While Eclipse and IntelliJ are almost identical in terms of their feature sets, there is one key difference which greatly impacts the functionality and user experience of both products.

Auto Save is that feature. IntelliJ has it, Eclipse doesn’t

‘Clearly Intellij is better’, you might say. 'Wish eclipse had it too’, you might say. But things are more complicated than that.

While it may indeed be a pain in the ass to constantly hit Ctrl+s while editing your code, Eclipse makes up for it with its amazing Save Actions feature.

Eclipse and its Save Actions

Save Actions allow eclipse to do a bunch of things every time your document is saved. For example, I have got mine configured to automatically:

  • Organize imports
  • Format code
  • Add missing @Override annotations
  • Remove unused casts

and the list can include much more…

The result of all this is, I literally just have to type my code without worrying about indentation, formatting, imports or anything. Heck, I can type all my code in just one line! But when I hit Ctrl+s, the code auto magically turns into beautifully formatted, perfectly correct Java code.

Intellij’s Auto Save

On the other hand, with IntelliJ there is a certain serenity about never having to think about 'saving’ my code at all. What I see on my screen is what my code is. But that means I also have to constantly use a bunch of keystrokes to accomplish in IntelliJ, what I get for free with Eclipse’s Save Actions.

To Auto Save or Not?

So which is better? The automation offered by Eclipse’s Save Actions or the serenity of never worrying about 'save’ in IntelliJ?

It’s a dilemma.


Jetbrains has posted the following tweets in response to this post:

Good to see they are listening to their community.