Mark Stephens Mark has been working with Java and PDF since 1999 and is a big NetBeans fan. He enjoys speaking at conferences. He has an MA in Medieval History and a passion for reading.

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Why I use Apache NetBeans to write Java code

1 min read

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NetBeans has been on a very interesting journey over the last two years, moving from the stewardship of Oracle to part of the Apache foundation. This process is still incomplete but we are starting to see how NetBeans under Apache will operate. There is much more transparency and Community involvement with 3-4 regular releases a year and a development version. The full source code of NetBeans is available on gitHub.

For many, that would be reason enough to choose NetBeans. But NetBeans also offers a large number of practical advantages. Here are some of the ones which really matter to me.

Solid and Robust

I write Java code for hours every day. I want a tool which is solid and reliable. NetBeans has been developed and tested to a very high standard for over 20 years and I never have to shut it down on my Mac. I have tried several other Java IDEs and nothing else comes close to NetBeans on my Mac. I can just code all day…..

Fast editor

The NetBeans editor easily keeps up with me on my Mac and has an excellent selection of keyboard shortcuts. An editor is a very personal choice – for me NetBeans is right at the sweet spot of power, functionality and speed.

Productivity Features

NetBeans has clever context sensitive auto-completion. I just press ctrl and space and NetBeans will give me options, including code templates and creating getters and setters. NetBeans also includes a full range of hints and integration with FindBugs and PMD to check my code. It can also create boiler plate code for tests very quickly.

Easy to customise

NetBeans is modular, so it is very easy to customise and remove functionality you do not need (or add additional plugins for extra functionality). You can also change the colour, font sizes, keyboard shortcuts, buttons on your nav bar and share your profile with other users. NetBeans makes it very easy to tailor to exactly the way you want to work.

Distraction free coding

Full-screen mode and the ability to access any services (Maven, databases, servers) means you can let NetBeans take over your screen and focus on your work. There is even a built-in terminal. Just plugin in your music and get into the zone.

Built in profiler and Debugger

NetBeans includes a complete debugger and a low overhead profiler. So I can do all my coding and development in the same place.

Maven Support

Maven works seamlessly out of the box with NetBeans. Maven goals can be easily run from NetBeans. There is easy editing of pom files and graphical dependency views, or NetBeans is happy for me to work directly in Maven and manually edit files. It is like Maven is the NetBeans native format.

Great Community

NetBeans has always had a real community feel around it. There are mailing lists, lots of people willing to help and lots of resources on youtube and other sites. And you will meet NetBeans enthusiasts at lots of Community events. We spoke at DevFest Istanbul this month and made lots of new friends.

All this means I actually spend very little of my day thinking about the fact I am using NetBeans as I am focused on developing my Java code. Which is how it should be….


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Mark Stephens Mark has been working with Java and PDF since 1999 and is a big NetBeans fan. He enjoys speaking at conferences. He has an MA in Medieval History and a passion for reading.