What we love and hate about Java IDEs – NetBeans

Last time I took a look at IntelliJ IDEA IDE and wrote what we love and hated about it, In the fourth part of this series of articles about integrated development environments (IDE) we take a look at the NetBeans IDE.

What is Netbeans?

NetbNetBeans IDE is a open-source integrated development environment originally developed by Sun Microsystems (now Orcale), which has a large amount of support from a large community and from Orcale and support for development of all Java type of applications such as Java SE, JavaFX, Java ME, web apps, EJB and mobile applications). Additionally NetBeans IDE features an Ant-based project system, Maven support, refactorings, and version control (which has support for CVS, Subversion, Mercurial and Clearcase).

Netbeans is modular, since all the functions of the Netbeans IDE are provided by modules such as support for the Java language, editing, or support for the CVS versioning system, and SVN.

NetBeans to be distributed in a variety of packages tailored tailored to specific development needs, which include ‘NetBeans IDE Bundle for Web and Java EE’ (Java EE 6 Web Profile, Enterprise Java Beans, servlets, Java Persistence API, web services, annotations and includes GlassFish and Apache Tomcat), ‘NetBeans IDE Bundle for Java ME’ (for developing applications that run on mobile devices), ‘NetBeans IDE Bundle for PHP’ and the ‘complete bundle’ which includes all the bundles.

What we Love about NetBeans

  • NetBeans is really handy because it has pretty much everything you could ever need built in from the start such as Glassfish/Profiler.
  • It’s always the first to get support (and code completion) for upcoming technologies, for example JavaFX and FXML.
  • It’s HTML5 support is really good.
  • Can Easily switch between file or project basis.
  • Has a Start page with regular updates and tutorials.
  • NetBeans got some neat futures such as System out having an auto complete function.

What we Hate about NetBeans

  • Minor Annoyances such as If you like to keep up with the cutting edge with new betas and release candidates, each new version installs to a new directory, sometimes leaving multiple older versions on NetBeans installed if you’re not proactive in uninstalling them.
  • Depending on whats being done it can be a bit of a memory hog, and it doesn’t handle very large files well.
  • NetBeans build.xml can get in the way if you are using Ant.
  • Sometimes its not easy to copy a run configuration.
  • Sometimes NetBeans doesnt save a previous configuration.

Next time I will be concluding the series of What we love and hate about Java IDE’s.

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.

In the meantime why not tell us What IDE’s you use? and what you love and hate about it.

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Alex Marshall

Head of Marketing at IDR Solutions
Alex Marshall is a marketeer and enjoys being creative and has a keen interest in technology, loves gadgets and is fascinated by both new hardware and software. He also has a soft spot for retro technology and classic cars. He is familiar with the world of Java, PDF and HTML5 and currently explores other areas in the world of tech.

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Alex

About Alex Marshall

Alex Marshall is a marketeer and enjoys being creative and has a keen interest in technology, loves gadgets and is fascinated by both new hardware and software. He also has a soft spot for retro technology and classic cars. He is familiar with the world of Java, PDF and HTML5 and currently explores other areas in the world of tech.

9 thoughts on “What we love and hate about Java IDEs – NetBeans

  1. Tom

    I would say that NetBeans handles large files extremely well. Not only that, but it has refacoring tools that let me modify large sets of files simultaneously.

  2. Mario

    I will add two points:
    Love: Multipile language support (PHP + Frameworks, C/C++ with clang)
    Hate: Font rendering if it runs on Java 7

  3. Martin Weißhaupt

    I’m surprised that you didn’t mention the local history feature of netbeans. It commits every time you save a file to a local git repository and you can view all changes of the opened files by pressing the History button.

    This is the main feature I’m missing in IntelliJ.

    • IDEA has the best history function of the lot IMHO because you get all the changes at a timepoint, so you can roll the code as a whole back to any point.

      This is what I miss in NetBeans personally.

  4. Pavel

    NetBeans + Zend debugger = Perfect IDE

  5. Normally I do not comment on such blog entries where the author does not seem to be a NetBeans user. I think ‘hate’ is just a bit too heavy if you list things like that. I think it is better to use things where you are fast with. And some people are faster with Eclipse or IntelliJ and some are with NetBeans. All are very powerful these days.

    > NetBeans build.xml can get in the way if you are using Ant.

    Why then not import it as an Ant project?

    > Sometimes its not easy to copy a run configuration.

    It is very easy – at least for maven – you just need to copy a file…

    > NetBeans got some neat futures such as System out having an auto complete function.

    You can configure that for almost anything

    BTW: I miss the superior maven support, fast bug fixes, nice debugger, …

    > Mario -> Hate: Font rendering if it runs on Java 7

    Yes this is true. You can fix that. I’ve edited the etc/netbeans.conf and set netbeans_default_options to
    -J-Dawt.useSystemAAFontSettings=on –laf javax.swing.plaf.nimbus.NimbusLookAndFeel -J-client -J-Dsun.java2d.noddraw=true …

    > Mark Stephens

    I do not understand that. Did you try the NetBeans History feature?

    • We tried to be very careful with our title as one persons killer feature in an IDE in another person’s serious bug and everyone has a different shopping list (I use Ant so attach no value to Maven support).

      I made most of the NetBeans comments in the article (I am talking on NetBeans and GlassFish at JavaOne SF in BOF2764 if you are in town!). I use it for about 5-7 hours each day, I have written plugins for it, I was part of the testing for 7.3 and currently hammering 7.4 beta so I would claim to be a user.

      The comment on build.xml was that I felt it would have been more useful in hindsight to call it something like netbeans.xml or hide it away in nbproject (and leave the root default value of build.xml for the user project).

      With the run configurations, I meant that you can copy and past any setup in the IDE in IDEA but there is no simple copy option in NetBeans. I use this a lot to create slightly different run configurations in the IDE. Choosing Customise and then New always picks up the defaultConfig settings. A copy option would be very useful.

      The history comment is that NetBeans has very good history features on individual files. But on IDEA I can select any directory or even the whole project and roll it back to any event point (I can choose what these are). I find this really useful for being able to set points I can easily return to. I cannot do this in NetBeans as far as I am aware. I would have to do this on a file-by-file basis.

    • Mario

      I know the options, but the fonts in the editor window are looking much better with java 6 as the default netbeans_jdkhome. ;) IMHO! I don’t know, is it java 7 related or a netbeans behavior?

  6. I would add in the Love section the high quality maven support.

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