As a Java developer, whether you are a novice or seasoned one, you might have definitely come across three major terms, namely a framework, text editor, and IDE. All these tools collectively facilitate the development of Java applications. They assist Java developers in writing clean and readable Java code that runs efficiently.
If you are a seasoned Java developer, you might have already worked with various Java frameworks, text editors, and IDEs and know how all these tools differ from each other. However, if you are a novice in the programming world, you need to know the difference between a Java framework, text editor, and IDE.
So, I have created this article for you to have a better grasp of a Java framework, text editor, and IDE and how they differ.
- 1 Java Framework
- 2 Spring framework
- 3 Google web toolkit (GWT)
- 4 JavaServer Faces (JSF)
- 5 Hibernate
- 6 Vaadin
- 7 Text Editor
- 8 Integrated Development Environment (IDE)
- 9 Framework vs IDE
- 10 IDE vs Text Editor
- 11 Code Editor vs IDE
- 12 Best IDEs and Editors for Java
- 13 Summary
A Java framework is a platform of pre-written code that assists developers in writing Java programs and creating robust Java applications, eliminating the need to write everything from scratch. It leverages code provided by developers for custom functionality.
In other terms, a framework serves as a foundation or skeleton for building Java applications and comes with pre-written classes and functions for processing inputs and managing the interaction between hardware devices and the system software.
In general, frameworks are a unique type of software library composed of reusable code. Along with a framework, a library is widely used in Java development. It is a collection of pre-written code to accomplish a specific task.
Some of the top most popular Java Frameworks include but are not limited to:
You might have been perplexed between a framework and a library after reading their definitions. However, both are not the same thing.
Following are some properties of Java frameworks that set them apart from libraries or everyday user applications:
- Default Behavior: Each Java framework’s default behavior is distinct. However, the Java programming language should benefit from the default behavior of a framework.
- Non-Modifiable Code: Java frameworks do not allow developers to alter their codebase. Instead, you can extend the functionality of a Java framework by adding your own code.
- Inversion of Control: The framework, as opposed to libraries or standard user applications, determines a program’s general flow of control, not the caller, as is the case with those programs or libraries.
- Extensibility: As discussed above, you can extend a framework’s functionality by adding custom code.
In Java, a text editor aids in writing and editing text. With the aid of a text editor, which is essentially a computer application, a user can write, modify, save, and typically print text.
When you use a text editor for writing Java programs, you will find a display with an empty screen having a fixed length of line and highlighting the number to each line as you start writing a Java program. This makes it easy for you to know how many lines your Java program consists of.
Moreover, the Java text editor gives you access to a unique command line that lets you change the document’s overall layout, scroll ahead or backward, make global changes, save the document, and carry out other operations. Once you’ve finished saving the document, you can print it off or view it on a screen.
In order to format a document for a particular output device or class of output devices, it can be done before printing or displaying it. In Java, a text editor facilitates the generation of documents like technical manuals and helps with the insertion of Java program language source statements.
- Java Text Editor: jEdit, TextPad, Edit Plus, R text
- Text Editors in IBM Computers: XEDIT
- UNIX Systems Text Editors: Vi and Emacs
- Text Editor for Personal Computers: Word processors
Differences between Text Editor and Word Processor
A word processor is a software program that offers some more features, along with the fundamental editing, input, formatting, and output of the text. It is a desktop application that creates error-free documents. The best example of a word processor is WordPad.
On the other hand, a text editor is a computer program that assists you in editing plain text. It provides you with the ability to add, remove, and change characters or words from a particular file or document. In short, we can say that a text editor is a tool for dealing with plain text. The best example of a text editor is NotePad.
Integrated Development Environment (IDE)
An integrated development environment (IDE) is a software that unites all the essential developer tools in a single graphical user interface (GUI). Every IDE typically consists of a source code editor, a compiler or interpreter, and a debugger.
A Java IDE is a software program that combines the necessary developer tools required for building Java applications under one roof.
Therefore, we can say that an IDE is a central interface for several tools required for software development.
Some of the major tools an IDE comprises are as follows:
- Code editor: The developer can write and edit source code using this tool, which functions as a text editor. However, code editors differ from text editors because they offer various other features aligned with coding, such as syntax highlighting, auto code completion, etc.
- Compiler: In an integrated development environment (IDE), a compiler is a computer program that converts the source you write in high-level languages into a low-level language or machine code so that machines can interpret and execute it.
- Debugger: In an IDE, a debugger’s primary use is when a piece of code needs to be tested. A debugger tests the source code, identifies errors or bugs, and fixes them immediately.
- Build automation tools: The build automation features in an IDE are used to automate various simple tasks, such as compiling source code, running automated tests, etc.
The tools listed above are included with every IDE, but many IDEs also have the following tools:
- Class browser: This tool comes in handy when you work with object-oriented programming languages. It is in charge of studying and referencing the properties of an object-oriented class hierarchy.
- Object browser: It monitors all the objects instantiated in the source code.
- Class hierarchy diagram: This tool lets you visualize the structure of the object-oriented programming code.
Now that we have discussed a Java framework, text editor, and IDE, it is time to discuss how they differ from each other. Let us start with the difference between framework and IDE.
