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Netbeans & Eclipse - confluence is possible

Posted by felipegaucho on February 3, 2008 at 10:22 AM PST

Trying href=''>NetBeans
6.1 I got Eclipse and NetBeans ready for my collaborators in a
transparent way. Actually I started the href=''>Footprint Project few months
ago with NetBeans, and later I also started using Eclipse to maintain
its contents because I use different environments in my daylight job and in
my Open Source activities.

After few trials, I was forced to abandon NetBeans due to
the absence of support for JUnit 4.1, but after the release of the newest
NetBeans, I got JUnit and several other interesting href=''>features
that put me back on track about offering the community a more
comfortable development environment. Today, you can href=''>checkout
Footprint Project both in Eclipse and NetBeans IDE without loss of
productivity or any need of special configuration tricks.

And what about configuration files?

The configuration files of both platforms are committed under
version control and I noticed they are ignored by the other platform.
Eclipse shows an alert in the problems list, and the internal
file used by NetBeans for automatic updating of ANT tasks is also
marked as problem, but it has no impact on the development environment
and the project normally compiles, runs and executes tests in both IDEs.

What is the big deal on using two IDEs in a same project?

In commercial projects, probably the best strategy is to bet in
a unique platform and find a way to extract the best that IDE can give
you, eventually including some platform specific tricks in your
configuration to enhance your productivity. But technology is not
static and sometimes it is nice to keep an open mind about what is
going on in the open source community. I will not promote here another
tiring comparison of IDE flame, we have enough of that in every Java
mailing list, but I'd rather to post some positive thoughts from
my personal experience:

NetBeans offers automatic updating of ANT tasks
if you change artifacts and/or structure of your project. For example,
if you include a new folder, NetBeans add its reference in your
ANT tasks definition. The Sun IDE also offers an impressive i18n
support with features to refactor old projects in order to verify
missed constants.

On the other side, Eclipse is still the most
comfortable Java editor available, fast and reliable.

Both IDEs offer a very good Subversion support and the most
common development features without great differences - despite personal
opinions, of course ;)

That's it for now, I am very happy with the recent advances of
NetBeans IDE and I am for a long time fan of Eclipse, so what I suggest you to
do is to try both IDEs and find out what best fits your project
requirements. Afterwards, the best comparison available continues to be
your own experience.

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When I'm using Maven as central build tool I'm able to even use three IDE's (Idea, NetBeans, Eclipse). Also the same project can be build on a central continuous integration server without any change.

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How does one deal with the Netbeans gui designer when working in Eclipse? I mean the code it generates is supposed to be editable only by the visual editor and not by hand, ok, next time I will remember to create PNG ;) About Matisse: the trick is to use the best of each IDE to improve your productivity. If you notice a good feature in Eclipse, use it. The same for any tool. What cannot happen is to keep locked in old features, ignoring the other side, just because the overall feeling about other IDEs is not so good. Last tip: Matisse is also available for Eclipse, but I am not sure if the underneath configuration file will be recognized for both IDEs. I will start to produce Web-Services for Footprint and I already did some evaluation on the tools. Eclipse seems locked in Axis, while NetBeans offer support for WSIT. Since I am thinking about contract-first, probably I will start using NetBeans and later adapt it to Eclipse allowing the collaborators to chosse their preferred environment... let's see

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