When comparing IntelliJ IDEA vs Parallels Desktop, the Slant community recommends IntelliJ IDEA for most people. In the question“What are the best power user tools for macOS?” IntelliJ IDEA is ranked 43rd while Parallels Desktop is ranked 54th. The most important reason people chose IntelliJ IDEA is:
IDEA places an emphasis in safe refactoring, offering a [variety of features](https://www.jetbrains.com/idea/features/refactoring.html) to make this possible for a variety of languages. These features include safe delete, type migration and replacing method code duplicates.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Smart refactorings
IDEA places an emphasis in safe refactoring, offering a variety of features to make this possible for a variety of languages.
These features include safe delete, type migration and replacing method code duplicates.
Pro Fast and smart contextual assistance
Uses a fast indexing technique to provide contextual hints (auto-completion, available object members, import suggestions).
On-the-fly code analysis to detect errors and propose refactorization.
Pro Android support, JavaEE support, etc
A very complete development environment support.
Pro Lots of plugins
Many plugins are available for almost any task a developer may need to cover. Plugins are developed by Jetbrains themselves or by 3rd parties through the SDK available for writing them.
Pro Stable and robust
IntelliJ IDEA hardly ever crashes or has any issues that plague other Java IDEs like file corruption or slowness.
Pro Support for many languages
IntelliJ supports many languages besides Java, some of these are: golang, Scala, Clojure, Groovy, Bash, etc...
Pro Intuitive and slick UI
IDEA has a clean, intuitive interface with some customization available (such as the Darcula theme).
Pro Clear and detailed documentation
The documentation is exhaustive, easy to navigate, and clearly worded.
Pro Free version available
There is a free community edition (open source) and an ultimate edition, which you can compare here.
The ultimate edition is available for free for one year for students but must be registered through an .edu e-mail account.
Pro Many convenient features
These simplify the daily work, e.g. copy/cut a whole line without the need to select it.
Pro Very powerful debugger
With ability to step into a certain part of a large method invocation (Shift+F7), drop frame, executing code snippets, showing method return values, etc.
Pro Best-in-class gaming performance
Compared to other VMs, Parallels has the best gaming performance. Still, a good framerate can only be achieved with games that have very low resource requirements. A much better option for resource intensive games is dual booting Windows (via Boot Camp).
Pro Easy to use
Parallels has an easy to learn and use UI. All important features are wizard based. It requires only a few clicks for the wizard to download and set up the latest Chrome OS, Windows or Linux build.
Pro Can run Windows apps as native OS X apps
Parallels has a "Coherence View" mode that allows running Windows applications as if they were native OS X apps. In this mode Windows is virtualized in background and Windows features like Jump Lists, Taskbar, Start Menu, etc can be embedded directly within OS X.
Pro Best integration ever
Con Bugs are not solved as often as they should
They are more interested in adding new features or issuing new versions than solving bugs.
Con Slow startup
Startup can be slow deepending on system configuration
Con Built with closed source components
The version with full features is not opensource. Parts of the code are under apache licence though.
Con Cannot open multiple projects in the same window
Con Uses too much RAM
Con Standard hotkeys behave differently
Seems like hotkeys assignment in Idea has no logical consistency.
Like «F3» is usually next match, «Ctrl+W» - close tab, etc — they map to some different action by default.
There is a good effort in making the IDE friendly for immigrants from other products: there are options to use hotkeys from Eclipse, and even emacs. But these mappings are very incomplete. And help pages do not take this remapping into account, rather mentioning the standard hotkeys.
So, people coming from other IDEs/editors are doomed to using mouse and context menus (which are rather big and complex).
Con Lack of plugins
IntelliJ supports a very small amount of plugins. Althrough thesse are 'quality approved', many features are missing and can't be implemented because of that.
Con Home edition doesn't work with Vagrant or Docker Machine
Make sure you purchase the Pro edition (the subscription) if you need command-line access to the hypervisor.
Con Requires buying a new version of the software with each new OS X release
Chances are that the same version of Parallels won't work with different OS X releases, requiring a separate purchase of Parallels for each OS X version.
Con Very expensive
Parallels upgrades are very expensive. Even if I bough several versions of Parallels I will switch back to free VirtualBox as they even "invented" the Pro version - mainly doubled the price you have to pay each year to have the software updated.
Con Can't import OVA files
OVA files are useful because they include all of its supporting files. Unfortunately, Parallels doesn't support these useful files.