Matt RaibleMatt Raible is a Java Champion and Developer Advocate at Okta.

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Over 10 years ago, I wrote my first blog post. Since then, I've authored books, had kids, traveled the world, found Trish and blogged about it all.

IDEA seems dumb

I'm going to rant about my issues with IDEA here because it always gets to so much praise in blogs. I like the fact that it opens quickly on OS X. However, every other time I open it, after it spends 10-20 seconds "loading project files," then synchronized local VCS and then the dialog hangs and I can't get rid of "storing local CVS." Closing IDEA fixes the problem usually. Secondly - and this is a new one - I just created/opened a new project (Canoo's WebTest) and it can't find import java.util.Map; What the? You can't find "java" files even though I told you my JDK was in "/usr" (which it should've detected anyway). It's highly likely that I'm the dumb one, but at this very moment it seems that IDEA gets to wear the dunce cap.

Posted in Java at Oct 08 2003, 09:27:54 AM MDT 9 Comments

sounds like the jdk is not setup. File->Project properties->TargetJDK input box

Posted by doug on October 08, 2003 at 10:53 AM MDT #

It <em>is</em> setup, that's why this seems so wierd. Currently set to java version "1.4.1_01", JDK home path = /usr.

Posted by Matt Raible on October 08, 2003 at 11:01 AM MDT #

Strictly speaking JAVA_HOMe is NOT /usr, it should be /Library/Java/Home. See for a detailed explanation. Hope this helps

Posted by Sam Dalton on October 08, 2003 at 11:42 AM MDT #

Thanks Sam, that fixed it. Now if only IDEA where smarter and knew where my JAVA_HOME was, this wouldn't be an issue. I believe Eclipse was able to detect this. ;-)

Posted by Matt Raible on October 08, 2003 at 11:51 AM MDT #

I think there iss a bug in the way that Swing works on Mac OS X. I sometimes get the same problem you describe, where the dialog just stays open on startup. However, I also get the Copy class dialog stuck open sometimes and it's not just Idea. I get similar problems with SmartCVS too.

Posted by Simon Brown on October 08, 2003 at 06:04 PM MDT #

Have the death threats started yet? Normally if someone says anything negative about IDEA, they send out their ganstas and whoop your ass. I don't know why people act that way because Eclipse as just about as good as IDEA and it's free!

Posted by No one on October 09, 2003 at 08:45 AM MDT #

"just about as good as IDEA" that's like saying that Juan Pablo Montoya is just about as good as Michael Schumacher. At the elite level I guess coming second is pretty good but I've never liked compromising when it comes to a tool I have to use everyday.

Posted by Unknown on October 09, 2003 at 05:56 PM MDT #

IDEA on the Mac leaves a lot to be desired, due to Swing bugs (Apple's Java is still a buggy port) that JetSpeed doesn't seem to want to bother to work around, and no real effort making it more Mac-like. It's also a real pig on performance that's best on machine with a fast CPU, gobs of memory, and a fast disk. The folks raving about are probably on fast Windows or Linux boxes. At work I have a Windows 2000 box with dual CPU's and 2 gigs of memory, and it's quite acceptable though waiting for it to launch is still annoying. That said, I can't get along without it any more so I limp along with the early-access version when at home on my Mac. It's not so much that IDEA is all that polished or intuitive for the first-time user (it's not) but that once you learn its quirks it really speeds up writing code, especially refactoring. One thing that makes IDEA slow is that it frequently scans your project directory tree for changes. There is a checkbox in project preferences to turn Local VCS off, which will speed things up a bit. Also, you can put in "excluded directories" in project preferences to keep IDEA from scanning subdirectories of your project that don't matter.

Posted by Brian Slesinsky on October 10, 2003 at 11:22 PM MDT #

I also kept getting this problem with a dialog staying open on startup. It continued until I checked "do not ask me again" on the first popup that asks whether you want to check for updates. Maybe this was just a coincidence but it did look like this update window was interrupting the flow of events ... and as previously stated IDEA can be a bit buggy on the Mac :-)

Posted by Jonathan Morrissey on October 27, 2003 at 07:06 AM MST #

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