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 Intelligence Augmentation For Java Programmers    
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Complementary tools

  • Jude - improved javadoc with powerful searching. Jude makes it very easy to browse and navigate Java documentation and to quickly find the documentation you want. It's written by David Flanagan and uses the same concise quick-reference format as his best-selling Java in a Nutshell books.

Competitors == loosely defined as tools that [are advertised to] help you quickly understand and navigate Java source code. The list below includes tools that offer support for this even if they have a different focus (full-blown IDE, metrics, coverage, editor, documentation generation, support for multiple languages, etc). If you know of a tool that should have been mentioned or if you would like to contribute a review, please let us know.

Biased evaluation: Needless to say - as good as some of these tools are - no competitor makes understanding, finding, reusing and reading Java source code as convenient and fast as Juliet :) And no competitor seems to be designed specifically for daily, un-intrusive use alongside existing tools.

Your evaluation: The best thing to do when evaluating Juliet and competitors is of course to download them and try them out on your codebase. Some evaluation criteriae might be:

  • Ease and convenience of use: how steep is the learning curve, does the tool require training, how much work needs to be done to get going (do you need to discover and specify the classpath yourself or does the tool derive it for you), can the tool handle source code in zip files, etc.
  • Does the tool require .class files or work from .java files? If it works from .java files, does it ignore all files with syntax errors or can it recover gracefully?
  • Is it important that the tool supports a changing codebase, or is it ok if it spends (more) time analyzing a code snapshot and producing an intermediate representation, to then provide (faster) analysis over that derived representation only?
  • How fast is the tool, and how well does it scale?
  • How lightweight is it? Can it easily be used by single developers as an adjunct to existing tools?
  • Information visualization: How concisely does the tool represent information? Does it support multiple views for side by side comparison? Does it provide filtering? In a nutshell, does it let you quickly see and grasp what you need?
  • Does the tool treat source code as a first class citizen? Can you browse it? Is it important that the tool also has a built-in editor?