Nathan Howard Nathan is a Java/HTML5 developer. Nathan also enjoys writing technical blog-articles and playing games in his spare time.

My 5 Favourite NetBeans Features

2 min read

Mark Stephens (Lead Developer at IDR Solutions recently wrote an interesting blog article that listed his five favorite NetBeans IDE features, however, Mark was only allowed to list five! So here are my top five which I believe are also worthy of the list.

1. Easy Webservice

The first thing I love about NetBeans is how easy it is to get up-and-running with web applications and services using their IDE. I frequently use GlassFish and the ease of set-up and integration with NetBeans makes testing and debugging our Online PDF to HTML5 converter really easy! I can have our web-applications set-up and deploy within a couple of minutes, and the fact all logs are dumped to the output console makes debugging much faster!

We also run our Cloud-based PDF to HTML5 service using web services so the fact that NetBeans comes with support for services (such as Amazon Elastic Beanstalk Service (EBS)) means we can deploy our web applications directly to our hosting provider.


2. Cordova/Phone Gap

During my free time, I like to play with mobile technologies and one I’m looking into at the moment is Cordova which is a platform for building native mobile applications using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. NetBeans 7.4 now has support for Apache’s Cordova, so long Eclipse & XCode! With Cordova support, my fun and games can be centralized to one IDE… NetBeans!!

Image courtesy of Link

3. Code Formatting & Refactoring

NetBeans features some really cool code formatting and ordering tools. It saves so much time, having the ability to select what code chunks I want to format is ideal because in much of our development code we have test brackets that control what code is included and what isn’t in our releases and these tests brackets can be affected by an auto-format.  Being able to select and choose what code I want to format prevents lengthy repository pushes and stops me from being cautioned by the boss for accidentally removing the test-code brackets!

Simply auto-formatting an entire class is not practical as all our code commits should be small and some classes can be huge (so you can imagine the lengthy code-review when you auto-format an entire class).


4. Refactoring tools

Since NetBeans 7.4 there have also been really nice refactoring additions and NetBeans is now showing a healthy list of refactoring tools, for example, the ability to replace a block of code with a method, this is really nice as auto-generation speeds up dev time which is important in any software company. Another really nice ability is to move a class from one package to another and have all your code automatically updated with the new import locations.


5. Versioning Labels

As a developer, it’s not uncommon to have multiple projects open at the same time, even multiple versions of the same project! Luckily NetBeans with its integration with Mercurial allows you to see the versioning history of your NetBeans projects. This means I can have multiples of the same project open and instantly be able to differentiate between them just by looking at the version next to their name, this feature is especially handy when trying to figure why the URL links in version X are linking to our Online Converter but the links in version Y are linking to pirated episodes of Breaking-Bad!


I hope you enjoyed reading this article which lists my 5 Favourite NetBeans Features, if you have any favourite features of your own then let us know in the comments below!

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




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Nathan Howard Nathan is a Java/HTML5 developer. Nathan also enjoys writing technical blog-articles and playing games in his spare time.

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