we start discussing NetBeans as an IDE we need to fully understand what an IDE is.
An Integrated Developing Environment is a computer software to help computer
programmers develop software.
They normally consist of a
source code editor
, build-automation tools, and (usually) a
. Sometimes a
version control system
and various tools to simplify the construction of a
are integrated as well. Many modern IDEs also integrate a
class hierarchy diagram
, for use with
software development. Although some multiple-language IDEs are in use, such as the
Microsoft Visual Studio
, typically an IDE is devoted to a specific
, as in the
IDEs initially became necessary when doing development in front of a
console or terminal. There was a need for a place you could program in front of
a terminal and that’s how IDE’s grew. As programing became more
large scale and complex there became a growing need for tools such as version
control, UI builder, HTML builders (as the Internet became more and more
popular) and good debuggers and profilers. That is why today people are
referring to an IDE as a program which allows them to do all the developing in
one place. By supplying automatic building tools and good intellisense tools, an
IDE abstracts many things, makes it a lot easier to learn programing languages
and increases the productivity.
As Java became a popular programming language, a good IDE became crucial.
NetBeans started as a project called Xelfi of a group of
students from the Check-Republic in 1997, which purpose was to write a Delphi
like IDE. The market of java IDE’s was very small those days and this
project had a huge success. The original plan was to develop network-enabled
JavaBeans components, hens the name. But coming out of the spec for enterprise
changed the plans. And the company decided to work with the spec and not
against it and NetBeans became a strong java IDE which also made it possible to
create JavaBeans for the net very easily. In 1999 Sun decided it needs a
powerful IDE for java and written in java and so NetBeans was bought and joined
the Sun family. In 2000 Sun came out with the open source IDE NetBeans.
During the first years of NetBeans, it was very popular because it
was the only good open source IDE and one of the only good Java IDEs and so it
was a big success. It all changed when Eclipse of IBM came into the market on
November, 2001. Eclipse very rapidly improved and pretty soon became more
powerful than NetBeans specially because as an open source, Eclipse gives much
more freedom to the programmer and writing to Eclipse was easier than to write
That was the situation up until now. These days, there’s the
coming out of NetBeans 5.0 gives answer to all the complaints made in the past
Let’s talk about the new NetBeans and all its features:
Has a support for multiple source roots, supplies easy management of libraries,
and easily ported to other environments.
Supplies easy to use tools for Web programming and supports the J2EE 1.3 and 1.4 standards
Supplies an easy to create and deploy and import Java Beans.
Contains wizards for creating web services and web services clients,
providing the basic (java/wsdl) code needed, and easy to use testing tools of existing web services
Provides a visual design editor with end-to-end support for enterprise applications
and J2ME development
A very sophisticated code editor that has a syntax high-lighter for all the programming
languages supported in NetBeans, live parsing, popup javadoc, vary efficient
code completion, etc.
An advanced refactoring tool.
A language independent debugger core with variable modification and watches,
various breakpoints and “Fix and continue” mechanism.
A new GUI builder
A version control support
XML, DTD and CSS Text Editor and XML Productivity Tools Wizards to help
user generate codes.
The biggest advantage of NetBeans over Eclipse in this new version is the new GUI builder “Matisse”.
Until this GUI Builder, there was no easy way to design user
interfaces in java and we all know how important the look and feel of products
is crucial in the software world of today. You can see the easy to use wizards
and WYSWIG tools in the demos we attached to this site. This is the first time
that there’s a GUI tool that can actually compete with the tools of
Visual Studio. This is a very big advantage since the GUI builder tools of
eclipse are very primitive.
In the new version of NetBeans there’s a very easy to use way
to write plugins to it and since it’s an open source this is very
important. It still doesn’t give all the freedom that eclipse could
allow since it’s constrained to JDK but still, it is more than enough for
To summarize, NetBeans gives you a very powerful java based IDE for Java, and much
more. It’s strong enough for enterprise programming and saves a lot of developing
time leaving the programmer focused on the core.