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Google Android Studio Vs. Eclipse: Which Fits Your Needs? 140

Posted by Soulskill
from the depends-which-pants-i'm-wearing dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "Google's Android Studio is a development tool for Android based on the IntelliJ IDEA platform, one that managed to attract a lot of hype when it rolled out in mid-2013. Roughly a year later, the platform is still in 'early access preview,' and work on it is ongoing. Eclipse, on the other hand, is the granddaddy of IDEs; although it doesn't offer native Android support, it does have some nice tools to help you build Android applications—one such tool is the Google Plugin for Eclipse, made by Google. Developer and editor Jeff Cogswell compares Eclipse and its Google-made Google Plugin with Google's own Android Studio, developed with the help of the people who make IntelliJ IDEA. His verdict? Eclipse is beginning to show its age, especially when it comes to Android development, while Android Studio offers some noted benefits. 'Android Studio is still in preview mode, without an official release, even if that preview is in pretty fine shape—its status certainly shouldn't prevent you from using it, at least in my opinion,' he writes. Do you agree?"
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Google Android Studio Vs. Eclipse: Which Fits Your Needs?

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  • Not surprising (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Shados (741919) on Wednesday March 19, 2014 @04:21PM (#46527315)

    I haven't done Android development, but IntelliJ IDEA has been ahead of Eclipse for ages, so this isn't surprising.

    Eclipse was a good IDE (relative to others) for a brief period of time early in its life, give or take 10 years ago (i think?), and that was it. Everyone else quickly caught up, Visual Studio was brought up to speed (with plugins at least), IDEA came into the spotlight, and the only reason Eclipse was still popular was because it was a) it was free, b) people learnt it in school, c) people didn't even realize there was better IDEs out there for Java (and other non-Microsoft languages).

    • "Eclipse was a good IDE (relative to others) for a brief period of time early in its life, give or take 10 years ago (i think?), and that was it."

      Actually, Visual BASIC (and subsequently Delphi) were the real "Grandaddy" IDEs. Eclipse came along much later (2001) and was originally for Java projects. Visual BASIC and its brethren (soon to become Visual Studio) then borrowed from some of the good ideas in Eclipse.

      Did Eclipse "keep up"? Arguably not. It is a Java "base" platform that was adapted to other uses by other people. So a lot of the good ideas that came out of that were not incorporated back into that base.

      On the other hand, some of the

      • by Shados (741919)

        Of course. I guess I wasn't clear. What I was getting at was that roughly 10 years ago, when Eclipse was a few years old, it was really, really good, and did a lot of things better than Visual Studio and other IDEs (even if you consider Visual Studio with VB6 and .NET vs Eclipse with Java). But that didn't last long, as they caught up pretty quickly.

    • Re:Not surprising (Score:5, Informative)

      by metamatic (202216) on Wednesday March 19, 2014 @06:09PM (#46528401) Homepage Journal

      Yup, I switched from Eclipse to IntelliJ IDEA for my regular Java development as well as Android.

      It's faster, leaner, more helpful, and has a far less cluttered UI.

      I just wish it wasn't $199, I'd totally buy a personal license for $99. (There's zero chance of my employer buying it for me.)

    • As someone who has used IntelliJ since version 3, I can say without equivocation that it has always been well ahead of Eclipse. The only reason Eclipse was as popular as it was is that it's free and I've found programmers to be the cheapest mofos on the planet.

    • by gl4ss (559668)

      but you know what is funny? they said that gradle is separated from the android studio.

      but if your project gets in a state where gradle just fails in IDE but works from commandline... then it doesn't feel like that(you need to delete gradles caches to get it working again in ide and the error message sounds like you're using wrong version of gradle even if you're not).

      and what is gradle? it's the "new" android builder, replacement for the older ant based system. gradle takes care of dependencies automatical

  • Wait (Score:3, Funny)

    by ArcadeMan (2766669) on Wednesday March 19, 2014 @04:23PM (#46527335)

    What's wrong with notepad?

  • As soon as Google or some other company releases a platform for Android development similar to Netbeans, count me in. At this point, the process of getting Netbeans to work for Android development is just a complete hassle.
    • Here's the problem, though: TFA compares Eclipse (which is a "general-purpose" IDE, usable for many languages) to Android Studio (which is specific to Android), and comes out saying Eclipse is wanting.

