First steps with IntelliJ IDEA

On December 20th, 2012 I bought an IntelliJ IDEA license from JetBrains at 75%. I have been developing with Eclipse for ages but that offer was just too good to resist. It isn’t the first time I go through “First steps with IntelliJ IDEA”. A few years ago when I was working with a couple of friends on I was forced to use IntelliJ IDEA from time to time because they all used it. It wasn’t an entirely pleasant experience for me. It wasn’t that I had a hard time finding the right keyboard short cuts. With every new application that’s usually something that takes some time getting used to. It was because their shortcuts are so darn ilogical! I’d be surprised if you didn’t agree with me but let’s see…

first steps with IntelliJ IDEA

First steps with IntelliJ IDEA

Keyboard shortcuts

With every application that allows you to create something new (image, text, spread sheat, you name it) you’d expect to use some kind of command/control key plus ‘n’ to do so, right? That seems to be something of an unspoken rule across the western world. Just as ctrl+s for save or ctrl+p for print. For Macs you substitute ctrl with ⌘. In IntelliJ IDEA this logic of common sense is absent. A few examples I ran across in the first five minutes:

operationOS XWinnote
new filectrl + Nalt + insreal “new” (⌘+N/ctrl+N) reserved for ‘navigate’
format code⌘ + Lalt + ctrl + LL refers to what exactly?, ‘format’ expected to be F
renameshift + F6shift + F6rename’ expected to be F2 or command + R
delete line⌘ + Yctrl + Ycommand + D is reserved for ‘duplicate line’ (ok, accepted)

How sick is that?
Oh, and command + P doesn’t print anything – it’s undefined.

Read the JetBrains forums and you’ll find numerous frustrated users (e.g. Worse, the shortcuts are broken for non US keyboard layouts as this long-standing issue proves:

Users go even further and publish their own shortcuts reference because IntelliJ IDEA behaves even differently than what is documented. Example:


The first thing I changed in terms of formatting was to switch from 4 spaces to 2 for indentation: “Formatter -> JavaScript/Java”. Then it bothered my that the editor offered something they call “virtual space”. That means you can place the cursor beyond the actual EOL or EOF, very irritating for me. To turn this off you do “Preferences -> Editor: allow placement of caret after end of line (virtual space)”.

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