April 7, 2015 Leave a comment
It has been over 16 months now since JetBrains presented their IntelliJ IDEA Personal Licensing Changes. The discussion under the post speaks for itself – there was hardly anybody who really liked it. Before you paid 100% when you bought it the first time (not to mention sales they offered ;-)) and 50% anytime you bought an upgrade. That means, you skipped major version or two (roughly a year each) and then bought the one you liked/needed for an upgrade price of 50%.
Now you buy it the first time for 100% and every next year you pay 50% without worrying anymore. Or you don’t renew your subscription and buy next year for 75% as a returning customer. That is like 50% + 50% of it. Long story short – version skipping is now more expensive, whatever your reasons for skipping are.
New model is not all bad…
One good point is that nobody can now complain that they bought version X and the next day you can get X and upcoming major version X+1 for the same price. What can still happen is that the next major version will be released the day after your subscription ran out. Which is more or less the same problem actually, except that now you can make decision that costs you with more information (before you had to be an oracle).
Again – long story short – if all customers stayed and all subscribed, JetBrains will have more money for their (and our favourite!) IDE. I guess there are ever more features, broader scope of problems, and whatnot. Price difference for every version skipping would be 50€ here in Slovakia. Nothing terrible actually.
JetBrains defence of this step was based also on possibility to release more often, even major versions. With IDEA 13 coming on Dec 3rd, 2013 and IDEA 14 on Nov 5th, 2014, we can’t say they lied, but it’s far from radical. And the question is whether it shows in reality, not just on the splash-screen.
…but I can’t see any big change
So that’s how I feel. I more or less (rather less actually) agreed to continuing partnership with the producer of my favourite IDE. It costs a little bit more, obviously there are no sales you can speculate on, etc. Business. But then, it’s not really anything that would ruin me and it’s worth the productivity you get, especially when you’re used to it. There is still Community Edition, if that’s all you need. And man, if you need just Java, version control and build tool support, it’s just incredible.
I wasn’t sure what to imagine regarding potentially faster release cycle and we’ve got just that – nothing radical, no harm done. Some versions are better, some worse, fresh 14.1 definitely needs some refinement as sometimes it stops checking files and finding usages altogether, but it restarts quickly and I hope it will be fixed soon.
What I miss
If I could channel IDEA developer’s energy into any particular area it would be fixing already existing Youtrack issues in general. I was rather a vigorous reporter – sometimes even successful. (Did you know you can copy the error message from status bar clicking on it with right mouse button? How handy is that when you want to paste it into a bug report!) But there are open issues that are probably obsolete already, some cleanup would be great. “Forgotten” issues are no good.
I remember how long it took to bring reasonable javadoc formatting into IDEA – and it still lacks here and there, although it was postponed one or two major versions. These are the things were I’d like to see more effort. But I understand there are customers waiting for support of their favourite framework as well.
So that’s it. Not a big change in the price, especially if IDEA is your primary axe, or whatever you like as a metaphor for a sharp tool (of course we can talk about tens of percent, but really…). Perceived quality is good, although varying – like anytime before. No tens of percent change there. 🙂 But anytime I see my colleagues struggling with something in Netbeans (“you can’t run normal main method from test sources?!”) or Eclipse (SVN and Maven working normally already?) I know that IDEA is still worth it. Although some people should learn their IDEs in the first place, whatever they use. Sometimes what I see is like a woodcutter beating the tree with the axe instead of cutting it – when we used that metaphor before. But that’s beyond the scope of this post.