      Well, duh.

      But hey, if you're comparing apples to oranges by trying to see which one thrives more in a tropical climate, guess which one you're going to pick? No news here, move along now.

      And I think this unbalanced comparison is evident in the discussion of Gradle integration. Both can use Gradle. But
      • I use IDEA Community edition, not the 'Android Studio' repackaged version. From what I understand, there really is not a lot of difference between them.

      • by Curtman (556920) *
        They are both Java IDEs. Android Studio is IntelliJ, not specific to Android any more than the Android plugin is for Eclipse. I don't think the author was saying Eclipse sucks, just that this new product is very good for Android development. I tried it this past weekend, and it was a pleasure to use.

        DevBytes: Android Studio [youtube.com]
        • "They are both Java IDEs. Android Studio is IntelliJ, not specific to Android any more than the Android plugin is for Eclipse. "

          You're not arguing with me, you're reinforcing my point.

          If he wanted to avoid comparing apples to oranges, he would be comparing Eclipse to IntelliJ. But he wasn't... he was comparing Eclipse to Android Studio.

    • by Odin79 (2032436)
      I have been using NetBeans for all my Android development with the help of the NBAndroid plugin for quite some time now without any major issues. There are no UI design tools with it but I get by without them just fine. Give it a try if you have not already.
  • Horrible article (Score:4, Insightful)

    by AuMatar (183847) on Wednesday March 19, 2014 @04:27PM (#46527377)

    With a very biased verdict. Giving Android Studio the edge because of Gradle support? That's great- if you want to use gradle. I don't. I don't even know what it is- before Android Studio came out I'd never heard of it. And I have better things to do than play with build tools unless it offers a huge advantage- which it doesn't. The fact its impossible to use Android Studio without switching is a negative, not a positive as Eclipse supports both. The edge here should go to Eclipse for giving you choice between build systems.

    UI? The UI that you know is better than one you don't- always. If I have to spend even an hour finding new options, that's an hour I'll probably never make back. Eclipse has lots of flaws, but I'm used to those. The real advantage here is Eclipse if you know it, or draw if you don't.

    Basically his argument seems to boil down to he likes new shiny stuff. No thanks.

    • Re:Horrible article (Score:4, Informative)

      by stewsters (1406737) on Wednesday March 19, 2014 @04:48PM (#46527585)
      Intellij supports both, I used a non-gradle build last week. Not sure about the Android Studio version, but I can imagine it's possible, just not the default in the basic project setup. That being said, gradle is nice if you have a lot of dependencies in maven.
    • So your argument is that the article is wrong since it doesn't come to the conclusion you've already made up in your mind without ever using the other product in the comparison. That may be great for you, but for someone starting out and wondering which IDE would suit their needs better, the article may very well make sense.
    • the decision to base everything on gradle baffles me a bit.

      gradle itself, while apparently existing for a long time, has had some pretty bad bugs in it and it's plugins in the time i've been using it (last 6 months or so).

      that, and i can't figure out why it's better. it is different however. there are fewer examples of how to do things then with maven or ant, and there's often multiple ways to accomplish the same thing, and they are both given as examples in the same doc with no explanation

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by metamatic (202216)

        that, and i can't figure out why it's better.

        Both ANT and Maven represent your build script as huge horrific XML files. Gradle uses a simple human-readable JSON-like syntax.

        That and ANT is goddamn slow.

        • Re:Horrible article (Score:5, Informative)

          by farble1670 (803356) on Wednesday March 19, 2014 @06:21PM (#46528499)

          Both ANT and Maven represent your build script as huge horrific XML files

          you are really going to pick your build system on how pretty the script is?

          yes, because the most important thing to me in a build system that my build scripts be as few characters as possible, right? the only thing that matters is stability and lots of good examples of how to do things you want to do.

          That and ANT is goddamn slow.

          ant was lightning fast compared to gradle. and yeah, i know because our company has fully cut over from eclipse + ant to android studio + gradle.

          it takes nearly 30s to build just one of our android apps. upgrading from gradle 1.6 > 1.8 > 1.11, each upgrade has considerably worse performance, despite the docs claiming to have improved performance. gradle 1.11 is so much slower than 1.8 it's ridiculous. i can't even believe it was released. it does however give a progress indicator during the build now. great.

