fredag 6 november 2015

JetBrains shot themselves in the foot with their new pricing model

I've been an avid Intellij user since ~5 years back when I finally took the dive and walked away from Eclipse. Suffice to say I've been very impressed with the tooling and consider myself as a better developer when I'm armed with it.

The IDE has also been instrumental in showing me the "right way" to develop with it's hints, auto completion etc. I can therefore probably say that it has helped me shape the type of developer I am today and how I like to get stuff done.
Jetbrains domination over the JVM IDE tooling market has been all but complete as nowadays you hardly see any other IDE's being used, especially not if you look at what conference speakers and other types of influencers use.

This type of monopoly is always dangerous as it is really easy to get locked up with one vendor which is seldom a very good thing. Recently Jetbrains announced their new pricing model (latest update) which will mean that it becomes quite a lot more expensive for the typical Intellij Ultimate user. The backlash was not late to be seen in their forums and on blogs as users were anxious about how a "rent-your-IDE" model would hurt them in the end.

I can only speak for myself, but the first thing I did after I read the announcment was to give Netbeans a second (or perhaps tenth?) chance at winning me over. What I saw was a fairly complete IDE that except for some styling warts nowadays seems to work pretty well. We're all still waiting for the ES6 support, but once that is in place I think that I definitely could use it during my day to day work.

Just this day another thought crossed my mind though:

Intellij IDEA comes in two flavors, a community edition as well as the Ultimate edition.
If you look at the comparison matrix you'll see that the biggest missing features of the free community edition are:

  • HTML / Javascript support
  • Server support (Run Tomcat / JBoss / Websphere et al.)
  • Framework support (Spring beans / xml context, Java EE etc..)

Now I don't know about you, but these features are stuff that I'm more than willing to give up as the typical software stack of a JVM developer has changed quite radically lately.

  • As we're all building runnable JAR types of applications you really do not have the need to manage the typical Tomcat / Java EE servers anymore.
  • Frameworks are loosing their significance as well as more of the open source world is moving towards a library mindset rather than heavy frameworks to adapt to. Take Spark, Ratpack, RxNetty, Spring boot etc as examples.
  • HTML / Javascript is a bummer to loose, but personally I've been using Sublime coupled with some favourite plugins for that kind of environment. Sublime is mature, fast and has a lot of momentum going for it. It's a perfect solution to HTML/JS development with its abundance of linters, language and framework plugins etc.

It just strikes me that a feature complete IDE's is not as relevant in the modern JVM developer toolbox and it will be interesting to see how adoption of the new pricing model will turn out.

I'm predicting that the outcome of the pricing change is that modern JVM developers will probably do one of the following:

  • Switch to Netbeans one it's Javascript support is up to par
  • Use Intellij Community coupled with Sublime text for the front end development
  • Toss the JVM, drink the cool-aid and join the Node team

And no Eclipse, we will not let you fool us to coming back again. Don't even consider yourself as an alternative.

What's your take?

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