IDE Features Trainer: a New Way to Learn Your IDE

Posted on by Sergey Karashevich

The family of education resources for IntelliJ IDEA welcomes a new member! Now, in addition to “What’s new” videos, documentation, blog posts and screencasts, the IDE Features Trainer plugin is available to help you learn the shortcuts for the most used IDE actions. The current version includes 5 modules: Editor Basics, Completion, Refactoring, Code Assistance and Navigation, each consisting of several lessons.

Let’s take a look at how this works. All plugin info and controls (like tasks and learning progress) are located in the Learn tool window, located near the 1: Project stripe button. To begin learning, set focus to this tool window and choose a module. You will be automatically redirected to the task of the first lesson (or, if you’re resuming learning, the task where you left off).

IDE Feature Trainer screenshow

Each lesson consists of a sequence of tasks. In most of them, you’ll need to invoke the correct action shortcut to progress, while a few may require you to write a certain piece of code.

By default, lessons open tasks in scratch files. Some lessons, however, require a specially pre-configured project (‘Learning project’) to work correctly with the JDK. Fortunately, the plugin itself will warn you about this and will create the necessary project automatically.

Collapse lesson in action

WHO SHOULD USE THIS PLUGIN?

We’ve created this plugin primarily for newcomers to IntelliJ IDEA or those who have recently migrated from another IDE. Its goal is to give you basic shortcuts so you can use the IDE efficiently, right now. Which is not to say that advanced users won’t find it useful – there are always more things to discover in an IDE like IntelliJ IDEA!

There are a few other useful plugins worth mentioning that help you learn languages in IntelliJ IDEA. There’s one for Python and one for Kotlin. For more advanced users we recommend taking a look at IntelliJ Code Golf. That one helps increase your accuracy in transforming one piece of code to another using a minimum of refactorings.

INSTALLING THE PLUGIN

Like all other plugins for IntelliJ IDEA, you may find it at JetBrains Plugin Repository. Search for the IDE Features Trainer plugin and install it. After a restart, IntelliJ IDEA’s Welcome screen will add a Learn… button. Click it to start IntelliJ IDEA with the learning tool window opened.

 

Welcome Screen

CAN I ADD MY OWN LESSONS?

Indeed, the plugin project is hosted on GitHub and pull requests are welcome! Modules and lessons are described as XML files. To add a custom lesson, create an XML file in a corresponding directory and add a description tag to the XML file of the module.

Each command in your XML file can be one of the following:

  1. Print some text in the Learn tool window,
  2. Show some code in the editor,
  3. Move the caret, or
  4. Show a task in the Learn tool window (and check user actions here).

All lessons should end with a <Win/> tag.

WHAT NEXT?

First, we would be happy to hear your feedback on this, to help us make IDE learning smoother and more useful. Please share your experience with the course, for example by clicking the ‘Send feedback’ button in the Modules view.

Second, we would like to extend our course with more lessons for learning advanced actions or even UI. Stay tuned for more news about this.

And finally, at some point we plan to make a convenient tool for creating new lessons and modules.

If you notice any kind of strange behavior or outright bugs, please report them to the bug tracker.

Thank you, and enjoy learning IntelliJ IDEA!

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26 Responses to IDE Features Trainer: a New Way to Learn Your IDE

  1. Mike says:

    December 16, 2016

    With this plugin installed IDEA doesn’t remember the mode of the left side and bottom bars (you can hide them by clicking on small grey square at the left-bottom corner). Each time I re-run IDEA these bars are displayed even if I closed them before.

    • Sergey Karashevich says:

      December 16, 2016

      This is definitely a bug. Thanks for catching that. We’ll fix it in a next build.

  2. cug says:

    January 11, 2017

    Whoever did this, I love you.
    This is like vimtutor on steroids!
    I invest time in learning shortcuts for my tools, Intellij included. However I never found anything about ⌃G until today.

    I’m looking forward to new lessons.
    Please implement a way to distinguish new lessons coming in updates from lessons already covered if you have the time and resources.

    Thank you!

  3. 志秋 says:

    February 17, 2017

    It’s so cool. I hope to get more courses.

