JetBrains Fleet is a new integrated development environment (IDE) currently in its public preview phase. Based on JetBrains’ IntelliJ IDEA platform, Fleet promises to offer several benefits over traditional IDEs that can change how software is developed.
Fleet can help software developers improve collaboration, increase productivity, enhance security, cut costs, and more. Does that mean Fleet is the right IDE for you? We will help answer that question by breaking the developer tool down in terms of its features, pricing, advantages, and disadvantages. We will also reveal some of the top JetBrains Fleet alternatives to give you some wiggle room when shopping for an IDE.
Overview of JetBrains Fleet
JetBrains Fleet is a “next-generation” IDE based on the popular IntelliJ IDEA platform. Currently in public preview and being improved according to feedback from early adopters, Fleet was built from scratch using 20 years of JetBrains’ experience in creating multiple IDEs. As for what makes it “next-generation,” Fleet employs IntelliJ IDEA’s code processing engine, but with a reimagined user interface and a distributed architecture. This makes it ideal for developers seeking a scalable, efficient, lightweight, and flexible IDE that can support various configurations and workflows to help them collaborate, develop remotely, and minimize costs.
It is worth mentioning that once complete and available to the public, Fleet will not replace any existing JetBrains IDEs, such as IntelliJ IDEA, PyCharm, WebStorm, PhpStorm, and more. Instead, it will coexist with JetBrains’ existing products.
JetBrains Fleet Features
Some of JetBrains Fleet’s most noteworthy features for software developers include:
- Lightweight and fast text editor
- Popular IntelliJ-based IDE features
- Distributed architecture
- Team collaboration
- Multi-language support
- JetBrains Space dev environments
- Integrated tools
JetBrains designed Fleet to function as a lightweight and fast text editor for when developers need to browse and edit code quickly. Fleet can launch almost instantly, so developers can start working within a matter of seconds. Even better, it can transform seamlessly into a fully functioning IDE where the IntelliJ code-processing engine runs independently of the editor.
While it is a standalone product that promises many innovative features of its own, Fleet includes some of the most popular functionalities from past IntelliJ-based IDEs. Developers familiar with such IDEs will be glad to know that Fleet offers past favorites such as quick-fixes, navigation to definitions/usages, code completion, and on-the-fly code quality checks.
JetBrains Fleet is flexible thanks to its distributed architecture that supports a wide variety of workflows and configurations. You can work on a project hosted in JetBrains Space, run Fleet in one or multiple Docker containers, configure in the cloud, or connect to a remote machine to use a Fleet instance and start working on code.
Fleet promotes collaboration as well. Developers can use the tool to collaborate on code with others by sharing the editor, terminals, and debugging sessions. They can also explore code, execute code reviews, and more without the need for any tedious and time-consuming setup. You can have all team members collaborate by connecting to a shared remote dev environment, or you can simply initiate a collaboration session on your machine and invite designated individuals to connect.
JetBrains Space is an all-in-one software development platform that offers capabilities for collaboration, project management, and more. You can connect to a Space dev environment with Fleet to start working on projects in seconds. Lastly, Fleet comes with a full set of integrated tools to help simplify developers’ lives and boost productivity, such as light and dark themes, run and debug, port forwarding, Git, terminal, Go To, and various plugins for added extensibility.
You can learn more about JetBrains Space in our JetBrains Space Review.
JetBrains Fleet Pricing
JetBrains Fleet is currently in its public preview phase. For now, software developers can download and use the IDE for free. JetBrains is still working on Fleet’s final licensing and pricing details.
Like other JetBrains IDEs, Fleet will be a commercial product available via subscription. The brand promises Fleet will be fairly priced and offered through multiple plans:
- Free: No cost for educational, non-commercial, and hobby purposes.
- Free editor mode: A special offering without IDE functionality that can be used for projects of all sizes and types.
- Paid: Prices to be determined. For professional, commercial use by individuals and organizations and projects of any size and type. A trial will be available.
As for what JetBrains considers “non-commercial,” that depends on various characteristics. For instance, public, local, and open-source projects with any number of commit authors may be considered non-commercial. The same holds true for private projects with fewer than three commit authors. Cloud and on-premise private projects with more than three commit authors will be considered commercial.
The Free plan will have limited features, although you could expect some remote development capabilities.
The Paid plan will unlock all of Fleet’s features out of the box. Remember that some of these details may change once Fleet is officially released to the public.
Advantages of JetBrains Fleet
JetBrains Fleet has several pros in its favor, such as:
- User-friendly interface
- Fast and lightweight
- Flexibility in terms of language support and configuration options
- Team collaboration built-in
Fleet’s reimagined user interface is intuitive and makes the developer tool easy to use. Developer productivity can increase thanks to Fleet’s fast and lightweight nature that lets you get to work instantly. The IDE is quite flexible, with support for multiple languages and a distributed architecture that lets you customize configuration to fit your needs. Fleet also excels in the team collaboration department, allowing programmers to perform code reviews and share terminals and editors with ease.
Disadvantages of JetBrains Fleet
Is JetBrains Fleet the perfect IDE? No, as it does have some disadvantages worth mentioning, such as:
- Public preview can be buggy
- Reported crashes
- Memory consumption and resource intensive
While in public preview, developers may run into bugs and not know what to expect once Fleet is officially released to the market. Some users, for example, have reported frequent crashes when using the IDE version. Another common gripe is that Fleet uses more memory than other IDEs.
Fleet is free to download and use now, and it will have a free plan in the future. However, the actual costs for its paid plans are unknown at this time, which makes it hard to budget, especially if you are part of a small development team with limited funds.
Alternatives to JetBrains Fleet
JetBrains Fleet is fast and lightweight, user-friendly, flexible, offers solid team collaboration, and is free, at least for now. What would make a developer want to seek a Fleet alternative? Because the IDE is still in public preview, has reported crashes, tends to use a lot of memory, and has unpredictable pricing. If those cons are too much to overcome, consider the following JetBrains Fleet alternatives:
Eclipse is a mature JetBrains Fleet alternative that offers reliability, stability, and support from a large community of followers. It is also highly customizable and extensible. The open-source IDE is free to use, supports various programming languages, and works with Windows, Linux, and macOS.
You can learn more by reading our Eclipse IDE Review.
Visual Studio Code
Visual Studio Code is an open-source code editor that is free to use. The IDE for Windows, Linux, and macOS is lightweight, powerful, customizable, and supports multiple programming languages.
NetBeans is another JetBrains Fleet alternative that is open-source and free for Windows, Linux, and macOS users. Quite popular with Java developers, the beginner-friendly IDE offers a massive library of plugins.
Final Thoughts on JetBrains Fleet
While still new to the market and in public preview, JetBrains Fleet is an integrated development environment worth considering since it is lightweight, fast, flexible, extensible, and currently free to download. If you find that it does not meet your needs or you are looking for a more established IDE, consider the JetBrains Fleet alternatives listed above, as all are quite popular within the software development community.