A First Look at NetBeans 6.7
A few days after Eclipse Galileo, Netbeans released its latest offering,
Netbeans 6.7. Here is a first look, as always from my entirely biased
“Out of the box” readiness has always been a forte of Netbeans
(pun intended for old-timers). The integration with the href="http://kenai.com/projects/help/pages/KenaiOverview">Kenai open source
software hosting site takes nothing more than entering your password. You can
do issue tracking from inside the IDE. Think of it as “Mylyn for
Glassfish integration is also smoother than in Eclipse. And you don't have
to fuss with a Subversion adapter, like in Eclipse. Subversion and Mercurial
are built in.
I just noticed that Netbeans has an equivalent to Eclipse's workspaces,
called “project groups”. (Thanks to Michael Bien for pointing out that this feature has been there since 6.0.) The Netbeans feature isn't quite as
powerful as the Eclipse equivalent. —you can't have two project groups with different code formatting
I am told that Netbeans has great support for PHP, but that's not my cup of
tea. I tried activating Scala support, following the “nightly
build” instructions from this
page, but I got an error “Could not connect to compilation
daemon.”. Update: That error goes away if you globally set
SCALA_HOME and add the Scala bin directory to the global path (e.g. in
/etc/environment). Unfortunately, the plugin seems just as basic as the Scala plugin in Eclipse. In particular, no useful autocompletion or refactoring.
One big disappointment for me is the lack of support for a JSF component
set. Netbeans used to include the href="https://woodstock.dev.java.net/">Woodstock components, which Sun
unfortunately abandoned. The promise at the time was that Netbeans would switch
to IceFaces, and you can find a conversion guide href="http://www.netbeans.org/kb/docs/web/icefaces-migration-1.html">here.
It uses a plugin which does not seem to be available with NetBeans 6.7.
(Soapbox: I have always felt that there ought to be a high quality, visually
attractive component set as a part of JSF. Can you imagine if Swing had just
JComponentand left it to third parties to develop
component sets? Well, that's how it is with JSF, and Sun is now at the mercy of
those third parties.)
If you want to experiment with JSF 2.0, be sure to install Glassfish v3
preview ( href="https://glassfish.dev.java.net/downloads/v3-preview.html">from here;
this is not the same as the prelude version that ships with NetBeans).
Then install Vince Kraemer's nifty Glassfish V3 enabler plugin from the
Netbeans plugins dialog, and point it to your installation. Unfortunately, JSF
editing is disappointing. The facelets plugin doesn't know anything about JSF
2.0. So, it's really no better than Eclipse.
That, in a nutshell, is the problem with this Netbeans release. For a while,
Netbeans was faster and better in supporting new Java EE features. For that
reason, I regularly used it for my web projects. But with both Eclipse and
Netbeans having equally basic support for JSF 2.0, I found myself back in
Eclipse. What would it take for me to change again? Autocompletion in JSF 2.0
pages. A JSF component set with a visual editor. A superior Scala plugin.
Hopefully in Netbeans 6.8.