Eclipse is by far the best and most widely-used IDE for developing with Java. It is free, open-source, and provides a wide range of support for a lot of things that you would have to break your back over otherwise. It’s safe to say that Eclipse comes recommended by at least 90% of professional programmers out there. I’ve been working with Eclipse for nearly two years, during the time which I advanced from Eclipse Europa to Ganymede to Galileo. And yes, I certainly would recommend them all.
The Benefits of Eclipse are many. To start with it’s not just an IDE for Java. You can also use plugins to program using C, C++ and even Python. Eclipse is also relatively easy going on resources meaning that it doesn’t freeze up ever so often. It’s also an excellent IDE to debug with, and managing imports and packages has never been easier.
The list of available Eclipse plug ins are also incredible. There’s plugins for AspectJ, Ant, Corba, RSS, SAP, SCM and loads loads more. Plus it’s easy to link up with JProbe etc. for your testing needs. And yes, all this is FREE. But that’s not all, if you’re a newbie whose having trouble with the Hibernate framework then you could easily skip to myEclipse, a related IDE that is just for that purpose. I’ve never personally worked with MyEclipse, but I’m told that it’s really really great. But one more thing before you rush to the downloads page – you need at least JRE 5 for Eclipse. Yeah, so if you’re working with older stuff then I’m afraid you’ll have to go without.