Wednesday, April 16, 2008

10 Things NetBeans must do to survive

( web site in initial days around 2001, obtained from WayBack Machine)

I stumbled upon an old post by Matt Stephens with the title 10 Things NetBeans must do to survive. Matt has reviewed NetBeans version 3.0 probably and the post is dated October 27, 2003. I got tempted to check whether his points hold good today for the current version after around 4 and half years of that review.

1. Improve the windowing system
In his first point he points out towards the windowing system. I have used IntelliJ IDEA and I daily use Eclipse in my day job. I can say the windowing system in NetBeans is according to current standards. Same dockable windows, floating windows and expandable editor windows. I am able to use the windowing system without much difference noticed.

2. Improve Usability
In his second point he mentions options panel, properties panel, GUI panel and Wizards being unfriendly. I have not used the NetBeans version 3.0 so cannot say about these windows in that version. For NetBeans IDE 6.1 I can see the options window, properties window, GUI panel and Wizards according to the current industry standards. If you do not have to learn a feature because it follows already established industry standard then that feature can be called as usable. In fact the GUI builder now have choices to create Java code which is not dependent on any NetBeans library.

3. Improve the default Look and Feel
In his third point Matt mentions default look and feel which in his view was not good at those times. Now I can see my NetBeans IDE opening with the Windows XP look and feel for me. This means the IDE now has smart look and feel features. I even tried changing my look and feel by changing the look and feel entry in netbeans.ini configuration and I now know I can have any look and feel to my NetBeans IDE.

4. Keep enhancing Java Editor
In his fourth point he suggests NetBeans to keep the Java editor up to date. I can see many good features now available for Java Editor. There are some hints missing but I see the Java Editor making progress in each version.

5. Slow down on APIs
Matt expresses unhappiness for the rapidly changing API of NetBeans platform. I can see many books in the market now with the established set of APIs. I feel the API of NetBeans is quite matured now and this point does not hold good now.

6. Make the APIs simpler
In this point it is mentioned that API is not suitable for standalone applications to get developed on the NetBeans platform. I cannot say much for this point. You the reader may have better points and if you do please tell me in comments of the post. What I can say is I have seen some applications developed on top of the NetBeans platform and hence do not feel the APIs are not good enough or simple.

7. Lose the NetBeans is slow stigma
The performance of NetBeans has been improved by the NetBeans team from version to version. The startup time is now fast and many benchmarking reviews are available.

8. Offer built-in refactoring support
Now NetBeans has a refactoring menu for Java refactoring. I can see major refactoring options available out of the box.

9. Make more noise
For this point Tim Boudreau also have stated in comments that hyped publicity do not last long. I can see many users of NetBeans writing about it and this is the most original and first hand publicity a software tool can get. So this point has being covered by different and better means creative of publicity and promotion.

10. Stop using that… brown colour scheme on their website
Here Matt says brown color should be left behind and NetBeans should embrace more professional color. I do not agree much to his point but now site has different colors that those days. The colors now are blue shades and smooth colors to eyes.

Concluding my review of the review I will say that all the points mentioned by Matt are covered by the new NetBeans IDE 6.1 and not only that the IDE now contains many more improvements and support for multiple languages as well.

If Matt writes about the current version of NetBeans IDE 6.1 again I believe he will agree to all my points and will also add some more praise to the points more than me.

Do read that review also as it contains many comments from many important people with interesting viewpoints. Do comment on my post with your opinion.

Recently I saw some back links for my blog. Many thanks to Ramesh and Jay for the link backs.

with regards
Tushar Joshi, Nagpur


  1. I think that someone lost one thing. I would add here:
    "Improve C/C++ specyfic features." :) Belive me or not, some people are using NetBeans for that language. Better template decopmosition and namespace parsing in multiple headers would help us a lot.

  2. Thanks for the comment and the suggestion. I believe if there is enough public demand and people are blogging about this new enhancement it will be done soon.

    We shall also add enhancement requests in the NetBeans Issuezilla for new features we want. I assume that you have already done that and from the Java example I can say that those enhancement request will get fulfilled in the next version of NetBeans.

    with regards

  3. How about Community Docs within the IDE?
    Or enhancing the functionality by adding support for embedded development in NetBeans??

    For more visit :

    Here I have posted my views on the above topics..

    You may have want to add your own opinions..

  4. Tushar bhai,

    I am not using Netbeans 6.1 beta, currently I am using Netbeans 6.0.1. I find the loading time at the startup is long. Though disabling some of the plugins that you don't generally use helps, it must be pointed out that netbeans website claims Nb 6.1, has 40% faster startup time. Since I don't use Nb 6.1, please do make a comparison.

    Secondly, I am a beginner in both java & Nb, could you please help me out with some troubles I found here:

    Many Thanks & Good luck,

  5. Show us how to build a line of business application using Netbeans RCP. I'm not looking to build a paint app or another RSS reader. I'd like to build a data intensive app (financial trading) which needs to display many tables reading data from many sources. Click on a row should effect data in other tables. User permissions should be enabled. I realize it is not too complex, but I don't even see good docs for a simple app with a simple JTable.
    (oh, and avoid what some book authors have done and don't include the first thousand pages about the history or philosophy of netbeans...just show quick easy samples which can be read in a 40 minute train ride!)

  6. Thanks Falcon for this valuable tip. This tells me an actual practical requirement people are looking for. I have added this as a todo item in my tutorial list. I will think on this idea and will surely try to add some NetBeans RCP tutorial in these lines to the NetBeans community documents.

    Thanks Again

    with regards

  7. falcon, I suggest you go and have a look at

  8. I've tested the new Netbeans, and it's so incredibly slow, I had no chance but to uninstall it and use old mousepad for my code writing. :(

    No matter what you try, Java simply wasn't meant to be used for IDEs (nor Operating Systems, for that matters). The only solution for me would be to compile it into native code, but I'm already late on schedule and can't afford losing more time on this.