What is NetBeans?
If your answer is an IDE, you're half right. It's also probably what more than 90% of my readers have answered. Few folks seem to know that NetBeans is also a platform for building desktop applications. I was on the phone with an analyst last week who was absolutely shocked to learn this fact. Now the NetBeans Platform has been around for 5 years - so why is it such a big secret? Most likely because we hadn't taken the time to provide the developers with the resources they need to be successful in working with the Platform - you know, basic stuff like tools support, documentation and sample code. Well, with NetBeans 5.0, all of that has changed. Renewed support for the NetBeans Platform is one of the big reasons for the NetBeans IDE version number jump from 4 to 5. I could go into a bunch of further details here, but my colleague Roman Strobl has put together a very engaging 20 minutes video presentation that's worth the watch. After which, when someone asks you "What is NetBeans?", you can reply, "That depends, are you asking about the NetBeans Platform or the NetBeans IDE?".