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Moses Khazalwa: My Five Favorite NetBeans IDE Features!

06.11.2014
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Continuing a series of articles focusing on NetBeans users and their five favorite NetBeans IDE features, here's the next part, by Moses Khazalwa. -- NetBeans team.

Hi, I am Aluda Moses Khazalwa, a college finalist studying for a BSc. Degree in Computer Science at Dedan Kimathi University of Technology in Kenya. When I am not doing assignments, projects, and class work, I develop Mobile Apps using Apache Cordova with NetBeans IDE and play around with Java EE and PHP (Code Ingiter, moving onto Laravel). I also get mucky on Front End design (born an artist). I am also a lover and believer of Jesus Christ. Finally, I love cooking Marinated chicken from time to time!

What are your favorite NetBeans features?

1. Collapsed Code Overview on Mouse Hover. NetBeans IDE makes code navigation easier, helping developers maintain cleaner code and navigating around easily, while reading code. The "code overview on mouse hover" feature comes in handy. When one places the mouse over a collapsed chunk of code, the IDE displays the contents of the collapsed chunk without opening it in a modal like window within the workspace. 

2.  Code Collapse/Expand Keyboard Commands. Developers usually run into classes with several hundreds of lines of code and numerous functions. With a small screen accommodating less than fifty lines of code, it becomes difficult to navigate from function to function and from procedure to procedure within the same class.


With the CTRL/- and CTRL/+ keyboard commands, its possible to collapse/expand functions into only two lines and still be able to view its content using the "code overview on mouse hover" feature described above. This greatly improves navigation within classes, making it easy to debug code.

3.  Code Completion with Function/Procedure Documentation. NetBeans IDE has made web development more enjoyable using its Auto-Complete feature that has been around for quite some time in previous versions of NetBeans IDE.

Apart from suggesting available functions and classes, NetBeans IDE also couples the auto-complete feature with a function documentation window within the workspace. The command CTRL/space does the magic.

4. Android Web Browser Integration. For those web developers who want to combine their web application with mobile skills, Apache Cordova/Phonegap comes in handy. NetBeans IDE 8.0 has been built to support development of HTML5 applications.

One striking feature is the browser support to test mobile and web applications, invoked within the working space. NetBeans IDE 8.0 minimizes lots of hassles for developers by interfacing the NetBeans IDE with the Android Web Browser or Mobile Chrome running in Android devices.



This  interface, that is, the NetBeans Connector, frees developers from running terminal commands commonly associated with the "adb", that is, the Android Developer Bridge, and Cordova. This feature supports quite a number of browsers.

5.  Easy and Comprehensive Customizability. It is without doubt that the graphical user interface of a system affects the productivity of the users interacting with it. NetBeans IDE is built on the idea of giving more power to users to determine the IDE's look and feel.

NetBeans IDE has a feature for building custom themes. This feature lets you specify the Font Type and Size, and the Background and Foreground colors, among other details. For details, take a look at Tools>Options>Font And Color tab, Tools>Options>Appearance.

Do you also want to share your favorite NetBeans features with the world? Write to netbeans dot webmaster at gmail dot com.

Published at DZone with permission of its author, Moses Khazalwa.

(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)