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Thomas Kruse: My Five Favorite NetBeans IDE Features!

06.30.2014
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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 Thomas Kruse. -- NetBeans team.

I am Thomas Kruse, I have used NetBeans IDE since version 6.0, regularly and passionately. I am owner of trion GmbH, a German consulting company. Together with Gerrit Grunwald I founded the Java Usergroup in Muenster: http://www.jug-muenster.de. This gives me great diversity of projects and insights in the Java and software development ecosystem.

I want to share with you my favorite NetBeans features. You may be surprised that I will mainly focus on "soft" factors and not specific shortcuts or wizards. But read on, think about it, and give NetBeans a try if you haven't done so yet!

1. It Just Works - Right.  NetBeans prime feature is that it works out of the box. If you want to start learning Java, just download and start exploring. An enterprise customer project based on JSF - the same.

Maven integration (illustrated above) is top notch, and it is the real Maven thing. If it works building with NetBeans you will have no surprise breaks in your CI nightly build. And you can even import Eclipse projects - which you may want to convert to Maven builds immediately.

2. Continuous Improvement. NetBeans has come a long way, keeping up with the ever changing world. You can develop your HTML5-AngularJS frontend for your application with NetBeans today because of the continuous adoption of technologies and languages that are the state of the art in a polyglot development stack. RESTful backend support with JAX-RS is good as well, you can easily browse and navigate your resources:


Of course the support for the latest Java version is important for me too. NetBeans delivers.

3. Frictionless Speed. For me it is very important to be able to work fast. I don't want to wait for code completion, or find usages. (Especially I do not want the IDE to block for a couple of seconds while it is 'working'. I regularly see this at clients that use a different IDE.)

The IDE does not stand on my feet when I want to run, it tries to offer the right thing. A good example is the "ArrayList" thing: I always get crazy when an IDE suggests to use the "java.awt.List" when I type "List". I almost never want that! And look at NetBeans:

4. Assistance for Quality. NetBeans shows me hints for possible bugs while I develop. This helps me improving the quality of the code and sometimes even of my own knowledge. Here is a hint to improve code semantic - while it was not wrong in the first place, NetBeans helped to improve the code and making it more readable. A huge benefit for larger and complex code bases!

Integration of jUnit and testng frameworks along with code coverage metrics helps you with your test code. Did you know that you can right-click on a project and execute all test cases for the whole project? This even works for multi module Maven projects. And again, it is executed using the real Maven, leading to reproducible and correct results.


5. Community. This is really valuable and makes NetBeans more than just a tool. You can participate easily in improving the quality of NetBeans via the NetBeans Community Acceptance Testing (NetCAT) program and your contribution is valued.

The issue tracker is open for requests for enhancements as well and there are mailing lists where you can get friendly support and meet nice people. 

Once I wanted to get an improvement regarding the Maven indexer in NetBeans to reduce the index time and filesystem size. I learned that this would have to be implemented upstream and worked on a patch. During the integration in NetBeans, I received one of the most amazing support in my career by Milos Kleint of the NetBeans development team. He encouraged me keep on whenever I seemed to get stuck. The end result is a patch for the Maven indexer upstream project that will become part of the next release. This will improve many projects besides NetBeans and will touch hundreds of thousands of developers machines.

Give NetBeans a try today - it is more than just another IDE!

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

Published at DZone with permission of its author, Thomas K..

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