10 Essential Tools for Java Developers

In this post, I am going to suggest 10 essential tools for Java developers.

These are the tools that I have been using since my 8 years of experience in Java development.

Let's discuss the widely used tools that make life easier for Java Developers.  These software tools ease the entire process of developing, testing, and deployment of Java/Java EE applications. 

Here is the list of essential tools for Java developers:

1. Apache Maven

2. Gradle

3. Git

4. Jenkins

5. Eclipse and IntelliJ IDEA

6. Docker

7. JIRA

8. SVN

9. Apache Ant

10. Java Decompiler

As a Java programmer, you may already know a few of the tools on this list but if you are new to any of these tools then make sure to check out.

If you are a Java beginner and don't know about these tools then make sure to check out these tools which will help you when you will work on real-time Java projects.

1. Apache Maven

Apache Maven is a software project management and comprehension tool. Based on the concept of a project object model (POM), Maven can manage a project's build, reporting, and documentation from a central piece of information.

Maven is a tool that provides:

- build tool for Java project (jar, war, ear)

- dependency management

- provides plugins

- running unit tests

- deploying artifacts to the central repository

- documentation

- Integrate our Java project with a source control system (such as Subversion or Git)

2. Gradle

Gradle is an open-source build automation tool that is based on the concept of Apache Maven and Apache Ant. It is capable of building almost any type of software. It is designed for the multi-project build, which can be quite large. It introduces a Java and Groovy-based DSL(Domain Specific Language) instead of XML (Extensible Markup Language) for declaring the project configuration.

Gradle is used by many popular Java frameworks such as Spring Projects, Hibernate Projects etc.

3. Git

Git is one more essential tool for Java programmers. It is a free and open-source distributed version control system designed to handle everything from small to very large projects with speed and efficiency.

Real-life projects generally have multiple developers working in parallel. So they need a version control system like Git to make sure that there are no code conflicts between them.

Also, the requirements in such projects change often. So a version control system allows developers to revert and go back to an older version of their code.

I have used Git in many Java projects as a version control system. If you haven't know about Git yet then I highly suggest you guys learn and master advanced Git concepts like branching, merging, and reverting changes etc.

There are three popular Git hosting services: GitHub (owned by Microsoft), GitLab (owned by GitLab), and BitBucket. I am frequently using Git to manage Github repositories.

4. Jenkins

If you are from a DevOps background then you must heard about the Jenkins tool right.

Jenkins is an open-source automation server written in Java. It helps to automate the non-human part of the software development process, like compiling projects, running unit tests, integration tests, generating documentation, and uploading artifacts on both local and remote repository.

This tool is a must for Java developers interested in DevOps. It is a self-contained Java-based program, which runs on Windows, Mac OS X, and other Unix-like operating systems.

It's one of the most popular tools for continuous integration and implementing continuous delivery in your project.

If you have not used Jenkins then you should learn and use Jenkins for your Java projects to automate the different parts of the software development process, like compiling projects, running unit tests, integration tests, generating documentation, and uploading artifacts on both local and remote repository.

5. Eclipse and IntelliJ IDEA

IDE is one of the most important tools for Java programmers to build JAva projects. There are several IDEs (Integrated Development Environments) that are widely used by Java developers such as IntelliJ IDEA, Eclipse and NetBeans etc.

Eclipse is an open-source IDE for developing free and commercial projects. You can use the Eclipse IDE to develop applications in Java, Python, Ruby, C, C++, etc.

IntelliJ IDEA is the most powerful, popular, and fully-featured IDE for Java Developers.

The IntelliJ IDEA comes in two editions – A free community edition and an Ultimate edition. 

The free community edition of IntelliJ IDEA offers the basic features useful for developing Android and Java applications. This IDE supports many languages from Java, Kotlin, Scala, Android, Mercurial, Groovy, Gradle, Git, SVN, SBT, and CVS and also offers basics (yet essential) features like code completion, deep static analysis, intelligent refactorings, debugger, test runner, etc. 

The Ultimate Edition, on the other hand, has the most advanced set of features for developing web and desktop applications. It supports the integration of spring framework, web development framework like Node.js, Angular, and React, Java EE support such as JSF, JAX-RS, JPA, CDI, etc.

6. Docker

Docker is my favorite container tool for deploying Java applications. Docker is an essential tool for Java Developers working on Enterprise application development projects. It is a container platform that helps to build, manage, and secure a range of traditional applications as well as microservices.

Docker is a software platform that allows you to build, test, and deploy applications quickly. Docker packages software into standardized units called containers that have everything the software needs to run including libraries, system tools, code, and runtime. Using Docker, you can quickly deploy and scale applications into any environment and know your code will run.

If you are planning for developing and deploying applications for the cloud, then Docker is an essential tool to learn.

7. JIRA

JIRA is powered by features and functions to support Agile methodologies, and so it is a must-know tool for developers working in Java development companies that follow Agile methodology. It is used for bug tracking, issue tracking, and project management.

If you are following Agile development methodology, e.g. Sprint and Scrum, then you must know JIRA. It allows you to create Spring cycles and track the progress of your software development.

8. SVN

In my 8 years of Java experience, I have widely used SVN as version control for Java/Java EE projects.

SVN stands for Subversion. It is a centralized version control system. It is an open-source tool for version control.

SVN is used to manage the current and previous versions of files like source code, documentation, and files. It acts as the time machine for the developers and allows them to go back and browse the history of the project.

Some other popular version control systems like Git are in trend now, but there are a large number of projects that are still running on the Subversion.

9. Apache Ant

Apart from Maven or Gradle, some of the Java projects still use Apache Ant as build tool. Ant is a Java library and a software tool used for automating software build processes such as compile, run, test, and assemble Java application.

Ant uses XML to describe build code and by default, its XML file name is build.xml.

10. Java Decompiler

Sometimes, we need to view the  .class files source code and that is where we need the Java decompiler tool.

We use Java decompiler to decompile and analyze Java “byte code”. It is not possible to read bytecode right so we need to decompile it into Java code using Decompiler Code.

You can either use the Decompiler plugin in IDE's ( such as Eclipse) to decompile and analyze Java “byte code” or you can use JD-GUI tool.

JD-GUI tool is a “Java Decompiler project” that aims to develop tools in order to decompile and analyze Java 5 “byte code” and the later versions.

11. Putty and WinSCP

WinSCP (Windows Secure Copy) is a free and open-source SFTP, FTP, WebDAV, Amazon S3, and SCP client for Microsoft Windows. Its main function is to secure file transfer between a local and a remote computer.

PuTTY is used to interact with the server directly. Putty is just a command-line interface to your server.

Conclusion

In this post, we have discussed 10 essential tools for Java developers. 

Basically, we have discussed below 10 tools in detail:

1. Apache Maven

2. Gradle

3. Git

4. Jenkins

5. Eclipse and IntelliJ IDEA

6. Docker

7. JIRA

8. SVN

9. Apache Ant

10. Java Decompiler

Let me know if you know any other essential tool for Java developers in your Java development experience in the comment section below.

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