How to Develop AEM Projects using IntelliJ IDEA how-to-develop-aem-projects-using-intellij-idea

Overview overview

To get started with AEM development on IntelliJ, the following steps are required.

Each step is explained in more detail in the remainder of this topic.

  • Install IntelliJ
  • Set up your AEM project based on Maven
  • Prepare JSP support for IntelliJ in the Maven POM
  • Import the Maven Project into IntelliJ
This guide is based on IntelliJ IDEA Ultimate Edition 12.1.4 and AEM 5.6.1.

Install IntelliJ IDEA install-intellij-idea

Download IntelliJ IDEA from the Downloads page at JetBrains.

Then, follow the installation instructions on that page.

Set up your AEM project based on Maven set-up-your-aem-project-based-on-maven

Next, set up your project using Maven as described in How-To Build AEM Projects using Apache Maven.

To start working with AEM Projects in IntelliJ IDEA, the basic setup in Getting Started in 5 Minutes is sufficient.

Prepare JSP Support for IntelliJ IDEA prepare-jsp-support-for-intellij-idea

IntelliJ IDEA can also provide support in working with JSP, for example:

  • auto-completion of tag libraries
  • awareness of objects defined by <cq:defineObjects /> and <sling:defineObjects />

For that to work, follow the instructions on How-To Work with JSPs in How-To Build AEM Projects using Apache Maven.

Import the Maven Project import-the-maven-project

  1. Open the Import dialog in IntelliJ IDEA by

    • selecting Import Project on the welcome screen if you have no project open yet
    • selecting File > Import Project from the main menu
  2. In the Import dialog, select the POM file of your project.


  3. Continue with the default settings as shown in the dialog below.


  4. Continue through the following dialogs by clicking Next and Finish.

  5. You are now set up for AEM Development using IntelliJ IDEA


Debugging JSPs with IntelliJ IDEA debugging-jsps-with-intellij-idea

The following steps are necessary for debugging JSPs with IntelliJ IDEA

  • Set up a Web Facet in the Project
  • Install the JSR45 support plugin
  • Configure a Debug Profile
  • Configure AEM for Debug Mode

Set up a Web Facet in the Project set-up-a-web-facet-in-the-project

IntelliJ IDEA must understand where to find the JSPs for debugging. Because IDEA cannot interpret the content-package-maven-plugin settings, it must be configured manually.

  1. Go to File > Project Structure
  2. Select the Content module
  3. Click + above the list of modules and select Web
  4. As the Web Resource Directory, select the content/src/main/content/jcr_root subdirectory of your project as shown in the screenshot below.


Install the JSR45 support plugin install-the-jsr-support-plugin

  1. Go to the Plugins pane in the IntelliJ IDEA settings
  2. Navigate to the JSR45 Integration Plugin and select the check box next to it
  3. Click Apply
  4. Restart IntelliJ IDEA when requested to


Configure a Debug Profile configure-a-debug-profile

  1. Go to Run > Edit Configurations
  2. Hit the + and select JSR45 Remote
  3. In the configuration dialog, select Configure next to Application Server and configure a Generic server
  4. Set the start page to an appropriate URL if you want to open a browser when you start debugging
  5. Remove all Before launch tasks if you use vlt autosync, or configure appropriate Maven tasks if you do not
  6. On the Startup/Connection pane, adjust the port, if necessary
  7. Copy the command-line arguments that IntelliJ IDEA proposes

chlimage_1-50 chlimage_1-51

Configure AEM for Debug Mode configure-aem-for-debug-mode

The last step required is to start AEM with the JVM options proposed by IntelliJ IDEA.

Start the AEM jar file directly and adding these options, for example, with the following command line:

java -Xdebug -Xrunjdwp:transport=dt_socket,address=58242,suspend=n,server=y -Xmx1024m -jar cq-quickstart-6.5.0.jar

You can also add these options to your start script in crx-quickstart/bin/start as shown below.

# ...

# default JVM options
if [ -z "$CQ_JVM_OPTS" ]; then
 CQ_JVM_OPTS='-server -Xmx1024m -Djava.awt.headless=true'

CQ_JVM_OPTS="$CQ_JVM_OPTS -Xdebug -Xrunjdwp:transport=dt_socket,address=58242,suspend=n,server=y"

# ...

Start Debugging start-debugging

You are now all set up for debugging your JSPs in AEM.

  1. Select Run > Debug > Your Debug Profile
  2. Set breakpoints in your component code
  3. Access a page in your browser


Debugging Bundles with IntelliJ IDEA debugging-bundles-with-intellij-idea

Code in bundles can be debugged using a standard generic remote debug connection. You can follow the Jetbrain documentation on remote debugging.