When comparing Light Table vs Intellij IDEA, the Slant community recommends Intellij IDEA for most people. In the question“What is the best IDE for Clojure?” Intellij IDEA is ranked 3rd while Light Table is ranked 4th. The most important reason people chose Intellij IDEA is:
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.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Inline evaluation
With LT's inline evaluation, you don't have to re-compile your whole source file. Each time you want to see an output, all you have to do is hover your cursor over the line you'd like to evaluate and press
ctrl+enter; LT will evaluate that line of code for you.
Pro Your code runs live as you write it
The "Watches" feature lets you see your code running live as you type it. This means that you can debug your code live while writing it, which leads to considerably less programming errors.
Pro Plugin manager available
LT has a plugin manager built directly inside of it. This plugin manager connects to LT's own registry of plugins, so whenever you want assistance while writing your HTML, JS, or even Python, just open up the plugin manager, search for it, and click the little install button beside it's name. Your plugin will then be installed.
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 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 Support for many languages
IntelliJ supports many languages besides Java, some of these are: golang, Scala, Clojure, Groovy, Bash, etc...
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 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 Android support, JavaEE support, etc
A very complete development environment support.
Pro Stable and robust
IntelliJ IDEA hardly ever crashes or has any issues that plague other Java IDEs like file corruption or slowness.
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 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 Many convenient features
These simplify the daily work, e.g. copy/cut a whole line without the need to select it.
Con Somewhat expensive
IntelliJ IDEA is fairly expensive, with a pricetag of $149/year.
However there is a free community edition available.
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 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 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).