Mak­ing Jet­Brains' In­tel­liJ portable

In our in­for­mat­ics class, we are work­ing a lot with Java and as I was search­ing for a nice IDE that is easy to use and con­tains an in­te­grated pro­ject man­ager, I found In­tel­liJ IDEA. I re­ally like it and wanted to use it in school aswell. The only prob­lem is that we can't in­stall ap­pli­ca­tions on school com­put­ers as we can't change files on their hard dri­ves per­ma­nently. So I had the idea to cre­ate a portable ver­sion of In­tel­liJ that could be run off a usb drive and there­fore does­n't re­quire writ­ing ac­cess on the com­put­er's hard drive.

Installing IntelliJ IDEA

I started by down­load­ing and in­stalling the In­tel­liJ IDEA Com­mu­nity Edi­tion and mak­ing a copy of the ap­pli­ca­tion folder on my desk­top. Then I looked into the copied folder and found one in­ter­est­ing file in the "bin"-sub­folder: idea.prop­er­ties This file con­tains the file paths that In­tel­liJ uses to store your set­tings and other files like logs or plu­g­ins. I changed those paths so that all files that In­tel­liJ needs writ­ing ac­cess to are stored in­side a "var"-folder in the ap­pli­ca­tion's path:

#---------------------------------------------------------------------
# Customize path to IDE config folder.
#---------------------------------------------------------------------
idea.config.path=${idea.home}/var/config

#---------------------------------------------------------------------
# Customize path to IDE system folder.
#---------------------------------------------------------------------
idea.system.path=${idea.home}/var/system

#---------------------------------------------------------------------
# Customize path to user installed plugins folder.
#---------------------------------------------------------------------
idea.plugins.path=${idea.home}/var/config/plugins

#---------------------------------------------------------------------
# Customize path to IDE logs folder.
#---------------------------------------------------------------------
idea.log.path=${idea.home}/var/system/log

Adding Java's JDK

Next, I down­loaded the 32-bit ver­sion of Java's JDK and in­stalled into a new folder in­side the ap­pli­ca­tion's path that I called "jdk". The ap­pli­ca­tion's folder now looked like this:

folder_after_jdk

Then I started idea.exe which is lo­cated in the "bin"-folder. Af­ter de­clin­ing that I want to im­port set­tings from an­other ver­sion of In­tel­liJ, I fi­nally got to the home screen.

start_screen

I cre­ated a new pro­ject and con­fig­ured the JDK path to be in­side the ap­pli­ca­tion's folder where I in­stalled the 32-bit ver­sion of the JDK.

intelliJ-jdk-chooser

If you look into the ap­pli­ca­tion's folder now, you'll see that In­tel­liJ au­tomag­i­cally cre­ated a "var"-folder like we con­fig­ured it in the "idea.prop­er­ties"-file. Now, every­thing should be up and run­ning and we're able to copy the ap­pli­ca­tion's folder onto a USB drive. As I wanted to be able to start In­tel­liJ as fast as pos­si­ble, I cre­ated two short­cuts on my USB drive, one that points to "bin/​idea.exe" and one that points to "bin/​idea64.exe". The ap­pli­ca­tion's folder should now look like this:

folder_after_install

If you want In­tel­liJ run­ning at an ac­cept­able speed, you should copy it to a fast USB drive which is at least USB 2.0. If you're too lazy to build In­tel­liJ Portable your­self, you can down­load a prepacked ver­sion here, al­though I rec­om­mend you to fol­low this tu­to­r­ial as you can be sure that you have the newest ver­sions of In­tel­liJ and the JDK. I hope this lit­tle tu­to­r­ial helped you. Also, this is my first ar­ti­cle in Eng­lish, so please let me know if I made any mis­takes in the text. If you've got some ques­tions or sug­ges­tions, just put them into the com­ments.