When comparing IntelliJ IDEA vs Beyond Compare, the Slant community recommends Beyond Compare for most people. In the question“What are the best diff tools for Git?” Beyond Compare is ranked 4th while IntelliJ IDEA is ranked 6th. The most important reason people chose Beyond Compare is:
Beyond Compare can be used to compare both files and folders. File-Filters possible!
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
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 Stable and robust
IntelliJ IDEA hardly ever crashes or has any issues that plague other Java IDEs like file corruption or slowness.
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 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 Android support, JavaEE support, etc
A very complete development environment support.
Pro Support for many languages
IntelliJ supports many languages besides Java, some of these are: golang, Scala, Clojure, Groovy, Bash, etc...
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 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 Supports comparing folders
Beyond Compare can be used to compare both files and folders.
Pro Synchronize folders
Can be used to synchronize folders. Including wildcards.
Pro Supports 3 way merge
Good overview. Clear display of changed lines (background color) and changed characters (foreground color).
Pro Has rules for adding ignore-masks and replacement rules
So parts you don't want to see in your comparision can be hidden with ignore masks. Parts that are okay to be changed can be set with change-lists so beyond compare knows what's the replacement value and skips displaying this. So you can focus on the for you important changes. For example with the ignore mask I was able to compare two logs with different timestamps but nearly same content. (beginning with timestams the first x characters adding to ignore)
Pro Customer Service is awesome and easy to work with
Pro Can compare remote directories
Beyond Compare can compare directories through FTP, SFTP. Also it can compare directories hosted on Dropbox or Amazon S3.
Pro Works well with large files
Pro Supports editing files directly
Pro One license covers all major OS's (Linux/Windows/Mac)
Pro Can be used to compare image files
This is a useful feature for game developers using Git.
Con Built with closed source components
The version with full features is not opensource. Parts of the code are under apache licence though.
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 Uses too much RAM
Con Slow startup
Con Cannot open multiple projects in the same window
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 Paid proprietary software
Beyond Compare is not free, it offers different license options depending on the number of members in a team and depending on the software version.