Great Expectations and a few disappointments with NetBeans 5
Last Saturday (November 19th) I went to OneDayJava 2005, an event hosted by Rio de Janeiro SouJava affiliate and had the privilege of hearing a speech from Robert Brewin, NetBeans and Sun Java Studio Creator Chief Architect. It was a great opportunity to ask him about the relationship between NetBeans development and Java Studio Creator.
I was always suspicious that NetBeans were a second-class citizen inside Sun, as most of their marketing and development were focused in Sun Studio. Of course I know Sun Studio uses NetBeans as its base, but this fact was never made very clear by Sun marketing, almost as if it were a secret. Besides that, sometimes Sun Studio and NetBeans seems to be developing the feature in parallel, for example Matisse x Raven or the J2EE features.
Well, Robert admitted that in the past Sun Studio and NetBeans teams did not interacted as they should, and a lot of effort was duplicated, but assured us that his vision is that both teams will be working together to improve NetBeans and delivering Sun Studio as a set of value-added plug-in modules for NetBeans. He said the focus is now on NetBeans and not on Studio, that core features will be developed by both teams as part of newer NetBeans releases and Studio won't hide anymore the fact that it is NetBeans + plug-ins.
It takes courage for a person in Robert's position to admit mistakes from the past, kudos to him. Better yet, his vision should benefit both NetBeans and Sun Studio users, who will getter better software and more advances. But I would like to see NetBeans leave Sun's umbrella. I welcome Sun efforts into the product and I am very grateful for them, but NetBeans should have ideas from people outside Sun. The user community should decide how NetBeans would evolve, not only Sun by itself.
And NetBeans 5 can help this a lot. The new support for creating NetBeans plug-in modules enables many small developers to improve NetBeans. Sun should use that to foster a healthy ecosystem around NetBeans, a more open and participative one. But people won't join if they perceive NetBeans as being controlled by only Sun and being just a