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IntelliJ's Maia shapes up against Eclipse

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Web, scripting, and open-source have been boosted in the next version of the ever-popular IntelliJ IDAE, released this week in early access.

Codenamed Maia, and due this fall, IDEA 9 wraps in features designed to keep the charged-for Java development environment in the running against free tools based on Eclipse.

Maia will support version three of the Spring open-source Java programming framework, which will be detailed at next week's JavaOne in San Francisco, California, along with support for the OSGi modular Java framework and Apache's Tapestry component-based framework.

Additional changes see the addition of Google App Engine for building and hosting web applications that's been extended to support Java, a JavaScript debugger through a Firefox plug in, and PHP. There's also the expected changes in bread-and-butter code management features for Mia, which is built for Windows, Mac and Unix-based systems.

IntelliJ is a minor success in what's become a bitterly fought and often unrewarding market. Founded by Java programming veterans in the early 2000s, the company's built and retained a loyal following.

In different surveys, Eclipse is ranked as the industry's second most popular IDE after Microsoft's Visual Studio and certainly the biggest IDE for Java. IntelliJ IDEA has maintained a significantly smaller yet substantial and consistent second place on Java.

It has managed to do this despite charging, in an era when other - and sometimes bigger - Java tools providers have either shut down or sold up as they failed to square the challenge of how do compete against the free, open-source Eclipse environment.

Loyalists and the curious can download and try Maia here. ®

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