JetBrains IntelliJ IDE debuts ‘run targets’

New feature in IntelliJ IDEA 2021.1 allows developers to execute code in a Docker container, SSH server, or WSL for remote testing and debugging.

JetBrains IntelliJ IDE debuts ‘run targets’
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JetBrains has released IntelliJ IDEA 2021.1, an update to the company’s flagship IDE that offers a new way to run applications from the IDE. The new version also improves Kotlin support and adds support for Java 16.

Published on April 6, IntelliJ IDEA 2021.1 is the first release of the IDE this year. Highlighting the release is a new way to run applications from inside the IDE, whereby developers can edit the run configuration of an application or test to set the run target—a Docker container, an SSH server, or Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL), in this initial version. Previously, apps would be run locally, with all settings from the IDE.

With the new run configuration option, developers could, for example, run a Spring Boot application with an SSH or Docker target. If Docker is selected, developers can choose to pull or build an image. If an image is pulled, code completions help to select the correct image.

Also featured in IntelliJ Idea 2021.1 is support for Java 16, which was released in March, with the ability, for example, to refactor records in the same as other Java classes. Existing code can be migrated to use new language features.

Another new feature allows developers to select an inspection profile providing analysis before the commit phase. Also new is a built-in preview for HTML, to get an idea of what changes will look like as they are being made, and functionality to deal with JSONPath expressions.

Other new features and improvements in IntelliJ Idea 2021.1:

  • For the Kotlin language, developers can define illegal package dependencies in Kotlin code. Defining illegal package dependencies can prevent code from accidentally depending on the wrong packages, such as the database layer relying on the UI layer. This capability has been available for Java code. Kotlin/JVM developers also gain UML diagrams for Kotlin classes. Also, syntax and error highlighting for Kotlin is faster, as is code completion.
  • Windows Subsystem for Linux support has been improved, with support for Java projects in WSL2 and for Maven and Gradle.
  • The Profiler has had a facelift to make it easier to use.
  • Usability improvements and bug fixes have been made, such as an improved color scheme for UML diagrams in the UI.
  • The Space team collaboration plug-in and the Code with Me collaborative development tool are now bundled with IntelliJ.

IntelliJ Idea 2021.1 is downloadable from or via the JetBrains Toolbox app.

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