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"What is your favorite new NetBeans IDE 7.4 feature?"

10.30.2013
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With the release of NetBeans IDE 7.4, a bunch of handy HTML5 development tools (such as a JavaScript debugger and Chrome "live editing" features and much more) introduced in NetBeans IDE 7.3 are extended to Java EE and PHP applications, while there is brand new support for mobile web deployment, including on-device debugging and CSS styling, on Android and iOS devices, together with deep integration for developers using the Cordova/PhoneGap framework.

What does the NetBeans community think of these new features and enhancements? A key component of the NetBeans community is NetCAT, which stands for "NetBeans Community Acceptance Testing" program, a group of volunteer beta testers from all over the world, active users of NetBeans IDE in companies everywhere, collaborating with each other in "tribes" while heavily involved in testing NetBeans IDE during the months leading up to new releases. (More on NetCAT in this YouTube clip!) Some of those taking part in the most recent NetCAT activities, over the past months testing the newest features and enhancements, were asked what they consider to be the most useful and interesting new additions to NetBeans IDE 7.4... and below are their responses!

Thomas Kruse (Germany). In its 7.4 release, NetBeans IDE has become a professional IDE for the whole  stack, from back-end to front-end. The new JavaScript and HTML features of NetBeans IDE 7.3 have been enhanced by the new support for AngularJS, Knockout, and Ext JS, together with even better Browser integration for debugging and live development of PHP and Java EE applications. Also, an often overlooked new feature is the new "distraction-free mode" (Ctrl-Shift-Enter), which helps tremendously when you have to work on a small screen, because this features lets you remove all "noise", such as toolbars and menubars, from the editor area instantaneously.

Djamel Torche (Algeria). First of all, I really appreciate the new Cordova/PhoneGap support and, more generally, the support for HTML5 development and JavaScript frameworks, such as AngularJS, Knockout, and Ext JS. Next, I like the enhanced out of the box Git integration that makes Git even easier to work with than before.

Edson Carlos Ericksson Richter (Brazil). Web application development: sorry there are just so many improvements that I can't live without that I can't really nominate a specific one of them! I think, of all of them, the Chrome integration is really amazing! Next, and this is not a unique new feature, though I think this affects my work more than anything else: the huge number of fixed bugs is just AMAZING. Also, the improved NetBeans Profiler: this is so important and I'm very impressed about the valuable information gathered by the integrated Profiler for either desktop or web applications.

Yannis-Pastis Glaros (Greece). The new "Run/Debug focused test method" support can be a life saver in some cases, for example, if you try to design tests on an already running older project that didn't have tests in its initial design. The new Task Management window, with JIRA and Bugzilla integration, really helps organize your work when you're working on many large projects at the same time. Finally, all PHP improvements are always welcomed, as my main focus is PHP. In that regard, perhaps the integration of HTML5 development tools in PHP applications is the most important for me.

Benno Markiewicz (Germany). The improved GIT support: next to the fact that it works out of the box without much hassle, I like especially that I can have my favorite GIT actions, such as  "pull" and "push" in the toolbar and that NetBeans asks me if I want to merge or rebase my local changes when I pull remote changes. The improved Java code completion: especially the subword completion and the chained code completion (this helps me to write my unit tests faster). Also, now I can show the "groupId", "artifactId", and "version" in Maven project nodes too. Eclipse users know this feature from their "m2eclipse" plugin. This helps me verify whether the current feature branch matches the POM version. These are only tiny things, but that is often what counts! 

Yonathan Weldegebriel (Ethiopia). Some of my favorite features in NetBeans IDE 7.4 are, firstly, in the Java Editor, the new "method and field ordering" features, which are both very helpful in the formatting of my code. Secondly, I also like the new centralized Notifications window because it is good to never miss any of your notifications!

Eric Barboni (France). The enhanced out of the box Maven support, together with improved support for NetBeans Platform Maven projects, with integrity checking, is very very useful. The marking of non-public packages is very helpful, too. I also like the enhanced possibilities of being able to further customize and finetune Maven project settings.

Constantin Drabo (Burkina Faso). Ext JS is now integrated, which is very cool! It will help me write nice applications based on the Sencha framework. In C/C++ projects, I can now compile single files from projects with existing code, while I'm able to use the same IDE to enjoy and discover application development for smartphones, which simultaneously lets me try them out via support for deployment to iOS and Android emulators and devices.

K Adithyan (India). I like the GUI builder, even more than before, which is the IDE's best feature in my opinion because it can be used as a training suite for teaching Java GUI building. I also like that development of plugins for NetBeans IDE is even easier than before. In fact, plugin development is very easy. The development of various types of plugins is very intuitive to understand. Very nice. As always, the project creation wizards are self explanatory and the distinct library manager, Java platform manager, and similar tools, are helpful and modular.

Laurent Forêt (France). One of the things I appreciate most is the stability of NetBeans IDE and the ability it has shown to be able to evolve in new directions. I've used NetBeans IDE in my daily work for about 10 years now. I've enjoyed the CVS/Ant integration in NetBeans IDE 3.X, the SVN/Ant integration in NetBeans IDE 4.X to 5.X, and now the Git/Maven support in NetBeans IDE 7.4. In 7.4, I also like the code completion suggestions in static import statements and I hope I will have the time to try the new Cordova and AngularJS support!

And, having read the above, what do you, the reader of this article, consider to be the coolest or most useful new NetBeans IDE 7.4 features? Leave your thoughts here in the comments to this article!
Published at DZone with permission of its author, Geertjan Wielenga.

Comments

Toni Epple replied on Wed, 2013/10/30 - 4:02am

For me it's the integration of HTML5 features from Project Easel with Java Web Projects. That really is the way development should be like. You've got a complete set of tools for everything, debugging of Java and JavaScript in one debugging session, live CSS Editing, testing on mobile browsers. That really is a huge step forward.

Shai Almog replied on Wed, 2013/10/30 - 4:19am

The improvements to the debugger are a big deal for me (also the native packaging is great).
Its the small things, being able to disable all breakpoints with one click (REALLY useful) better preview of variables in the debugger, hit count for breakpoints (HUGE) and being able to jump to the type of a specific variable!
Small things like that really make a huge difference in the day to day development.

Sven Reimers replied on Wed, 2013/10/30 - 4:47am

My favorite feature (besides Project Easel) is the lock contention profiling, it may be well hidden but you should give it a try and give feedback how to improve this even further!

Geertjan Wielenga replied on Wed, 2013/10/30 - 8:34am

Here's my favorite new NetBeans IDE 7.4 feature... Chrome Developer Tools integration with NetBeans! It's really cool and demonstrated here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O85AV406SXI 

Chris Heidt replied on Wed, 2013/10/30 - 9:09pm

I'm finally happy with the state of the Dark Theme Plugin!

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