What Happened To My IDEA Classpath?

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Brian M. Coyner
Aug. 01, 2003 08:24 PM

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URL: http://www.intellij.net/eap...

Creating IDEA Projects Just Got Harder

Last night I decided to play around with Java generics. The easiest way to learn, in my opinion, is with a good editor that quickly highlights syntax errors. Of course, I am talking about IDEA. Currently, only the early access version (build 876 at the time of this writing) supports generics. So I downloaded this version and started getting ready to code my heart out. But something happened...

Where Is The Classpath?

Okay, I have long been an advocate of IDEA, and let's face it, it is the best IDE out there. I am sure we all have our favorite IDEA features, but I would like to point out one in particular: the simplicity of creating a project. I can setup a project in a matter of minutes (as long as I know where everything is at). When setting up a project IDEA uses terms like:

  • Project
  • Sourcepath
  • Classpath

All Java developers know what goes on the classpath (or at least they should). Most developers can quickly figure out what the sourcepath is for. Even the project path is self-explanatory. So what is my point you ask? Well the folks at IDEA changed how a project is created and maintained. Now we have terms like:

  • Contents
  • Libraries
  • Add Classes
  • Attach Classes
  • Add Named Library
  • Add Global Library
  • Add Project Library

Things were a lot simpler when I just had a classpath. I am also really curious on the difference between Add Classes and Attach Classes. They sound similar, don't they? I guess I could read their documentation to find out, but remember before I was just dealing with the classpath. I guess that Add Classes adds new files to the classpath, and perhaps Attach Classes attaches classes to, well, uh... I don't know.

What Can The IntelliJ Folks Do?

I enjoy providing suggestions when ranting. My suggestion to the IDEA folks is to give us a simple way to create a project. I want a classpath, sourcepath, and project path. I want to code, not think about how to elegantly setup an environment in an IDE. I'll use Ant to create a pristine development environment. I want IDEA to let me code.

I must end on a positive note. IDEA still rocks! The new features that are in the latest build are really slick. The UI is very responsive, too, despite the occasional error dialog. I still recommend IDEA to all Java developers. Of course, the price has gone up considerably. I just hope I am able to afford the upgrade for the next release. Perhaps they'll give me a discount. ;-)

Brian M. Coyner is coauthor of the Java Extreme Programming Cookbook and a Senior Software Engineer with Object Computing, Inc. in St. Louis, Missouri.