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Key Binding Annoyances..

Posted by eitan on December 15, 2004 at 12:42 PM PST

When I used to work on Windows computers, I used Ctrl+F4 to close windows. That held true across applications. I've been working on MacOS X now for about two years and the modus operandi for closing windows is Command+W.

Why do I bring this up? Because I have been interested in trying out NetBeans 4.0. I noticed that RC2 now is available for MacOS X. One of my biggest wishes in my current IDE (Eclipse) is to have its "build" and "run" features be based on Ant. Many IDEs have Ant integration but it's not the same thing. Anyhow, I have been really curious to try out NetBeans 4.0, as it sports that very feature.

So I unpack the distribution, launch it, open a sample project, and discover that the key binding for "Close Window" is Command+F4. This is a major turn-off. Sure, it's pretty easy to define whatever key bindings I want to use and it may even be possible to save them so that I don't have to re-apply them after an upgrade. The converse is also true: how difficult would it be for the manufacturer of the IDE to provide pre-bundled key bindings per OS? This little nitpicky thing about key bindings suggests to me that there may be other such annoyances, other issues lurking in the product (though I may be entirely wrong). It has led me, for the moment, to put NetBeans back on the shelf.

If the provider of an IDE product is really serious about convincing people to use their IDE over another, I'm afraid they're going to have to try a little harder.

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