        • by hax4bux (209237)

          The Android plugin for gradle is awful: slow to market and still incomplete.

          I don't give a hoot that gradle uses groovy or has a JSON syntax. I want stuff that works, and this isn't it.

          OTOH, I have managed to bill lots of hours writing gradle tasks, etc to patch up this broken POS for customers who read too many magazine articles. So it isn't all bad.

        • I would agree that gradle is far better than Maven and Ant when it comes to syntax and flexibility but it's not known for it's definitely not known for its fantastic performance.

    • by swillden (191260)

      UI? The UI that you know is better than one you don't- always.

      Hyperbole much?

      The UI you know definitely has an enormous advantage in short-term productivity. Longer-term... it depends on features and workflow.

      That's if you're working by yourself. If you're working with others, using the same stuff as your colleagues will likely have an even bigger impact. I just started working on Android and the fact that most of my colleagues are using Android Studio will almost certainly make it a better choice for me even though I've used Eclipse since before IBM released it p

      • by AuMatar (183847)

        In 13 years I've never worked at a place where everyone used the same IDE. Generally there was a mix of IDE users, terminal vim and emacs enthusiasts, and a few people in between (using souped up graphical text editors). There's no good reason for forcing people to use the same editors- the loss of efficiency from learning a new way will never be made up.

        • by swillden (191260)

          It's not a matter of forcing. I can use whatever I like. But I'm stepping into an entirely new space and being able to ask questions of my colleagues and get quick and accurate answers is really, really valuable.

    • by Arkham (10779)

      With a very biased verdict. ... No thanks.

      I was going to post something just like this, but you beat me to it.

      Eclipse is "the devil you know" for 99% of Android developers (and probably a majority of Java developers). It may not be as great as IntelliJ or IDEA or NetBeans for somethings, but it's functional and has worked well for a long time. It's got plugins for everything, good git integration, decent UI build tools, good support for JNI and ABI cross compilation, and it was used for 99% of the apps in the Google Play store.

      This Android St

    • by Splab (574204)

      So, once you have learned an UI, you refuse to upgrade?

      I haven't tried Android Studio, but I am using IntelliJ Ultimate Edition - for the life of me, I can see any reason why anyone would ever prefer Eclipse over IntelliJ.

  • I've been using Eclipse since it had its genesis within IBM, so despite it's warts, I'm pretty used to it. I do like what I see in the Android Studio though, I'm just waiting for it to come out of beta.
    • by CastrTroy (595695)
      I don't have a problem with Eclipse, but Android development as a whole is pretty terrible from my point of view. I've tried a few times to make an app, and I just found the whole process quite terrible.
      • Care to elaborate? My (very limited) experience is only with desktop programming, but I'd like to know what the problem with Android (or any other mobile platform) development is.

        • In a nutshell, Android is Java on a Linux base with Java libraries for "system" calls, and (usually) lots of description of interface elements via XML.
  • OK, maybe not "Dummies" persay, but people like myself who would like to at least wet our beaks in app development, but know approximately dick about good coding practices? Or coding in general?

    Having set up both, I'd say Android Studio probably fits the needs of the total noob moreso than Eclipse, but what do I know? I'm a coding noob.

  • I use pretty much every editor you can imagine. I miss it when programming in c++ .
    Intellij is proof you can make very fast editor in java.

  • Android4Basic: http://www.basic4ppc.com/ [basic4ppc.com]

  • I'd love to love Android Studio, but on my PC it's slower than molasses going uphill on crutches. I also can't figure out how to set up an environment in Android Studio that allows me to mix java projects with android projects or use maven to manage my projects. Admittedly that took a while to figure that out with Eclipse as well.

    • by z4ce (67861)

      If you want to mix projects you have to use IntellJ with the "Android-plugin" instead of Android Studio.

    • Import your main project, then import your sub projects as modules.
      You can then include them by adding dependencies. File->project structure->modules->dependencies -> green arrow to select one of your sub projects and add it.
      Click the checkbox in the export column if you want to export that library when you export.
      Not sure about the maven management of the projects, but I have used gradle to import maven artifacts.
  • EMACS (Score:2, Funny)

    Technically, isn't EMACS the granddaddy of all IDEs? In comparison, Eclipse is 'Johnny Come Lately'.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    All my Android development has been done with vi. Works with all languages and APIs. Works on all platforms. Works the best.

