I have just qualified to the NetBeans IDE 6.0 Community Acceptance Testing program (NetCAT) and before I begin giving some feedback, I thought... how about sharing some info about the NetBeans 6.0. What it is all about and how it has improved and how it can become the IDE for all programming languages.
Any programmer will tell you how much he/she loves the IDE. How much time of their lives they spend looking at the IDE screen? and how much the IDE is part of their creative exploration (programming)? These days with so many programming languages, a developer in my organization comes across a minimum 3 IDE or WYSIWYG Editors. We use Zend, netBeans, Visual Studio 6, VS2005, Dreamweaver, Eclipse, MS Expression Web, Anjuta, KDevelop ... and even after that I'm sure I missed something that we use. You see what I mean when I say there are zillions of IDEs.
Since, I have been programming a lot in Java, netBeans has been with me since version 4 and I always thought it had promise. Initially though eclipse was better! But I believe netBeans 5.5 was awesome and 6.0 is gonna beat a lot of other IDEs out there. Im currently doing a short preview of netBeans 6.0 Vs Visual Studio 2008 (my next post), both IDEs from different worlds, but then they still are IDEs right!! I know its apples vs oranges, but then netBeans 6.0 is not just a Java IDE, its got a lot more to it... Its a platform as well but I'm looking at it as an IDE for many languages. The templates to build Ruby on Rails blogs is just an example how much netBeans 6.0 team is trying to make it an all-language IDE.
The following are some of the new features to netBeans 6.0:
1.) Improvements to the Code Editor:
a.) Smarter & Quicker Code Completion - Faster and better options & methods shown.
b.) Highlighting - common variables are highlighted
2.) Language Support:
a.) JRuby/Ruby/Ruby on Rails Support - Excellent template, auto-structuring of folders. Great Ruby Debugger. Nice RHTML file editing and highlighting. Example Video
c.) Schielmann language support - Its a technology that allows anyone to add support to new languages. Php and Jython plugins are available.
d.) C/C++ Support: Greatly Improved support for programming in C/C++. Libraries are easily accessed and also has pretty good code editing.
3.) Swing GUI:
a.) Swing database applications - Probably the single-most awesome feature from netBeans 6.0. Great for making RAD for people who want to make fast database application.
b.) Beans binding: You can now bind beans and control their behavior from the GUI. You don't need the BDK (Beans Developement Kit) as a GUI for looking at beans behavior and property editing.
c.) Swing Application Framework (JSR 296): Awesome support of application state saving. The state of the application is saved as default. You don't have to worry about the size of the window of your application. It'll come up at the same size that you closed last time, and for all this you dont have to write a single line of code. netBeans does it for you.
a.) Integrated Profiler - The profiling tool within netBeans is elegant and perfect. May be you can compare it to LaodRunner yet, but then it does most things perfectly.
5.) Web & Java EE:
a.) Improved Visual Web (JSF): After Sun decided that Studio Creator will be netBeans, you find that there's no better tool for making JSF web applications that netBeans 6.0. Just drag-drop the components, write some business logic as EJBs and you have a well made web app.
b.) Support for AJAX-enabled JSF components
d.) Brilliant flow management for Web application. You can now make nice design for page flows in netBeans 6.0
6.) Java Mobility Support:
a.) No other J2ME/Java ME IDE has the ease of use and quick drag-drop MIDlet developement like netBeans. Fast and feature rich. You can make flow diagrams with it. Designing mobile apps were never easier.
b.) Support for APIs: JSR-172 stub compiler, JSR-226 SVG support is worth a wow!!
c.) Game Builder: Easy tiling allows nice design of game screens and sprites
a.) Graphical WSDL editor: Don't we all love interoperable WSDL documents?? But hate the binding. netBeans has great visual tool to do all the binding work for you.
b.) Easily edit the transformation on XSLT editor
c.) Improved interoperability with .Net through WSIT
a.) Enhanced code generation: Lesser difference in your designs and code. I love it!!
b.) Don't we architects love design diagrams. Making them from the IDE, is just a boon. Brilliant UML editing improvements, although some standalone tools do a better job, its still a great thing to have in your editor
a.) Improved graphing in the platform API
b.) A new lexer in the netBeans seems to make it faster for code editing
There's a lot more to netBeans 6.0... You can read about all the improvements here
See you on my next post, when I compare the upcoming IDEs Visual Studio 2008 and netBeans 6.0, with references to few other IDEs