Where Is IntelliJ IDEA Headed?

Note: This post was written on April 1st, 2014 as an April Fool’s Day joke. While this was intended as fun, who knows what the future holds!

IntelliJ IDEA is nearing its 14th birthday. We’ve gone a long way, but what’s next? What will drive product development for the next 5-10 years?

To keep up IntelliJ IDEA’s success as a commercial product and determine its future direction, we decided to consult independent professionals for assistance. We hired a reputable agency to run a worldwide market research study that polled developers of all ages, genders, cultures and professional backgrounds. The results are already in, and the team is happily working on the next version based on this study’s key findings.

‘Develop with Pleasure’ stays

Any moral purists complaining about the sexual undertones in our company slogan should finally throw in the towel. As the study showed, it does resonate rather intimately with the majority of our customers, so we will all “Develop with Pleasure!” for years to come.

New Lite Edition with in-app purchases

We’ve been thinking about this and discussing internally for a while now, but just couldn’t figure out exactly how it should work. Well, we think we’ve finally got it.

IntelliJ IDEA needs a new edition. Yes, two editions are just not enough. The choice is too difficult for too many people. Beginning with the next version we are going to introduce a new edition of IntelliJ IDEA (and later other IntelliJ-based IDEs) — IntelliJ IDEA Lite.

Key to the new edition will be in-app purchases. Yes, exactly, this is so simple yet so brilliant, we’re sure you’ll love it. In-app purchases are something all of us and our children are so used to with modern software that it should be very natural for everyone.

Feature Credits and In-app Purchases

It’s going to be simple. While using the IDE or other JetBrains products (coming later in TeamCity as well) you will earn a virtual currency, JetBrains Feature Credits (JFC). The more proficient you are with the IDE and the better you know it, the more JFCs you collect automatically. You will need JFCs to unlock premium features of the IDE like even faster indexing, additional code analysis routines, fully-automated refactorings, new color schemes, or promoting your build on the build server. If you need more credit, you can purchase JFCs for real money right from within the IDE.

You may want to start learning the IDE productivity features right away, so you are ready when we go live. Here are three things to get you started:

  1. IDE Productivity Guide, open it from the Help menu to see your current progress and what else you can learn.
  2. IntelliJ IDEA Code Golf plugin, to check your grasp of IDE features and compete with others.
  3. IDE keymaps. Get them from the Help menu too and learn them by heart.

It’s important to note that 3rd-party plugins will also be able to implement in-app purchases. If you’ve got a killer plugin, we’re happy to share the profits!

Gaming API

What is more entertaining that creating great software? Well, games of course. We all play games, no matter our age or gender. Games are not just time-killers, they stimulate our brain and help us solve more difficult problems while we play.

Right now we are working on an IntelliJ Game SDK that will make it easy for everyone to embed their games inside IntelliJ-based IDEs.

The new EAP build of IntelliJ IDEA already includes two games that you can run when you need to switch context or relax and let your brain find the solution for you:

        1. The never-dying classic


        . To run the game just select New File and start digging old-school.




        , a fresh killer game by Gabriele Cirulli, a 19-year-old Italian web developer.


Sign in to your IDE

To make IntelliJ IDEA even more personalized, you will now have an online profile that you will use to log in to your IDE. You’ll be able to compare your progress and achievements with the rest of IntelliJ IDEA users around the world and compete with them.

Version Number

It was also a big surprise for us to find that so many people prefer to stay away from the number 13 whatever it takes. Not that we noticed any serious issues with upgrades or new license purchases, but we would like to offer everyone equal numerical opportunities. To that end, we’re renaming IntelliJ IDEA 13 to IntelliJ IDEA 14-1, effective today. The new EAP build is already using the new version number.

That’s the short version of the plan. We’ll be elaborating on the specifics in later posts. Stay tuned, and do let us know what you think!

This entry was posted in EAP Releases, Featured Plugins, New Features. Bookmark the permalink.

69 Responses to Where Is IntelliJ IDEA Headed?

  1. Kiean says:

    Will JFC apply to the Ultimate Edition of IntelliJ or just IntelliJ Lite?

    • Eugene Toporov says:

      Kiean, Ultimate will contain the complete feature set with no in-app purchases needed. But you can earn JFC using the Ultimate edition too. It will be stored in your profile and you can spend it in other products.

  2. Tommy says:

    Had me for a minute. Guess it’s already the 1st in Eastern Europe 😉

  3. Gilles Philippart says:

    Nice april’s fool :-)

  4. Anver Bogatov says:

    So sad it’s just Apirl’s fool.. I think that In-App purchases is the great idea for IDEA because Ultimate edition is expensive but not all features are used in companies. So, allow choosing own feature set it is a great way to improve usability of product, I think.

  5. Prem says:

    I kind of believed everything until I reached the games section. :)

  6. Dirk Rademann says:

    Good one.

  7. tommy says:

    but I so dearly want those stats!
    pretty please witch sugar on top.

