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- 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- and would still continue to blog there 😀

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.