IntelliJ IDEA 10: free IDE for Android development

Yes, you’ve read it correctly. No mistake here.

It’s been one year since we open-sourced IntelliJ IDEA and announced its free Community Edition. If you are curious to know the results of that bold move and see some stats and charts — check out this article on DZone.

Today, one year later, IntelliJ IDEA Community Edition gets a big addition: Android development plugin becomes available in the free edition of IntelliJ IDEA starting with version 10.

Please note we’re NOT open-sourcing something we don’t want to develop ourselves. In addition to improvements to existing IntelliJ IDEA features for Android developers, we will add the following new ones in version 10:


P.S. Those of us using Android phones truly hope that this will come back in the form of more great apps for our mobile devices! :)

UPDATE: Check out our official website for more details and learning materials about Android development and IntelliJ IDEA.

Develop with pleasure!
-The IntelliJ IDEA Team

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39 Responses to IntelliJ IDEA 10: free IDE for Android development

  1. tramsgar says:

    Great news of course, but you’ve got a big job in spreading the word here – Eclipse is the preferred and recommended dev tool by Google and there are a lot of tools available in the Eclipse plugin to support Android development.

    I really don’t see why Google would prefer to promote Eclipse before you, so we’re looking forward to seeing a tutorial targeted for IDEA here:

  2. @tramsgar: Thanks! This is _just_ what we are going to try to do! :)

  3. Mike says:

    Been using IntelliJ for years to do my Android development (Groupon, TripIt, OpenTable, Digg, others) and in most ways it blows away eclipse. Can’t recommend it more.

  4. Xavier Ducrohet says:


    Congratulations on making this free. This is excellent news for Android developers!

    Contact me offline.

  5. Chris says:

    Complete noob here. I installed, and am walking through the create new Android project wizard. One page asks me to select a project JDK, but it will not accept any directories that I point it to. I’ve downloaded the JDK 2.1 and unzipped into a folder, but it doesn’t seem to like that folder.

    What do I need to do to get past this page?

  6. bdjnk says:

    Thank you so much! I was using IDEA for Java and hated having to go back to Eclipse for Android. You made my week with this announcement.

  7. Juhani says:

    This is great news. Eclipse has become too bloated and honestly, Android development on Eclipse is just painful. I would be so happy to move to IDEA.

    It seems to be very difficult to get started though. I tried to check out our project from SVN but pretty much everything is just red and I have no idea if the android dev environment is installed or not etc.

    I think it would be good idea if you would add to some introduction to new IDEA users how to get started and what need to imported and where. Now all I see on your website is screenshot of wizards etc. that I cannot find anywhere.

    Thank you for making this happen!

  8. Eugene Kudelevsky says:

    @Chris, You’ve downloaded Android SDK 2.1, but not JDK. You also have to download Sun JDK to be able to use IDEA for Android development.

  9. Prashant says:

    This news made my week! I’m already running the EAP version now – can’t wait for the final release.

  10. Erik Hellman says:

    Really great news!

    I’ve been pushing and promoting IntelliJ since I first tried out version 2.5. Will now push it even harder at work and when I’m out on conferences.

    Keep up the good work! :)

    // Erik

  11. @nabulaer says:

    is there a visual layout designer like in ADT or i can only work with source xml ?

  12. Alex He says:

    Definitely GREAT NEWS! Finally I can say good bye to Eclipse!

  13. Mathias Lin says:

    I don’t think Eclipse has necessarily been the preferred IDE by the Google dev team itself. Note that many of the Android SDK dev members afaik use IntelliJ, not Eclipse.

    Eclipse is recommended for people to get started with Android basically because it’s easy to get access to, since it’s free. So also students can get started with it without a problem and little budget. This is probably the main reason why it’s mentioned in most of Google’s tutorials.
    Feature-wise and regarding stability, IDEA is more advanced though. Especially when it comes to project building, error handling, i.e. and such.

    Therefore, I also hope that with IDEA 10 being free for Android development, this is about to change. I will definitely keep on promoting this IDE to new devs.

  14. darkmist says:

    Thats wonderful news! I actually cry everytime I m about to start Eclipse :(

    can this FREE edition used ONLY for 30 days?

  15. darkmist: of course not!
    IntelliJ IDEA Community edition is a fully-featured Java IDE with no time limitation or anything similar.

