Java Tools for Developers in 2021

Java is a general-purpose, object-oriented programming language that hit the developer scene in 1995. It rapidly grew to the top of the food chain in the coder world as a top choice for enterprise applications, partially due to its wide breadth of tools for developers and its philosophy of WORA - write once, run anywhere. In this article, we will look at some of the best Java tools for developers and programmers in 2021.

A brief caveat before we begin - this is in no way a complete list of Java tools, nor are the development tools listed in any particular order or ranking. For brevity's sake, we will do a brief overview here and follow up in a future article with a full review of each toolset and its features - and, perhaps, how to use them - at a later date. Enough preamble: let's get started!

Apache Maven Project Management Tool for Java

First up in our list of coder tools for Java is Apache Maven, an application tool designed around the Project Object Model (POM) concept that is used for Project Management. It has a few key uses, but it is primarily used to build projects, create reports, manage dependencies, and help with building project documentation. Another great "power" of Apache Maven is its ability to allow you to manage third-party libraries or JARs and their relevant dependency. With Maven, this process is automated, so you can avoid the regular issues associated with manual downloads.


Other features of Apache Maven include:

  • Simple project setup for new projects or modules
  • Easy configuration for new features
  • Release management and distribution options
  • Ability to create a central JAR repository

You can read a full list of features and download a copy of Apache Maven at the Apache Maven Project website.

You can also check out this article on our sibling site that covers Getting Started with Apache Maven Java/J2EE.

SolarWinds Java Performance Tool

Performance is key when developing software in general, much less enterprise-level applications. With that in mind, a handy performance profiling app is a crucial tool in your developer toolbox. The SolarWinds Java Performance Tool is just such an application. Designed with one objective in mind: improve and optimize your Java apps.

Specifically, the Java Performance Tool tracks the behavior of applications on Java application servers and notifies developers of issues that could affect application or server performance. For instance, it could detect problems with fan speed and temperature within a Java server, trace health issues from JSON services, or track down web service APIs wreaking havoc on your Java software.

Here’s a link to learn more about SolarWinds Server and Application Monitor features.

Docker Java Virtualization Tool

Docker is a Java tool that allows a developer or software team to fully automate the deployment of their applications - whether that be on a physical app server or via a cloud resource. A resourceful sysadmin or software engineer can use Docker to build their software, ship it, and run distributed applications from any platform.

Additionally, Docker promotes collaboration between app devs, letting your cobble together applications from separate components. You can use the tool to manage containers from an app as single groups or clusters. This helps maximize server resources and software performance.

Docker offers a variety of tools for Java developers, including development tools that let you build and test your software and the popular Kubernetes platform for cloud applications.

Follow the link to learn more about Docker’s Java tools.

Java Integrated Development Environment Tool: IntelliJ

At the end of the day, every developer - no matter what language you code in - needs a solid integrated development environment (IDE) to code in. Java developers are no different in that aspect. There are plenty of options out there - big names like Eclipse, VSCode, and NetBeans come to mind - but one of the most popular - and arguably most powerful and feature-rich IDEs for Java has to be JetBrain's IntelliJ IDEA.

One great feature of IntelliJ for Java is its Smart Completion feature, which is a sort of tooltexttip and autocomplete function that gives you a list of relevant symbols based on the current code you are typing in - just in case you need assistance with a function, class, or package. This is common across most IDEs, but IntelliJ steps their game up a little by offering several different versions of this feature, including performing cross-language refactoring, language injection, detecting duplicates, and even inspecting code for quick fixes.

IntelliJ's Java IDE also has a great suite of built-in developer tools that allow for version control, building, decompiling, and even connecting to Docker machines (if you use the suggested Docker discussed above).

Finally, another thing I love about IntelliJ is the fact that it supports other languages - including JavaScript and SQL - and other frameworks, such as AngularJS, Spring, and Android.

A full list of features is available on the IntelliJ IDEA page.