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A Tale of Two Dialogs - Replacing Text in Netbeans and Eclipse

Posted by johnreynolds on September 3, 2004 at 8:28 AM PDT

I downloaded the NetBeans 4.0 beta, and I have to say that it's pretty slick. Two years ago, I switched from the Sun One Community Edition to Eclipse, and I am very happy with that choice, but I like to keep up with NetBeans progress. Each environment has strengths that the other lacks, and it's nice to see the cross-pollination leading to better tools for everybody.

My switch from NetBean's predecessor to Eclipse hinged on one simple feature. It wasn't Refactoring, it wasn't Wizards, it wasn't Swing vs. SWT. The feature that chased me away was simple search and replace.

NetBeans 4 has added a slew of great features, and I may switch back, but sadly that original pet peave of mine has still gone unaddressed.

Here is the NetBeans 4 Replace dialog:

netbeans image

Look's simple enough. Nothing to carp about here...

Oh wait! Take a look at the Eclipse 3 Replace dialog:

eclipse image

See the difference?

Eclipse lets me limit the scope of the Replace function to the selected lines.

That's it. That's why I switched from NetBeans to Eclipse. It's an amazingly trivial feature, but at the time I made the switch I really needed it.

So what's the moral of this story? To some it may be that I am too picky and to heck with me. For others, I hope that they will grok my message. Basic text editing is still a huge part of code development and simple text editing features can make or break an IDE.

NetBeans has some really cool features that dwarf this pet peave of mine, and I congratulate all of the folks who have contributed to it. Keep up the good work.

Netbeans 4.1 Update:

Hurrah! Netbeans 4.1 has "fixed" this problem...

netbeans 4.1 image

Many thanks to the responsible party.

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