Widely used across the tech industry, IntelliJ IDEA is a powerful integrated development environment (IDE). JetBrains created it in 2001 for professional software developers. The JetBrains Marketplace has a variety of plugins available for IntelliJ to help developers with different tasks. The best IntelliJ plugins ensure increased productivity and support for various frameworks and languages.
Modern developers are looking for an IDE that increases usability and supports diverse plugins. IntelliJ comes bundled with many plugins, such as Maven Helper, Gradle, and Docker, but it also supports tons of other IntelliJ plugins that work seamlessly. So, there is no shortage of choices. In this article, you’ll learn about the 10 best IntelliJ plugins for various development tasks.
Why Use IntelliJ Plugins?
A plugin is an extension or an add-on from the IntelliJ plugin marketplace that helps developers add features to an existing program. There are many benefits to using plugins, especially when it comes to writing and maintaining code. As developers widely use IntelliJ, the plugins available on the JetBrains Marketplace are extensive and offer a wide variety of options.
There are different types of IntelliJ plugins that can be useful for developers:
- Productivity plugins
- Code versioning plugins
- Debugging plugins
- Collaboration plugins
- Formatting plugins
- User interface plugins
- Custom language support plugins
Why are the Best IntelliJ Plugins Helpful?
Less time to write code: While there are many purposes to plugins, most aim to reduce the time it takes to write code. A developer can manage huge projects without manually going through every block of code. For example, some plugins make it easier to search within your code.
Coding assistance through auto-code completion: Some plugins make suggestions on what comes next based on programming language, among other factors, which programmers can find very helpful. In fact, some AI-based plugins for IntelliJ learn a developer’s way of writing code and make suggestions accordingly. This helps the developer to complete tasks faster.
Debugging assistance: Some plugins help with debugging code, which improves the overall quality of your project and helps to reduce the time taken to fix any errors.
Easier code analysis: Plugins can reduce code complexity, which makes analyzing code much easier. Unit testing, for example, can be simplified by analyzing code coverage with plugins like SonarQube.
Accessible code snippet management: Some of the latest plugins make it easier to manage code snippets so that you can spend less time finding, re-typing or re-searching for code.
The 10 Best IntelliJ Plugins on the Market
While there’s a wide variety of plugins that developers can use, this article lists some of the best plugins that are supported by IntelliJ. These plugins were chosen based on ease of use, authentic reviews by developers, support for various languages and frameworks, and number of downloads.
Plugins like Maven Helper, GitToolBox, and WakaTime, for example, were chosen for their ease of use, while plugins like Tabnine, Pieces, AWS ToolKit, and the others were selected based on reviews, community support, and advanced capabilities. Most importantly, they were personally tried and tested.
1) Maven Helper
Maven Helper, by Vojtch Krassa, is excellent for IntelliJ debugging and maintaining projects with many modules. Developers are often faced with conflicts and dependencies that are difficult to manage as the project size and the code repo increases. This plugin provides easy options to navigate code dependencies and eliminate conflicts.
Maven Helper consists of actions that can run and debug Maven goals, open a terminal to the current module path, and run and debug test files. It’s one of the most popular IntelliJ plugins in the tech industry and is very easy to use. For instance, with the click of a button you can predefine and run Maven goals.
Tabnine is an AI code completion plugin that helps developers autocomplete their code. Machine learning tools that predict code and amplify its accuracy power this plugin. Irrespective of a programmer’s development experience, Tabnine’s AI Assistant will boost productivity by suggesting team-tailored code.
Adding real-time information to running applications is a hassle that many developers face. Lightrun helps address this problem by providing a suite of tools to incorporate snapshots, metrics, and code-level logs.
This plugin can prove useful when deploying applications to production environments. The biggest benefit of using it is that it reduces time spent on debugging. Being able to view logs in real time and evaluate expressions without the need to redeploy or recompile is beneficial to everyone on the dev team.
Experienced developers and newbies alike can find themselves saving and reusing snippets of code. Pieces helps you save important code snippets with just one click. It avoids using a clipboard and allows developers to capture important context about the snippet as well. This plugin also creates a well-defined index of saved code snippets and enables faster search, thereby improving productivity.
Pieces is one of the fastest and smartest AI assistants for code snippets and screenshots. One of the best IntelliJ plugins, it can run locally on the developer’s machine or connect to the cloud for sync and backup. Pieces auto-classifies the snippet by language, and automatically generates tags, titles, descriptions, and more based on the content of the snippet that’s been saved.
5) Rainbow Brackets
Every developer has faced the pain point of missing closing brackets, leading to hassle and confusion. Rainbow Brackets is a plugin that makes identifying bracket pairs easier by color-coding them. It tracks and assigns each bracket a different color so that a developer cannot get lost in the scope and can identify the end of a code block.
On the JetBrains blog, WakaTime has been called a fitness tracker but for code, as it displays key metrics and insights for developers. This useful plugin boosts the productivity of the entire team with metrics. WakaTime automatically generates the dashboard charts and graphs from the coding activity of the programmers from IntelliJ.
GitToolBox is another plugin popular with developers. It integrates Git versioning into the IDE and allows a seamless ability to fetch, commit, add annotations, display notifications of how behind the current branch or code is, and so much more.
GitToolBox IntelliJ also provides a gitmoji compilation in the commit dialog, the cleanup of outdated branches, and a branch switcher, all through the IDE. The status bar widget consists of detailed information and actions regarding the status of the current branch. It has over one million downloads on the JetBrains Marketplace.
If your team uses SonarQube or SonarCloud, then SonarLint can be synced to match code to the same ruleset. It also finds security-related issues and bugs and styling issues.
9) AWS Toolkit
Developers who work on applications built on Amazon Web Services find the AWS Toolkit plug-in immensely helpful. It integrates many features, such as authentication, debugging, and running local lambda functions. In addition, it also helps with managing S3 buckets, viewing and searching CloudWatch log streams, and deploying SAM-based applications.
For now, it supports Java, Node.js, Python, and .NET Core. It’s recommended mainly for developers working on serverless applications with AWS.
The CodeGlance plugin embeds a mini map into the editor pane with similar functionality to the one found in the well-known Sublime text editor. It helps developers glance through a file and click a specific section or a piece of code. CodeGlance works perfectly with both light and dark themes in the IntelliJ IDE. It uses customized colors for highlighting the syntax.
With so many options on the market, choosing plugins that are tailored to your needs and projects can be a daunting process. This list of the best IntelliJ plugins and JetBrains tools should help you select the right plugin for your organization or team. IntelliJ plugins help make coding easier and less time consuming. They also maximize productivity and enhance the coding experience, as well as collaboration within your team.