  • I used Eclipse to develop an Android app back in the days of Android 2. They other day I downloaded and installed Android Studio so that I could create a simple app. Android Studio did have designer (in Eclipse I did all layout in xml, but I believe Eclipse has a designer too.) The main issue I had with Android Studio is that it would just disappear all of the sudden. One minute it was there and the next it was gone.

    • Try increasing the JVM memory (-Xms in the init parameters I believe). Ironically I used to have this exact same problem in eclipse, I can't tell where to set those parameters in IntelliJ though.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Am I the only person who has written several Android apps (on more than 1x10^6 devices) with ant, my favorite editor, and my own custom tools? I find any IDE maddeningly limiting.

  • by z4ce (67861) on Wednesday March 19, 2014 @04:48PM (#46527581)

    The eclipse "export" to gradle function barely works. Importing an eclipse project into Android Studio doesn't really work either. If you create a build.gradle file, that gets you further along, but things in Android Studio still behave funny especially with identifying the "modules." In the end, if you're looking at migrating I strongly recommend just creating a new project and copying your source and resource files into the latest android file structure and gradle build system.

  • My first job involved Java and I used Eclipse for that. In the meantime, I spot another job which involves C++, Python and Objective-C. Recently I wanted to quickly hammer out an Android app and I was pleasantly surprised by Android Studio. In three days, I got a basic five-screen app running to display a JSON-pooping web service.

    It works like you expect a modern IDE to work. And that's all I needed.

  • by maccodemonkey (1438585) on Wednesday March 19, 2014 @04:54PM (#46527631)

    I liked it better than Eclipse, no separate Android SDK installation/package manager to maintain. I just download and it worked. The UI is a little nicer.

    However it doesn't solve my big complaints about Android IDEs in general:
    1) Native code development still sucks. It sucks less on Eclipse (as in it exists at all on Eclipse), but it's a pain to set up, a pain to use, and a pain to debug. I actually just gave up on it attaching the debugger, and starting adding logging to me native code. Seriously Google, if you want me to start taking Android seriously for developing big performance sensitive things, some decent tools for C/C++ development would be good.
    2) The build system... I don't know what's up with Android Studio defining it's own project format, and then on top of that adding a build system with build system files beneath it. I still have projects that open and build, but tell me the build system is set up wrong. The one thing I like about Xcode is the project and the build manifest are the same file. I'm not maintaining a project that then manages some Gradle config or something. I mean, if I want to I can add an external build system to Xcode. But most of the time I don't need that level of build management. If Android really wants to go the external build system route, just automatically generate the stuff I need every time I hit build so I don't have to worry about checking it in to source control. I don't care if it's spinning an Gradle config off just as long as I don't have to see it and worry about it. If I want to manually grab a Gradle config to throw at some other build system, make it optional.
    3) The analyzer tools compared to the iOS toolchain just aren't anywhere near good enough. The data the tools do give back out is presented poorly compared to Apple's Instruments tool, and I've never gotten the tools working for native code, which is usually where I spend the most time caring about performance.
    4) This isn't as much a complaint about the tools as much as Android, but Android is just behind in general on performance toolkits. Apple has a great NEON optimized toolkit in Accelerate for DSP and image work. There is no equivalent on Android, although 5 years in, a few open source projects are finally starting up around putting together a NEON accelerated library of functions.
    5) x86 Android Emulator with native GPU support. It exists, but it's usually not as well maintained. There are some third party tools trying to fill that gap, but c'mon guys. That's a basic necessity. An ARM based emulator is great for simulating actual ARM calls, but most of the time I'd rather be in the x86 emulator.

    • I totally agree here. Compared to Xcode, development for Android is nowhere as slick.

      But still, I managed to hammer out a simple (Java-based) app with a minimum of fuss. And I didn't need to screw around with Gradle.

  • I tried to use Android Studio a few times in the early days but could never get it to launch. Failed with non-helpful errors and none of the solutions

    Full disclosure - I'm an inactive Eclipse committer so while one might argue I have a dog in the race I should also be competent enough to get it to run!

