Where does NetBeans install your modules?

NetBeans has a nifty little plugin capability allowing you to extend the software with your own plugins. In general you can use the plugin manager to install and remove these, and it works well (even restarting NetBeans for you).

netbeans plugin manager

However, you may still need to find these manually – for example it is possible to create a plugin which does not appear on the plugin list by not ticking the box ‘Show in Plugin Manager’ (although I am not sure why you would really want to do this).

plugin

So if you find you have installed a plugin which does not appear in plugin manager, where would you look?

Unlike Eclipse, which generally puts all its plugins in a single plugin directory inside Eclipse (called plugins), NetBeans separates out its plugin modules from the main installation. The core modules are kept separate from your own additions (which makes things much tidier). They are actually stored in a location called .netbeans on my Linux or Windows setup (which lives inside your user directory (something like /home/me/ on Linux and C:/Documents and Settings/me on Windows).

On the Mac they are stored in a separate location Libarary/Application Support/netbeans. Helpfully the Mac finder hides the Library directory so you may need to create a symbolic link or the command line to access them.

Inside this directory you will find several NetBeans sub-directories (7.2, 7.3, etc) and inside that you will find the plugins (there is also an xml file in update_tracking). Here is a screenshot from my Mac showing this.


netbeans on mac

If you delete these files, the modules will be manually removed. But it was a useful lesson  for me in understanding the working of NetBeans better. And next time I will remember to tick that box so I can uninstall my modules from the plugin Manager…

This post is part of our “NetBeans article Index” series. In these articles, we aim to explore NetBeans in different ways, from useful hint and tips, to our how-to’s, experiences and usage of the NetBeans IDE.

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Mark Stephens

System Architect and Lead Developer at IDRSolutions
Mark Stephens has been working with Java and PDF since 1999 and has diversified into HTML5, SVG and JavaFX. He also enjoys speaking at conferences and has been a Speaker at user groups, Business of Software, Seybold and JavaOne conferences. He has a very dry sense of humor and an MA in Medieval History for which he has not yet found a practical use.

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About Mark Stephens

Mark Stephens has been working with Java and PDF since 1999 and has diversified into HTML5, SVG and JavaFX. He also enjoys speaking at conferences and has been a Speaker at user groups, Business of Software, Seybold and JavaOne conferences. He has a very dry sense of humor and an MA in Medieval History for which he has not yet found a practical use.

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