JetBrains fits IDEs with remote capabilities

JetBrains continued its IDE update extravaganza last week, bumping popular choices like IntelliJ IDEA, PyCharm, and CLion up to v2021.3, while sprinkling remote development into the mix.

The latter is one of the major features of the recent portfolio update and hoped to be of use when programming on not overly computationally strong devices, in remote work scenarios or in cases where local operating system and preferred target differ. Remote development is realised via a remote IDE backend and a local thin client. While the latter provides users with an UI, the backend server is needed for hosting the source code and running a headless version of the IDE the user is subscribed to. 

According to a JetBrains blog entry on the matter, everything needed is installed and securely connected via SSH using the new JetBrains Gateway project. Gateway is available as an IDE plugin for IntelliJ IDEA, PyCharm Professional, GoLand, PhpStorm, and RubyMine, or can be used for remote work with CLion and WebStorm via a standalone Gateway app. Tools like DataSpell and Android Studio aren’t supported yet. 

Users interested should note that remote development is currently in beta and only working with (physical or virtual) Linux servers. Support for Windows and macOS servers is said to be added in the future, but no exact roadmap seems to be available yet.

Remote capabilities aside, highlights of the 2021.3 update of company cornerstone IntelliJ IDEA mainly focus on ways to support own-brand Java alternative Kotlin. The IDE for example now includes a “Constant condition” inspection for Kotlin code, its debugger learned to detect Kotlin inline functions, and the “Smart Step Into” action can help debug more complex expressions.

Things should also be easier when working with Kubernetes or Docker containers, as IntelliJ has been fitted with better formatting for Helm templates, a display of available registries, support for Compose v2 and Podman, and a bunch of additions for quickly connecting to Docker.

User experience has been another area of improvement, with the team fixing accessibility issues on macOS, cleaning things up for screen reader users, and adding a source code preview in the “Show Usages” dialog. There’s now also an option to split their Run tool window with tabs to facilitate comparisons, and reworked versions “Empty Project” and “Multi-module Project” nodes.

Quality conscious teams will be glad to learn that the IntelliJ UI now comes with multilevel test runs, and support for UI test automation in Selenium.

The team behind C/C++ IDE CLion meanwhile decided to concentrate on simplifying and extending its toolchains, resulting in things like a dedicated Docker toolchain and enhancements for those using CLion on Windows. To help developers write better code, the editor now offers type hints for deduced types and a list of Data Flow Analysis fixes. Other than that CLion 2021.3 contains better data views in the debugger and CMake project model improvements such as an UI for setting the CMake generator (Ninja is the new default now) and a new default approach for querying project information.

Looking into the latest PyCharm release, new additions are mainly restricted to pro subscribers. Those can look forward to helpers for creating FastAPI projects, a new Endpoints tool window, a reworked notebook UI, and an aggregate view for cell ranges. Functionality to work with dependency management tool Poetry meanwhile should be available to all users of the Python IDE.