  • I've been an Android developer for 3 years, I've used eclipse extensively as well as Android Studio extensively. Android Studio kicks the pants off of Eclipse. The simple truth you don't realize how painful and terrible the whole Eclipse experience is until you've switched. It solved a ton of my pain points and I would never consider going back. All of my projects have been converted to Gradle, and the savings I receive from that build system are remarkable. It has its own pain points (mostly due to be
  • I've been an Android developer for three years now. Android Studio has impressed me very much and I've used it every day for the last six months.
    It's miles ahead of Eclipse in terms of useability and features.
    Android Studio actually makes the coding more fun, as I don't have to spend so much time on the boring and annoying bits!
    The second place goes to Intellij IDEA, in my opinion.

    I can see no reason to use Eclipse unless you need C-language support for NDK development.
    Eclipse doesn't integrate with Google'

  • I switched to Android Studio right after it came out, mostly because my Eclipse install needed to be updated- which usually means having to reinstall the Android SDK and re-import my projects (a chore).
    It ended up being some serious work to import my projects to Android Studio. I wouldn't recommend it if Eclipse is still working smoothly for you.
    The main thing I like about Android Studio is that I heavily use RubyMine for server-side work and the interface is nearly identical.
    The other big advantage is that

    • by robmv (855035)

      I don't know why you had to reimport your projects. I have an Eclipse workspace from the 2.x era, that have never been replaced by a new one, every Eclipse update is pain free with my settings, plugins need to be updated if they aren't compatible, but the workspace with the imported projects have never been a problem for me

  • I've been an Android developer for over 5 years, I've been using Eclipse for Java development almost since it came out. If Android Studio is better, I won't argue, I don't know. But i'll stick with Eclipse for a while, before I spend considerable time on changing my IDE. Maybe I'll give it a try on my next Android project, or maybe not.

  • I have been using IDEA Community 13 so not the Google specific package for Android devel work. As someone who had never used an IDEA of this level of sophistication, I found an initial week trial run of both IDEA and Eclipse left me favoring IDEA and have not looked back. I did briefly toy with Netbeans which seems a nice environment but was lacking in android focus so I did not put effort into exploring it more fully.

    Also, while I can't speak for the Eclipse community, the IDEA support and bug communit

    • I have been using PHPStorm for years (from same company as IDEA) so I might be slightly biased, but when I started Android Develpment I used Eclipse for some reason becasue it seemed like the defacto standard for android development. I used it for a month and was incredibly frustrated. Eclipse seemed like something from 10 years ago, not a modern IDE, it was also running incredibly slow on my machine with a project that contained thousands of files. I then switched to Idea Community 12 and was more producti
  • Neither support debugging with NDK.
    android has absolutely 0 support for it.
    some people have apparently gotten NDK debugging working in eclipse. i've tried every example on the web and have been unsuccessful in ever getting ndk debugging working. maybe oneday google will realize ndk support is worth a damn.

  • I'm on a core i5 at work, and the CPU is damn fast, but the entire Eclipse UI is slow. Closing a tab takes a noticeable amount of time, even for files that fit on the screen. And my biggest complaint is that somehow this glorified text editor is capable of halting my machine when it tries to auto-complete. How a Java app can do that is beyond me.

    Then when I first start it up, it complains that my project has "problems". It's just not done loading it yet. Refesh, its gone.

    I have yet to like any java app or s

  • Done many projects with Android Studio and had to switch back to Eclipse. Almost every time the Android Studio updates itself, it breaks the compilation ability of your project. Nevertheless, Android Studio is way better than Eclipse and as soon as a more stable version is released i will definitely switch back!
  • Even the free community edition supports Android development. No need for the Android Sudio thingy, i've been using IntelliJ for ages.
    As for Eclipse, I don't think I have a computer powerful enough to run it. It's only a Core i7 with 32 Gb ram

  • " Eclipse, on the other hand, is the granddaddy of IDEs" So Visual Studio must be the dinosaur of IDEs.
  • Do I agree? I've been using AStudio since the first preview came out after I/O, and after using it for 5 minutes it became clear to me that I'll never go back to frustrate myself with eclipse, ever. I don't mean to offend to good people who develop eclipse, but the damn thing gave me so many headaches over the time I had to use it, that dropping it felt like recovering from a long illness, honestly. Of course, there are lots of people who like it, obviously I'm not one of them. Regarding AStudio, if you did

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