developers is that it encourages the use of a central repository of JARs and other dependencies.
Gradle is a popular project automation Java tool. It is one of the top Java developing tools among android applications developers as it serves as the default build tool for the Android platform.
Gradle offers way better modelling of dependencies using Java library plugins which significantly reduces the size of the compile classpath. It comes with a smart classpath that helps in avoiding any unnecessary compilation when the binary interface of a library is not changed.
The Gradle Wrapper allows Java developers to execute the Gradle builds on machines even where it is not installed. It also supports multi-project builds as well as partial builds and it can easily adapt to any structure.
Cobertura is a unique Java tool that calculates and identifies what percentage of code has been accessed by tests and how much has not been tested. It is not a testing tool but it is used to identify which parts of a Java application either requires more testing or have not been tested at all.
It offers line and branch coverage in a very detailed tree view for easy understanding. It also displays the percentage of lines covered during testing up to the entire project. One of its most useful features is filtering out uninteresting classes and packages that do not require testing to save developers time and resources.
FindBugs is an open-source Java project for static analysis. It scans the whole Java bytecode and identifies potential bugs. Not only it detects bugs that are causing problems but also identifies future bugs that may appear in the code way early in the development phase. This tool provides early feedback about potential errors in the code, saving a lot of time and effort that would be required in the debugging process.
It is also very accurate in identifying bug patterns and provides support for the Guava library which helps in recognizing many common misuse patterns in Java programming.
Spark is a Java-based framework for web applications development. It is an extremely robust framework that allows Java developers to create stable web applications. Its highlighting feature is that it does not require writing the boilerplate code, which saves the developers from having to write the same piece of code over and over again.
It supports multiple languages other than Java which is a plus if you code with other programming languages as well. It also comes with different tools for interactive and declarative queries, streaming data and machine learning. Spark streaming can also handle real-time stream processing very well.
Java Profilers and Performance Monitoring Tools
VisualVM is a lightweight, easy to use, open-source performance profiler for the Java platform. It has some remarkable profiling capabilities like being able to display both local as well as remote Java Processes and it can also monitor the performance and memory usage of every process in detail.
Developers can also monitor each Process Threads by using Visualizing tools and it also helps in analyzing Core Dumps to identify any problems that may exist.
2. Java Performance Monitoring by SolarWinds
Java Performance Monitoring is an exceptional performance monitoring tool by SolarWinds. It enables Java developers to improve the performance of their Java applications to a great extent. These tools allow developers to check the database, memory consumed by the application, and concurrency very easily. It allows its user to identify run time or compiler issues in the Java applications very conveniently.
Some of its highlighted features include,
- It can identify web service APIs that are affecting your Java applications.
- Server monitoring is done through simple Network Management Protocol servers and it supports all major web server like JBoss, Oracle, and WebSphere.
- It allows Java developers to monitor the health of JSON services using HTTP or HTTPS.
- You can also analyze the physical as well as virtual Java server metrics like temperature, power supply status etc.
Site24x7 does exactly what its title suggests. It is one of the best Java developing tools for monitoring the performance of applications. Site24x7 is a SaaS-based all-in-one monitoring tool for DevOps as well as for IT. It can provide you a holistic view of how your application is performing in real-time, which makes it very convenient to identify and remove any bugs that are present. It also supports distributed tracing so it can identify errors across different microservices and distributed architectures.
Site24x7 facilitates developers by generating a real-time report on the performance of JVM, which includes all the key metrics like memory allocation, heap memory, CPU usage, garbage collection, and run-time memory. It also has an alert system that goes off whenever an issue is found in any of the major metrics and provides support for monitoring individual methods or functions in your code using custom instrumentation.
Profiling is another significant task for a Java application. YourKit is one of the most used Java developing tools for profiling Java applications. It has been a trend-setter in the evolution of profiling tools.
It offers some extremely user-friendly features that are a relief for Java developers especially to those who are new to profiling. High-level monitoring for web, database and I/O operations are some of those features. YourKit offers a straightforward and simple installation process and a very developer-friendly environment.
As developers usually have development experience limited to an IDE, it provides a seamless integration with multiple Java IDEs and application servers with powerful analyzing features. It comes with built-in SSH tunnelling support that makes it very easy for profiling in restricted network conditions. It also allows for an unlimited number of profiled applications thanks to a permissive license policy.
From profiling to unit testing, all these top Java developing tools offer very unique and different applications and are considered the best among their competitors. Whether these tools are paid or free, they have been of great help to Java developers while performing various tasks during the development.