Choosing the IDE for Spring Boot development

In this tutorial we will learn some of the best available IDE to develop Spring Boot applications.

IntelliJ IDEA

IntelliJ is a great development environment. This IDE is available as Community Edition and as Ultimate Edition. The Ultimate Edition contains a lot of features but it has to be purchased.

IntelliJ IDEA 2018.1 comes, as usual, with a lot of features to support developers who use Spring and Spring Boot. For example, you can connect directly to the Spring boot Initializr service and create the skeleton of your application without leaving your IDE.

spring boot ide tutorial

Additionally, the Ultimate edition allows to test and debug Spring Boot web applications quite easily.  Methods annotated with @RequestMapping or @GetMapping now have gutter icons that let you use the new REST client to make an HTTP request to the given URI.

spring boot ide tutorial

On the other hand, If you only have IntelliJ IDEA Community Edition then you can still create Spring Boot applications. First generate your project directory using Spring Boot initializr and then import into IntelliJ IDEA and off you go. Check this tutorial to learn how to do it: Spring Boot Hello World with Spring Initializr

It is worth mentioning that a free plugin -Spring Assistant-  is available for IntelliJ IDEA CE which has a spring framework integration for creating Spring Boot Projects. Check it out at:

Spring tools

This  all-new Spring Tools can be used in various coding environments, ranging from Eclipse as a full-featured integrated development environment to Visual Studio Code and Atom as lightweight code editors. Continue to use your preferred environment and add great Spring tooling to it. You can download Spring tools full bundle (Your IDE + the plugin) at:
As an alternative, you can download just the plugin for your IDE. For example with Eclipse, reach Help > Eclipse Market Place and install the Plugin:

spring boot ide tutorial

Whatever option you choose, to create a new Spring Boot application in Spring Tool Suite, select the New > Spring Starter Project menu item from the File menu. When you do, Spring Tool Suite will present you with a dialog box similar to the following picture:

spring boot ide tutorial
Then you can continue by selecting the link to the Initializr service where you will be able to create a template of your application:

spring boot ide tutorial

Once the project has been created and imported into your workspace, you’re ready to start developing your application. As you develop the application, you’ll find that Spring Tool Suite has some nice specific Spring Boot tricks that will speed your development. For example, you can run your application with an embedded server by selecting Run As > Spring Boot Application from the Run menu.

Important!  The Spring Tool coordinates with the Initializr via a REST API . Therefore, it will only work if you are able to connect to the Initializr. If your machine is offline or the Inizializr is blocked by a firewall, the above procedure won’t work!

NetBeans Spring Boot Plugin

NetBeans as well features a Spring Boot plugin to integrate development within the tool. The plugin you need is NB-SpringBoot
The list of features provided by the plugin is quite impressive:

  • New Spring Boot Maven project wizards
  • Enhanced properties file editor
  • Spring Boot file templates
  • Additional Spring Framework file templates
  • Additional code generators in pom.xml files
  • Toolbar button to trigger Spring Boot devtools reload
  • Specific Spring Boot project properties page
  • Additional navigator panel to show request URL mappings of a Controller / RestController class

After installing the plugin, we can create a new project using the Spring Initializr directly from NetBeans:

spring boot ide tutorial

The steps for creating a Spring Boot application are more or less the same discussed for the other tools.