From “Zero” to a “Better Alternative”

From “Zero”

At least in Germany, Netbeans wasn’t really popular. Even 2-3 years ago, developers just didn’t cared about Netbeans – some even didn’t heard about it. Frankly speaking, until version 5.0, Netbeans wasn’t actually competetive, comparing it to the alternatives. Netbeans versions 5.0 and 5.5 changed the game: the Matisse GUI builder and superb Java EE 5 / JSF support draw some attention – however there were still some rough edges like relatively slow performance, and not that good editor. Both were significantly improved in the 6.0 version, performance was further improved in 6.1. The editor became really good – similar to Eclipse, but with some nice enhancements, for instance, try using “Strg+Enter”.

Why it impresses newbies?

What really impresses Netbeans-newbies is the integrated profiler and the UML support (this one has to be downloaded separately). It is very easy to visualize existing code as class diagrams with only few clicks (about 5). Visual JSF support with Data binding, intuitive Glassfish integration and some bleeding edge stuff like support for RESTFul services (JSR-311), Python, PHP, JavaFX, JavaScript, BeansBinding (JSR-295), Swing Application Framework (JSR-296), Grails, JRuby On Rails, Mercurial support and many others, makes it really interesting for the “hardcore geeks”.

Becoming a “better alternative…”

What I observe, however, is the (actually huge) adoption of Netbeans behind the scenes. It remembers me at the old Eclipse 1.0 days. In meetings, lunches someone mentions the “coolness” of Netbeans and his private experiences with it. Whats new here- sometimes such a chat turns into introduction of Netbeans into the company. In the first step as complemention, then as “the only IDE you need”.

Netbeans seems to ignite some passion as well. Developers without bias just love it, the others not so. IDE’s, however, were always religious topics- since the advent of Java.

NetBeans Platform- a phenomena

Another phenomenon is the growing adoption of, is the Netbeans Platform. There are several (German) books available already. Tutorials and sample applications help to start. Netbeans Platform could become even more interesting, Java FX is based on Java 2D and Swing. The same technology as Netbeans RCP. The Matisse GUI Builder, Data Binding, build-in WebStart and packaging/deployment support makes it interesting for production as well.

The “esotherical” folks love Netbeans too- it comes with really good SOA and ESB support.

Why do I like it?

I like Netbeans because of it “out-of-the-box” experience- http://www.adam-bien.com/roller/abien/entry/thinking_loud_about_eclipse_and. I just download it and start. I use it for trainings as well. It is absolutely possible to setup the IDE with Java EE 5 environment in less than 5 minutes. And I like to switch between Eclipse and Netbeans back and forth – it’s fun experience. It’s good to be in the Java land :)

Thank You

So, this is Adam Bien for all of you, he’s my first special guest blogger, who was invited to blog the 80th entry over here. Though, he’s used to blog at his personal domain- http://blog.adam-bien.com/ and would still continue to blog there :D

Adam, thank you so much! It was indeed a pleasure to have you blog over here


Java Champion Adam Bien is a self-employed consultant, lecturer, software architect, developer, and author in the enterprise Java sector in Germany / Europe who implements Java technology on a large scale. He is also the author of several books and articles on Java and J2EE technology, as well as distributed Java programming.

Bien is also a member of the NetBeans Dream Team; an Expert Group member of the Java Community Process for EJB 3.1, JPA 2.0, and Java EE 6; and involved in embedded Java, Grid, and P2P technology. He currently works as an architect and developer in several J2EE-Java EE Model-Driven Architecture (MDA) and EAI component architecture projects for the Java EE platform and .NET.

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11 thoughts on “From “Zero” to a “Better Alternative”

  1. What I observe, however, is the (actually huge) adoption of Netbeans behind the scenes

    Keep on dreaming, dreamteammember!

  2. Keep on dreaming, dreamteammember!

    I switched from the Eclipse plugins mess to NB 5. Now when collegues or partners ask me for an IDE I reccommend it. They now reccommend it, also. And so on…

    Well, I own a (very) small software house, so not so much specific weight here.

    But, wait: a déjà vu! What OS do you use? Linux! And so on

  3. I have exactly seen how people have started to use Netbeans and how the community has grown. Netbeans has really grown so much and its been fun to watch it become big!!

    BTW Varun, great community work by getting other team members to write as guests on your blog. Wonderful reading Adam!!

  4. Would they also bother fixing the bugs and making it stable, it would be even better. Try refactoring (or even just finding usages) on a multiple projects workspace in netbeans 6.0/6.1, after a few days the classpath cache gets cluttered and buggy and nb can’t find anything, unless you exit the ide, manually delete the cache and go back.

  5. Yes, NetBeans has improved over the years and still is.

    But: the UML module(s) Adam mentioned is an impressive chunk of stuff but is next to unusable. It’s painfully slow and buggy. We really tried to use it in a project with some hundred classes and finally gave up. I don’t see any improvements in this area. Support for nifty technologies like Ruby and JavaScript is added but the natural Java scripting language Groovy is still not integrated (Martin Adamek is doing a really good job here, though, but it simply doesn’t work like the Java support does, yet…).

    And there are still some areas where Eclipse still beats NetBeans when it comes to responsiveness. Maybe this is an Windows issue, but if I switch back to Eclipse I’m always surprised by the good responsiveness of the Eclipse UI.

    Anyway, like Adam pointed it out: it’s good to be in Java land and I am thankfully looking forward to see NetBeans constantly keeping up with Eclipse. Considering the ‘Out of the Box Experience’ NetBeans already is way better than Eclipse’s plugin hell…

    Marcus

  6. @Saptarshi,

    BTW Varun, great community work by getting other team members to write as guests on your blog. Wonderful reading Adam!!

    More to follow soon…Thanks ;)

  7. @Marcus,

    Support for nifty technologies like Ruby and JavaScript is added but the natural Java scripting language Groovy is still not integrated (Martin Adamek is doing a really good job here, though, but it simply doesn’t work like the Java support does, yet…).

    AFAIK, this will take some time, but yes work’s going on, and all blogs I have seen by Geertjan, suggest the support is awesome. Though, I have myself not yet worked in Groovy.

    Anyway, like Adam pointed it out: it’s good to be in Java land and I am thankfully looking forward to see NetBeans constantly keeping up with Eclipse. Considering the ‘Out of the Box Experience’ NetBeans already is way better than Eclipse’s plugin hell…

    Affirmative :)

  8. Ulrich,

    we call ourselfs “Dreamers” – so your comment is not that strange :-).

    Regarding adoption – it is only my observation. After a short Netbeans demo – developer are just stunning. I was able to introduce Netbeans to majority of “my” Java EE 5 projects. The developers seemed to like it. I had 3 Netbeans RCP project in last two years as well …the first ones,

    thank you for your comment!,

    adam

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