  4. Parag Lohiya says:

    March 8, 2017

    very nice and best way to learn IntelliJ. Where were you before 🙂

  5. Peter Gelderbloem says:

    March 19, 2017

    It doesn’t work for me, clicking in Learning window on left on one of the links like “editor basics” or “completion” brings up a code snippet, but no instructions, the learn tool window doesn’t update at all and just shows links to the categories

  6. Hans says:

    September 27, 2017

    Webstorm 2017.2.4
    MacOS Sierra 10.12.6
    Clicking ‘Learn WebStorm’ does nothing

    Going to https://training.myjetbrains.com/youtrack/newissue gives me a warning about an expired license “Thank you for choosing YouTrack! Your current subscription has ended…”

    • Sergey Karashevich says:

      September 28, 2017

      Hello Hans! Thank you for pointing us this issue, this plugin is still compatible only with IntelliJ IDEA. We are looking forward to implementing lessons for other IDEs. YouTrack project has been updated as well. Thank you again.

  7. XingYi Wei says:

    October 24, 2017

    It best has a feature to start over the entire lessons progress.

  8. Damian Khan says:

    January 13, 2018

    The lessons are great, but the instructions/text in the learn panel does not wrap properly and there will often be words incomplete or missing. Adjusting the size of the panel does not adjust the text area within the panel. Is there a way to adjust the word wrapping or size of the panel containing the lessons. Using on Windows 10 with a 3840×2160 resolution display.

    • Sergey Karashevich says:

      January 15, 2018

      Thank you, Damian, for pointing us to this problem. It is an unknown issue, I’ve made a ticket to track this bug (https://training.myjetbrains.com/youtrack/issue/TP-56).

      • Tim says:

        March 14, 2018

        This is a big roadblock that is preventing me from rolling this out to my students — as many have high-resolution displays.

        • Sergey Karashevich says:

          March 22, 2018

          Tim, thank you for feedback. This issue should be fixed in version 0.8.62. Please try it.

  9. Artem Semenov says:

    April 12, 2018

    Hi!
    I download plugin, but Java lessons not appear.
    Can I download it(course) on local disk somewhere?

    • Sergey Karashevich says:

      April 24, 2018

      Artem, it is better to understand what went wrong. What are IDEA and plugin versions used?

  10. Magnus says:

    September 10, 2018

    Great work!

    Is there an easy way to uncheck completed lessons in order to rerun the course?

  11. thomas salah says:

    September 27, 2018

    Hello,

    unfortunately, I can not open the learn WebStrom plugin with the latest version 2018.2.3
    I have installed the plugin and I can see the “learn Webstorm” link on the starting screen but nothing happen.

    • Sergey Karashevich says:

      September 27, 2018

      Hello Thomas. Unfortunately, IDE Features Trainer plugin is supported only by IntelliJ IDEA and Android Studio, because of almost all the examples are given in Java.

      • thomas salah says:

        September 28, 2018

        hello Sergey,

        Thanks for the fast answer.

  12. Christian Glanz says:

    January 24, 2019

    I cannot finish the course because at “Navigation” step 2 (“Declaration/Implementation”) when I am instructed to press Ctrl+B, which I do, the cursor jumps from “List” to “interface Pigeon” as it probably should. But nothing else happens. I suppose the next tutorial step should appear, but it does not. I can only continue by pressing the “skip to next” button.

    • Sergey Karashevich says:

      January 24, 2019

      Thank you for the feedback. Looks like this issue https://training.myjetbrains.com/youtrack/issue/TP-63. Will fix it in the next version.

      • Andor Horvath says:

        January 25, 2019

        I just found this thread when looked after how could I report this. It behaves just as Christian Glanz described.
        Thanks for the reply on Chhristian’s query.

  13. Dawn says:

    July 18, 2019

    Is there a way to start the lessons over again? I got partway through, then I didn’t use the IDE for a couple of months. It wants me to start where I left off. I’ve tried uninstalling and reinstalling the plugin but no matter what I try, it still thinks I’ve completed some of the lessons. Thanks!

    • Sergey Karashevich says:

      July 18, 2019

      Currently no. You may remove file, which stores your results. Open IDEA’s config folder, than open options subfolder and remove ide-features-trainer.xml.

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