  16. It seems that it does not yet understand the 2.3 SDK (I think something was changed in the structure of the SDK as I had to update the plug-in in order to work with it in Eclipse).

    Will IntelliJ IDEA support the 2.3 SDK upon release (not a big deal as most changes occured in the NDK, so one can still use the 2.2 SDK)?

    Apart from that, it’s a dream come true 😉

  17. yole says:

    We’ve already implemented the support for tool layout changes in the Android 2.3 SDK, and it will be included in the final IntelliJ IDEA 10 release.

  18. Gerry says:

    As far as I can tell the android support doesn’t work at all.

    When you go to create a new project and go to create a new android profile ti doesn’t recognise andoird SDK folders as valid. Thus one is unable to actually use the thing. Useless waste of time.

  19. yole says:

    Which version of IntelliJ IDEA and the Android SDK are you using?

  20. me says:

    I’m guessing the problem Gerry was seeing with it not recognising the android SDK was the same one i almost complained about. When you download the SDK (2.3 for linux at least, haven’t tried the others) you then have to run “tools/android update sdk” to get it to actually download usable versions of the SDK. This wasn’t obvious from the getting started guides, but it worked fine after that.

  21. Tommy says:

    I created a new Android project from existing sources and Intellij did not recognize the imported Android packages until I added the Android SDK to my module. right click on the project -> Open Module Settings -> Facets

    This is just a quick FYI for anyone else that may miss the obvious configuration set up.

  22. raistdejesus says:

    I installed the community edition of IDEA 10. I have JDK 1.5 installed. When I imported a project originally done in eclipse, IDEA issued errors while attempting to compile it.
    I tried creating a new from project from existing source, still the same issue. Should I be using JDK 1.6 instead?

    here’s a fragment of the log:
    Information:Compilation completed with 100 errors and 1 warning
    Information:100 errors
    Information:1 warning
    Error:Error:line (3)package does not exist
    Error:Error:line (5)cannot find symbol class Activity
    Error:Error:line (3)package does not exist
    Error:Error:line (4)package android.os does not exist
    Error:Error:line (5)package android.widget does not exist
    Error:Error:line (6)package android.view.animation does not exist
    Error:Error:line (7)package android.view.animation.Animation does not exist
    Error:Error:line (8)package android.content does not exist
    Error:Error:line (13)cannot find symbol class Bundle

  23. raistdejesus says:

    Apologies on the double post. I couldn’t edit my previous post yet and I wanted to correct something. I get a different error when I create a new Java project from existing sources. IDEA correctly creates it as an Android project. However, during compilation, I’m getting errors that seem to be JDK related. Here’s what’s in the log:

    Information:Compilation completed with 12 errors and 0 warnings
    Information:12 errors
    Information:0 warnings
    Error:Exception in thread “main” java.lang.UnsupportedClassVersionError: Bad version number in .class file
    Error:at java.lang.ClassLoader.defineClass1(Native Method)
    Error:at java.lang.ClassLoader.defineClass(
    Error:at Method)
    Error:at java.lang.ClassLoader.loadClass(
    Error:at java.lang.ClassLoader.loadClass(
    Error:at com.intellij.rt.execution.CommandLineWrapper.main(

  24. Dave says:

    @raistdejesus , I had exactly the same problem.

    // Error:Exception in thread “main” java.lang.UnsupportedClassVersionError: Bad version number in .class file

    Installing 1.6 JDK solved it. I don’t know why.

  25. Dale says:

    @Dave raistdejesus
    Getting the same error, installed JDK 1.6 but still get the same problem.
    Developing on OSX 10.5.8. Running javac -version in a terminal gives me…
    ‘javac 1.6.0_22’ so it looks like the JDK install was successful.

    Any suggestions?

  26. Dale says:

    Okay – solved it. I hadn’t updated my project to use 1.6. Achieved this via File>Project Structure.

  27. Joseph says:

    But I want to use 1.5. Java 1.6 is ass slow on OS X.

  28. Nathan says:

    I want to switch from Eclipse to IntelliJ for Android development. However, with IntelliJ, whenever I edit the .xml files in an Android project (such as the layout file), it automatically builds and the UI becomes unresponsive for 20-40 seconds. This is a real problem making Android development impossible. I have done some testing in Eclipse and found that it is likely a problem with the Android tools during the compilation process, but in Eclipse I can turn off automatic builds and escape the problem until I manually trigger a build. Is there a way to do this in IntelliJ? Is there a setting that would ensure builds run on a background thread so as not to make the IDE unusable? I love IntelliJ otherwise but this is a deal killer for me.

