Since I’ve started freelancing I worked less and less in a Java environment. Which is quite a good thing for me, since I get to do what I enjoy. I worked in a J2EE environment for three years. Though I never got to feel the pain of using entity beans, I still started loathing it over time. It just felt too heavy-weight. Testing is a pain, deployment takes ages, and it just can get frustrating what with all the waiting and the complexity involved.

I’m not going to discuss the pros and cons of J2EE here. It has its setting and that won’t change for a while. There are some things that can make Java if not worthwhile, then at least a little bit fun. One of them is the Spring Framework which I’ve been using on several projects now, and which impresses me every time.

The other one is IntelliJ IDEA. I wrote about my switch from Eclipse a while ago. I’m still not looking back. I’m currently using IDEA 7.0 Milestone 2, and the integration of Spring and Hibernate impresses me every time I run across a new neat feature or just use it. It’s been well worth its money till now.

There are some downsides though. I only have to look at my memory meter to see them. IDEA easily takes up 400 MB real memory. Throw in Tomcat (though a lightweight joy compared to JBoss) with another 150, maybe Oracle running on Parallels and it’s not fun anymore. Swapping galore. Thanks to Hibernate I can work with MySQL most of the time, otherwise it would be a pain. It’s a little shocking to see that 2 GB of memory are almost not enough for Java development on the Mac anymore.

Memory usage is most likely the reason why I’m still not very fond of using a full-blown IDE to develop with Rails. TextMate is still my number one choice, and I don’t see that changing soon. Though I have yet to try out the Ruby and Rails plug-in for IDEA>