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  9. Marcin says:

    Oooohh, you almost had me! The games SDK did reveal the joke :)

  10. Alex says:

    wait 3h47min for new build, or buy 50 Gems for 9.99$

  11. Philippe says:

    Pay only for what I need in the IDE is a great idea because because personnal licence for ultimate edition is too expensive.

  12. Antoine says:

    You can lower your productivity by creating a text file named digger.txt … 😛

  13. Chris says:

    The other easter egg (that you don’t mention here, so I won’t describe it to keep the surprise for others) really had me stumped. I was up coding after midnight and initially thought I was hallucinating! It took me about 10 minutes to track down the culprit. Initially I was blaming it on a Linux VM I had running fullscreen behind the IDEA window (also fullscreen). Very subtle, well played!

  14. hos says:

    The 2048 thing pops up but does not take focus, can’t play

  15. Anver Bogatov says:

    One more easter egg is… Just try not to move mouse for a while :)

  16. Sylvain says:

    Loved the smoke effect, but had to downgrade since “Go to Declaration” action (Ctrl^B) doesn’t work with mouse, which is very annoying for code reviews…

  17. Ivan says:

    It is funny, but how can I switch off 2048-popup-game and smoke effect?

  18. Anver Bogatov says:

    Guys, I have just added feature request to Intellij IDEA bugtracker with “Intellij-IDEA feature-set as In-App purchase”. Don’t be shy and vote up please if you think that idea is really great: http://youtrack.jetbrains.com/issue/IDEA-123247

  19. Rob says:

    How to turn off the game popup and the smoke effect. Its very anoing. Thanks.

    • Steve says:

      I can’t agree more… I’ve had it 6 times so far and it is really, really starting to get on my nerves!

      • Eugene Toporov says:

        Rob, Steve, really sorry to hear.
        Just want to say it will all go away once today ends.
        Maybe switching to the previous version for the rest of today will be a good idea for you.


        • Steve says:

          Eugene: Nothing wrong with a little fun here and there but I’ve paid good money for this editor and it’s been throwing this in my face every half hour or so. I’m really trying focus and it’s just messing with my concentration. At least give people the option of “no more” or something with a prank like that in the future.

        • Rob says:

          Looks like it somehow got released without the turn-off switch. If this is fixed soon, then no worries.

          (Anyhow, great work in general, guys).

        • MuppetGate says:

          If you’re going do something like this every year, could you bear in mind that April’s Fools Day might actually fall on a busy working day for some of us, so include some way of turning off the ‘fun’ stuff?

        • Boop says:

          This was a horrible day at work because the 2048 game kept popping up, stealing focus. I wanted some of the other changes in the EAP build. I had no idea it would be so annoying to use.

          At least it’s not like I paid for this thing that I use to do my job and it’s actively sabotaging me…hmm…

          • Eugene Toporov says:

            We would never do this in a stable version but we underestimated the number of people who would download this Early Access build.
            We’re sorry for making this too annoying and w/o a way to turn off.

  20. Bogdan says:

    I was terrified reading this before somewhere in the middle of the text I realized that it’s a joke. Phew!

  21. Art Zemon says:

    I can’t wait for the Android edition in the Play store!!! I can’t tell you how many times I have been too focused at work… getting a headache… and wished for the interruption of a microtransaction. You guys are brilliant!

  22. Tilman Rossmy says:

    Love the smoke! Was already googling for No time to explain virus on Ubuntu;-)
    Keep on rocking!

  23. Ram says:

    Really I would prefer if Idea provide a timer (Pomodoro) without downloading a plugin with TODO and all the Pomodoro features that will be Great.. :)

    Atleast by end of day or month we can see the progress of our work. Total time spent like if one pomodoro is over and still user is interacting with the IDE to count or not to be left on user but else it would be great to have feature.

  24. Carl says:

    I can understand how this might be fun for the dev team, or fun for developers for a minute, but this really goes to far. I have a release to cut and I’m trying to focus. I really don’t need the audio and this incessant game popup. The game doesn’t even work for me.

    It’d be tolerable if there was some way to turn it off, but I there doesn’t appear to be. Again, it’s nice to have fun, but it’s like an annoying coworker trying to pull the same prank over and over again every half hour while I’m trying to meet a deadline. I hope you won’t do this again, or I hope if you do you put in a setting to turn it off.

    I’m not understanding why this is only in EAP. I paid money for a professional editor. If you want to put it in the community edition, go to it.

    • Carl says:

      Oh, I suppose I was mixing up EAP with Ultimate. Still though, annoying.

      • Eugene Toporov says:

        Hello Carl,
        Please accept our apologies for making this too annoying and w/o a turn off switch. We’ve learned the lesson.
        We also underestimated the number of people who would download this pre-release Early Access build.

  25. Hi,
    I vote for tetris .. (like emacs) …:)

    Great work people :)


  26. Daniel Jomphe says:

    How do you disable the smoke screensaver? It’s still affecting me today!

