EAPs see CLion getting experimental while IntelliJ IDEA loads up on Kotlin helpers

The second 2021 update to JetBrains’ IDE portfolio is about to drop, so the tool teams have started pushing out early access previews to collect feedback and iron out some kinks. 

IntelliJ IDEA, the company’s Java development environment and foundation for many other JetBrain IDEs, was naturally amongst the first to get its EAPs out there. Since the last release, the tool has learned to automatically show diffs in the editor and reload a web page in the browser should the corresponding html file or associated CSS and JavaScript files be changed and saved. 

The IDE has also been fitted with a new advanced settings node that groups some use-case-specific options under preferences, as well as improved navigation in that section. Developers making use of the screen reader mode on macOS will get code completion suggestions read out to them.

Since Kotlin is not only gaining momentum but also originated at JetBrains, IntelliJ gained some more helpers to facilitate programming with the JVM language. The IDE will now sort Kotlin code completion suggestions based on what it learned from other users by default. It also includes Kotlin application framework Ktor out of the box when using IntelliJ IDEA Ultimate. This allows developers to run and debug code while the IDE is still indexing as well as run tests before code analysis has finished.

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JavaFX users will probably find the new JavaFX project wizard most interesting, which now follows a two-step process to simplify configuration. After letting the software know which SDK, language, build system, and test framework to use, developers can choose from a list of popular libraries. IntelliJ will use that information to generate a suitably configured sample application.

Integration with Space, the collaboration tool which reached general availability late last year, progressed as well, making Space job statuses visible in the Log tab of the Git window.

The team behind Ruby IDE RubyMine started their EAP cycle by adding automatic formatting options for RBS code and providing more relevant code completion. Better refactoring features and error catching enhancements are also part of the first early access release.

C/C++ cross-platform IDE CLion, meanwhile, uses the upcoming 2021.2 release to introduce support for importing information from CMake Presets. These are currently read-only, but with workarounds in place (edit the JSON in CLion, save, and reload), it seems like a good first step towards making use of the configuration feature. 

Another somewhat experimental addition to CLion is lifetime analysis. The latter comes in the form of an early-stage implementation of a C++ proposal of the same name, which tries to address the memory safety issues many C++ developers grapple with. Integrated into the IDE, it warns users when they try to reference invalid objects or point to out of scope memory amongst other things.

Other improvements include support for interactive C++ interpreter Cling, text search for the Local History feature, and a way to work with WSL from sources other than the Microsoft Store.

EAP versions are available right now. Developers who’d prefer waiting until features are stable should check back in July, when the next major update is planned to land.

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