Features Releases

IntelliJ IDEA 2016.3 GA: Java 8 and ES6, Debugger and UI improvements, and a Ton More

Please meet IntelliJ IDEA 2016.3, the third massive IDE update planned for this year. Two years ago we used to have one major release per year. Now we have three and all feature-rich – not to mention tons of minor bugfix releases.


Read below to see the highlights of this update:


  • Refactoring to Java 8. Since Java 8 was released, IntelliJ IDEA has been providing inspections that help write correct and idiomatic Java 8. With this update, we’ve gone further and extended our existing inspections to support non-trivial cases. Now, if you press Alt+Enter inside a non-trivial for-loop, the IDE will prompt you to replace it with an chain of stream API calls. The quick-fix will leverage count, sum, flatMap, map, mapToInt, collect, filter, anyMatch, findFirst, toArray, and other APIs if necessary. Also, when appropriate, the IDE will prompt you to replace certain code with Map.computeIfAbsent, Collections.removeIf or ThreadLocal.withInitial. (Note: a similar quick-fix is now available for Kotlin as well.)


  • Scala.js. The Scala plugin now provides code completion and quick navigation for js.Dynamic–based on fields and methods defined in JavaScript libraries or project files.
  • Scala Meta. Another major plugin improvement is support for scala.meta. IntelliJ IDEA supports new-style macro annotations and provides coding assistance for scala.meta quasiquotes.

JVM Debugger

  • Class-level Watches. This powerful new feature lets you define Watch expressions on the class level. These watches appear as extra fields of the class but their value is evaluated based on your expressions. An expression for class-level watches is defined in the context of the class.
  • Memory View. This is a new plugin that lets you explore objects in the JVM heap during a debug session. It shows you the total number of objects in the heap grouped by their class name. As you step over the code, the Diff column shows how this number changes between debugger stops. Double-click a class name to open a dialog with instances of this class. If needed, the plugin is also capable of tracking stacktraces for chosen classes.

User Interface

  • Parameter Hints. This new feature, enabled by default, shows the names of method parameters for passed values that are literals or nulls. These hints make code more readable. If you find hints redundant for certain methods, you can tell the IDE to hide hints for these methods.
  • Semantic Highlighting, previously introduced in KDevelop and some other IDEs, is now available in IntelliJ IDEA. It extends the standard syntax highlighting with unique colors for each parameter and local variable. This feature is disabled by default but can be found in SettingsEditorColors & FontsLanguage DefaultsSemantic highlighting.
  • Flat file Icons. We’ve also reworked file icons for a more flat design. While the new icons may look unusual, we believe they feel more sharp and less noisy.

Build Tools

  • Delegate IDE build/run actions to Gradle. Allows you to delegate the native IntelliJ IDEA Build, Build Artifacts (both WAR and EAR) and Run actions to Gradle. When this option is enabled, all these actions are performed via the corresponding Gradle tasks. The Runaction is delegated to the dynamic Gradle JavaExec task configured according to the run configuration. To enable this option, check SettingsBuild, Execution, Deployment  → Build Tools  → Gradle  → Runner  → Delegate IDE build/run actions to Gradle.
  • Gradle Composite Builds. New powerful option that lets you substitute any of your Gradle dependencies with another project. This feature requires Gradle 3.1 or higher.
  • Polyglot Maven. A set of Maven extensions that allows the POM file to be written in Groovy, Scala, Ruby and other languages. While project import works for any language, coding assistance within POM files is available only for Groovy.


  • Git/Mercurial Log. The Log viewer has been reworked some more, this time mainly to improve its ergonomics and speed. Commit details have moved to the right, giving you more screen space. Commit messages in the table are now aligned and thus more  readable. Labels have been moved to the right and are now displayed in a more elegant way. Filter values now persist between IDE restarts. For Git, searching via the Text, Author and Path filters is now much faster.
  • Merge and Diff. The Merge dialog now show a Resolve icon on the left side of the Editor when the IDE is capable of resolving the conflict automatically. We’ve added line markers to the dialog to indicate actual changes to the base revision. Last but not least, both Diff and Merge now provide full syntax highlighting for non-local revisions.
  • Managing Remotes. Now, the IDE provides an interface for managing Git remotes for every repo in the project.


  • ECMAScript 6. IntelliJ IDEA now reports all var declarations and helps replace them with let or const declarations, depending on recognized value semantics. For all require() calls, the IDE now provides a quick-fix that replaces them with import statements. For function calls and prototype chains, the IDE provides a quick-fix that replaces them with class statements. Other improvements include better support for destructuring assignments, and default exports.
  • TypeScript. TypeScript gets a more accurate rename refactoring for overridden methods, and a quick-fix to shorten import statements.
  • Flow. Now, when you set the JavaScript version to Flow, the IDE reports problems in the files annotated with “// @flow” on the fly.

Application Servers

  • TomEE 7. The support for TomEE has been updated to its major version.
  • Liberty. Loose applications are now supported and can be run from the IDE. To run a loose application, open the Deployment tab of your WebSphere Run configuration and select the loose application XML file–instead of an artifact.

React Native

  • Debugger. Now you can run and debug React Native apps without leaving IntelliJ IDEA.


  • Blueprint. A new mode in the Designer that hides all of the visuals from views and shows only their outlines. You can choose to have it side by side with the Designer.
  • Constraint Layout. This is a new layout manager which allows you to create large and complex layouts with a flat view hierarchy. It’s similar to Relative Layout in that all views are laid out according to relationships between sibling views and the parent layout, but it’s more flexible and easier to use.
  • Instant Run. The update has brought many stability and reliability improvements to Instant Run. If you have previously disabled it, the Android team encourages you to re-enable it.
  • APK Analyzer. It lets you drill into your APK to help you reduce your APK size, debug 64K method limit issues, view contents of Dex files and more.


  • Editing Multiple Cells. Now you can edit several similar cells at once. Select several cells and start typing a value.
  • Bulk Submit. Now changes made in the Table Editor are stored locally and submitted in bulk, via Ctrl+Enter (Cmd+Enter for OS X). Changes not yet submitted can be canceled via Undo.
  • Finding Usages. Now you can find usages of database objects inside the source code of other objects. For instance, you can find which stored procedures, functions or views use a given table.


  • Google Cloud Tools. Google has introduced their own IDE plugin for deploying to Google App Engine. Eventually this plugin will replace the Google App Engine plugin provided with us.
  • OpenShift Origin (V3). The updated integration lets create OpenShift 3 applications and manage their resources such as projects, services and pods.

Toolbox App

  • Toolbox App is a new desktop application that lets you install and update all JetBrains IDEs with ease. Learn more.

For more details and screenshots about the new features, check out the What’s New page. All impatient, proceed directly to the Download page.

Note, if you have an IntelliJ IDEA license purchased before November 2015, you can purchase a new subscription at 40% off. This offer to be redeemed no later than Jan 1, 2017.

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