How to choose your IDE for development or test automation

As an automation tester, we spend a lot of time playing around the code, debugging it and reusing it. It’s important to have a good IDE (integrated development environment) where you can save a lot of time while writing code for your automation script.

Although the criteria for selecting the IDE is common for every language. It also depends on the personal preferences, and the kind of requirement one have in their project. In this blog post , I will talk about how to choose your JAVA IDE for Selenium WebDriver test.  An IDE should have following capabilities

  • Little configuration
  • Flexible
  • In-built plugin and build deployment support
  • Smart enough in code completion (most important)
  • Powerful, smart debugging

I have recently started working on a new selenium java project.For me it was not that hard to choose as I had most of experience using Eclipse from my previous projects and no experience using Netbeans and IntelliJ at all. This time I have thought of doing  experiment by using some other IDE

I was a big fan of Eclipse until I figure out the capabilities of IntelliJ IDEA. I have used IntelliJ IDEA community edition and following are some awesome features I have identified which I didn’t notice in Eclipse-

  1. It provides auto-suggestions while reusing variables, keywords and out of box method highlighting
  2.  If you have used some code for which reference is not added, it will suggest you to find maven info and add that in to pom.xml
  3. There is no need to create work space, you can start using/building any project from anywhere
  4. It has in-built support for identifying the possible plugin which can easy user’s work and will suggest you to install that (e.g. if you are using feature file in code , it will suggest to use cucumber plugin automatically)
  5. It has inbuilt ANT, Maven and Gradle support, while creating a java project in IntelliJ it automatically create Gradle, Build.xml and Pom.xml files
  6. It provides inbuilt Git, SVN, TFS support without installing any additional plugin

In a nutshell, conclusion is –

  • Eclispe – Very flexible, not very smart in code completion
  • IntelliJ IDEA – flexible, powerful, best code completion, smart,user-friendly
  • NetBeans – user-friendly, good for JAVA Enterprise beans projects

Current Market trend

According to a recent report by SoftSys the most used IDE by Java developers is Eclipse, which is open source and free to use. The next one is IntelliJ followed by Netbeans. Thus, more often than not cost can be one of the factors, specially if there is not much difference in features between different IDEs. From the perspective of a beginner almost all the IDEs seem identical in terms of their feature set, however, I am sure there are many differences in the details of how those features are exposed and how convenient it is to use them. So, is it just a matter of preference that some people like Eclipse and others like IntelliJ-


According to a recent survey, when people directly asked about choosing the IDE, here is what there response was –


So it’s very clear that as Agile is the new SDLC where all part of software development are aggressively done, so its better to have a powerful and smart IDE for development and save our time. 🙂

How did you choose your current IDE? What are the features that matter when deciding on an IDE? How much would you be willing to pay for it? Do let me know of your thoughts in the comments discussion.

Happy coding 🙂