For quite a while IntelliJ IDEA can detect probable NPE’s in your code. But you have to annotate it with JetBrains’
@Nullable/@NotNull. In order to leave your code free from JetBrains’ annotations you could use external annotations, but they were not so convenient to use as they were not visible in the code. With libraries and SDK code, however, there is no other way except using the external annotations.
So, to make things better, 10.5 IntelliJ IDEA will be able to recognize the most common annotations, such as javax @Nullable/@Nonnull, FindBugs @Nullable/@NonNull, as well as your own annotations with the same semantics.
You just need to configure which annotations are allowed in you code and which should be used by quick fixes to annotate the code.
Try it in IntelliJ IDEA 10.5 EAP and let us know what you think.