Out With The New, In With The Newer
One big difference between the application server project and the NetBeans project is how often we release. The application server release schedule is basically driven by the JCP, which pumps out a new J2EE spec every couple of years, at best. With NetBeans, we target roughly a 6-9 month release schedule. The upshot - we get many more release parties than my friends on the application server team.
Well, let's not jump the gun. It's not time to celebrate yet, at least officially. For me, however, it is time to upgrade my default IDE from NetBeans 4.1 to 5.0. That's because today, NetBeans 5.0 Beta hit the streets. That's when the quality's good enough to make it my default IDE. I've been waiting for this date to take advantage of all the good things coming in NetBeans 5.0.
What's my favorite new feature? Well, certainly Matisse revolutionizes Swing development. And with 5.0, I'm looking forward to making my J2SE applications web service clients. I'm also looking forward to using the revamped version control. Actually, one of the reasons I've used the 5.0 development builds was specifically for its built-in ssh client, which makes downloading projects from sites like java.net a snap. However, one feature which just caught my attention, I think I like the most. It's the automatic inclusion of imports when I use code completion. For example, in the Java editor, type "Big" and hit ctrl-space. You'll see the following:
Nothing new there (except the redundant class name that has been removed from the package indicator). However, when you select either BigDecimal or BigInteger, the import statement for that class is automatically added for you. Fix Imports added to 4.0 was an improvement, but I've still always hated the need to use it. It's this type of attention to detail that makes developers happiest. Check out NetBeans 5.0 and find your favorite new feature. It may surprise you.