  29. Aaqil Mahmood says:

    My start with Android programming should begin with IDEA 😀

  30. IJ + Android SDK failure says:

    I have spent 2 days trying to get Android SDK 2.2 or 2.3 to work with IntelliJ 9 Ultimate under Windows XP.
    I followed this tutorial :

    I downloaded all available Android SDK and tools for Windows using this installer:
    And updated/downloaded all possible packages via Android SDK and AVD Manager.

    My team and I were up and running on Eclipse within 1 hour or so with HelloAndroid app and Snake sample from android-sdksamplesandroid-7Snake using the same SDKs.

    But with IntelliJ I keep getting an error while it detects Android Platform version (in Facet ‘Android’) :
    Android SDK is parsed incorrectly. Parsing log:
    Ignoring platform ‘android-10’: toolsaapt.exe is missing.
    Ignoring platform ‘android-11’: toolsaapt.exe is missing.
    Ignoring platform ‘android-12’: toolsaapt.exe is missing.
    Ignoring platform ‘android-7’: toolsaapt.exe is missing.
    Ignoring platform ‘android-8’: toolsaapt.exe is missing.
    Ignoring platform ‘android-9’: toolsaapt.exe is missing.
    Ignoring add-on ‘addon_edk_1_1_sony_ericsson_mobile_communications_ab_10′: Unable to find base platform with API level ’10’
    Ignoring add-on ‘addon_galaxy_tab_samsung_electronics_8’: Unable to find base platform with API level ‘8’
    Ignoring add-on ‘addon_real3d_lge_8’: Unable to find base platform with API level ‘8’

    The only Android platforms that my IJ detects are 1.5, 1.6 and 3.2
    However, when I run HelloAndroid under these platforms (choosing compatible virtual device version), all it does is starts emulator but no otput can be seen from my code.

    Any suggestions are appreciated.

    I’d hate to switch to Eclipse for this project, but I will have to if this is not resolved within a couple of days.

  31. IJ + Android SDK failure says:

    A quick answer from IDEA support I received:

    IDEA 9 was released long time ago and doesn’t support the new format of
    >Android SDK distribution which as changed recently, please download
    >and use IDEA 10.5.2, you can use free community edition, it has
    >Android support included.

    When this tutorial was written, Android SDK download from Google
    worked fine in that IDEA version, however in the later SDK versions
    Google has changed the folders structure, so IDEA 9 can no longer
    understand it, this issue was fixed in IDEA 10, you can see this bug
    for details: .

  32. Alexey Zakharov says:

    Please provide any guide how to use Maven in IntelliJ Android projects.

  33. Jacob Dixon says:

    Free IDE for android development is a good news for many android developers as its free IDE with many more exciting features. I feel very excited for this free IDE. Keep posting such exciting news regarding this IDE to make us more familiar with different features offered by it.

  34. DaveHibshman says:

    Maven for Android Reference:

    I haven’t read it in full yet or set this up for IDEA 10.X yet, but I will soon. I am sure once you’ve got your android project and dependencies managed via a pom.xml file, it as simple as using normal existing maven plugins for IDEA.

  35. durgesh pathak says:

    i have install jdk 1.6.0_29 then i click next then i have to choose android sdk , when i click browse button there is no path for android sdk

  36. Mark says:

    I am getting error canot parse android sdk

  37. Nils Halvard Lunde says:

    I had a problem with Intellij 12 and Android development with Ubuntu12.041 on a 64bit machine.

    I started with an Intellij project that worked on another machine, but when i rebuilt the project i got an error saying “android-apt-compiler:/pk/android/android-sdk-linux/platform-tools/aapt”: error=2, No such file or directory”

    it turned out that the problem was that the aapt is a 32 bit program, so when i did

    sudo apt-get install ia32-libs

    and restarted, intellij, things started working.

    this way I installed loads of 32bit libraries i probably did not need, but it worked.

    unix command file on the aapt file combined with this post helped solve the problem. thanks to everyone here!

  38. Please provide any guide how to use Maven in IntelliJ Android projects.

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