    Hmm, thinking about it, “did you try turning it off and on again?” is something I’m yet to try. Since the 2048 stopped popping out, I assumed everything would be in order but the smoke continues to pop out.

    Otherwise I’ll roll back to the previous release, which supported C-click correctly to navigate to the implementation of a function, but which is broken in this EAP.

  27. Loïc Prieto says:

    Man, I was enraging with the in-app purchases!

  28. Valeri Sarantchouk says:

    April 1st joking aside… What I would like to see in near future from Intellij in IDEA (the one I currently use is v13.0.3) is Git support that makes IntelliJ+Git combination easier to use. IDEA seems to operate on some smart assumptions that are not so obvious. Here is a list of tasks I find challenging enough: 1) install IDEA onto a brand new Windows machine and then try to clone a project from a shared “public” remote Git repository. The immediate problem is that the IDE doesn’t fully open because there are no known projects and does not present any option to connect to remote Git repository and clone it – not only me, everyone in the team resorted to EGit plugin in Eclipse. 2) Synchronize your local workspace with remote “public” Git repository, see outgoing and incoming changes in a dedicated window, and be able to see the diff on individual files BEFORE I run “pull”, and [most important] allow to merge the conflicting files after the “pull”. None of this is possible with IntelliJ as of v13. I know that this may not exactly map to Git’s philosophy or commands, but EGit got away with it and won… So everyone in the team ended up using IDEA for coding – because of its blazingly fast, precise and predictable at it, and using Eclipse+EGit to synchronize with remote “public” Git repo (or command line git stash, git pull, git stash pop, manually resolve conflicts, git add). Just wish my favorite IDE to be even better.

    • Kirill Likhodedov says:

      Valeri, thanks for your feedback.
      1) Choose Checkout from Version Control -> Git. You’ll be presented with a clone dialog, enter the URL and click Clone. After clone is completed, you’ll be asked whether you want to open/create a project from the cloned sources.
      2) Use Update Project (or simply Git | Pull) to pull from the tracked branch, or skip the step and update before push automatically (happens if the push is rejected). Incoming/outgoing changes view is not implemented yet indeed: please vote: http://youtrack.jetbrains.com/issue/IDEA-24057

  29. Tadas Krivickas says:

    Jokes aside, profile/settings sync via sign-in would actually make sense.

  30. Darren S. Eyers says:

    Big things for me are the simple small things:
    1. The ability to get latest update when one or more updates have been missed (one for managers). Sometimes get download even when just a few minor revisions up. Possibly we could have download just update file too as standalone file?
    2. Front dashboard shows the “whole” path to the project. Once you select an item it then goes into the main IDE
    3. When items are not mapped for Spring, Struts etc. would like to see a dialog come up with everything mapped as a suggestion. Usually get two things: click apply or some things or specify files are spring files. Want IDE to just give me one screen for this.
    4. Possibly out of the box integration with The Dynamic Code Evolution Virtual Machine (DCE VM)?
    5. Maven user settings path be read from environment (existing bug for that one of the three fields)

  31. Darren S. Eyers says:

    Plus when run IDE after extracting zip have the following:
    1. Change path for Inteli files (idea.config.path=${user.home}) to ? usualy I swap with ${idea.home}
    2. Ability to change memory settings in idea*.exe.vmoptions file

  32. Darren S. Eyers says:

    Plus the team have had issues with the JavaScript plugin we use with chrome. Various issues.

    One key thing would be if worked with JavaScript which is in referenced files (good programming). We tend to have a mixture of JS in JSP pages and referenced as was originally offshore developed.

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  34. Alexander Obuhovich says:


    I’m a PhpStorm user. At which version the “Sign in to your IDE” will be available there?

  35. Stuart Rackham says:

    I use WebStorm for JavaScript and TypeScript development and absolutely love it, but…

    Please consider developing and online web-based IDE. A year ago Cloud9 was just an interesting toy — today it has per-project Docker Linux VMs and it’s starting to look like only a matter of time before it becomes a usable stand-alone proposition for Web development. Even MS is dipping its toes in the water with its VS Monaco Online.

    I love using a Chromebook when away from the office (and increasingly in the office) the prospect of a develop-anywhere browser-based environment is and attractive proposition. Online platforms are also a natural fit for collaborative tools.

    JetBrains has the tools (Kotlin to JavaScript compiler) and has already build a mini-IDE for the browser (the Kotlin Web Demo).

  36. TWiStErRob says:

    Damn, when you read these blog posts post-April-1st you really believe it especially if you don’t check the date. It’s not a bad idea though, I’d be happy to upgrade my Community edition to Ultimate just by using it for free.

    • Eugene Toporov says:

      Even the craziest ideas can become reality some day :)
      “Sign in to your IDE” mentioned above is already available!

      Also, it’s probably a good idea to add a note about the post being ‘April 1st’ joke. :)
      Will do.

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