Framework vs IDE
A framework is a collection of pre-written non-modified code that forms a basis for developing applications. To put it simply, it is a structure in which you build your applications. On the flip side, an IDE (Integrated Development Environment) provides various developer tools in a single application, such as a code editor, debugger, compiler, and many others.
With a framework, you need to have to write everything from the group up for your applications. It controls all low-level functionality while allowing you to focus on the high-level functionality of your application. And to develop high-level functionality (write the source code), you need to use an IDE.
So, a framework and an IDE complement each other and reduce the development effort of programmers. Popular Java frameworks include Spring, Hibernate, and Strut, and Java code editors are NetBeans, Eclipse, and IntelliJ.
IDE vs Text Editor
The primary difference between IDE and Text Editor is that an IDE is a suite of tools and a fully-fledged environment for developing software applications, while a text editor is a tool or computer program just to write and edit plain text.
Here is full comparison between an IDE and a text editor:
|It is a complete development environment that consolidates various developer tools, including a source code editor, compiler, and debugger.||It is a computing program for writing and editing plain text.|
|An IDE lets you write source code and compile, debug, and run it within the same graphical user interface.||A text editor simply takes an input, modifies, and displays it as output.|
|It is more expensive than a text editor.||It is less expensive.|
|An IDE requires more memory space, a fast processor, more disk space, and a powerful computer.||A text editor operates on a computer system with lower hardware specifications.|
|Eclipse, NetBeans, and IntelliJ are popular Java IDEs.||Notepad and WordPad are typical text editors for Java.|
Code Editor vs IDE
An IDE is a collection of software development tools meant to simplify the development process. Meanwhile, a code editor is basically a text editor with more capabilities that enhance and speed up the process of code writing. These capabilities may include syntax highlighting, code completion, code refactoring, and more.
The following table highlights the differences between a code editor and IDE:
|A code editor is just analogous to a text editor but comes with some more features to facilitate code writing.||An IDE consolidates all the necessary developer tools into a single application.|
|It provides features like syntax highlighting, auto code completion, preview windows, version control, and multiview.||A code editor is one of the tools of an IDE, along with a debugger, compiler, interpreter, etc.|
|Using a code editor, you can simply write the source code.||With an IDE, you can write, compile, run, and debug the source code.|
|Some common examples of Java code editors are Atom, Brackets, Sublime Text, and Visual Studio Code.||Popular Java IDEs include IntelliJ, Eclipse, NetBeans, and Visual Studio.|
Best IDEs and Editors for Java
Let us now get familiar with some popular and widespread Java IDEs and code editors.
Best IDEs for Java
This IDE enables developers to build different types of Java applications, including Java SE, Java ME, mobile, web, and EJB applications.
- A Java editor with features like syntax highlighting, code refactoring, and auto code completion.
- A visual debugger.
- NetBeans profiler to monitor applications, identify memory leaks, and optimize Java applications.
- A GUI-design tool.
- Support for the version control system (VCS).
- Seamless integration with the Apache Cordova plugin.
- Maven plugged in.
Eclipse is a well-known and second-most-popular integrated development environment for Java development. Developed in Java, it was primarily leveraged for building Java applications.
- A robust Java code editor supports syntax highlighting, code refactoring, and auto code completion.
- Provides a readymade code template.
- A powerful debugger.
- Offers tools for developing Java EE applications.
- Automatic syntax checker.
- Private core repository.
Difference between Eclipse and NetBeans
|Available under Eclipse Public License.||Available under Apache License 2.0.|
|Although Eclipse supports JDBC drivers, they must first be configured to function with databases.||Oracle and MySQL drivers are already included in NetBeans.|
|Best suited for enterprise-grade projects.||Ideal for small to medium-sized projects.|
|Needs you to install plugins.||Comes with drag-and-drop modules and plugins.|
|It is not modular.||Modular in nature.|
|Utilizes a JDT core compiler.||Leverages a Java compiler, i.e., Javac.|
Best Code Editors for Java
- Cross-platform editor
- Built-in package manager
- Smart auto-completion and syntax highlighting
- File system browser
- Supports multi-pane feature
- Sublime Text
Sublime text is yet another cross-platform source code editor that natively supports multiple programming languages, including Java. It lets you extend its functionality using plugins.
- Quick navigation to files, a line of code inside a file, and even a symbol inside a file.
- Simultaneously editing
- Cross-platform editor
- Autocomplete and syntax highlighting
- Spell check function
- Supports multiple panes
Though its primary focus is on web development, Brackets is an ideal source code editor for Java as well. It is a free and open-source code editor that supports various other languages other than Java and web development, such as C, C++, VBScript, Perl, and Python.
- Quick edit and preview
- Live preview
- Quick docs
- Supports multiple file formats
- Autocomplete and syntax highlighting
This ends our discussion on the difference between Java framework, text editor, and IDE.
- A Java framework is a collection of pre-written Java code that manages the low-level functionality of Java applications, allowing developers to concentrate on high-level functionality.
- A text editor is simply a computer program that lets you write and edit plain text.
- IDEs are a suite of all the necessary developer tools, such as a code editor, compiler/interpreter, debugger, and many others, eliminating the need to use and shift between different tools.
- NetBeans is the most popular and Eclipse is the second-most popular Java IDEs.
- Atom, Sublime Text, and Brackets are some of the best editors for Java.