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NetBeans IDE 7.2: Smarter & Faster

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NetBeans IDE 7.2 is alive! The NetBeans IDE 7.2 release comes with significantly improved performance and many new features in the Java Editor, with a special focus on FindBugs integration, providing new static code analysis capabilities.

Along with a vastly improved developer experience that helps you write good, bug-free code quickly, it also delivers improvements in other areas, notably in its support for JavaFX, Java EE, Maven, PHP, and Groovy. 

Java Editor Features and Beyond

Together with the performance boost outlined in the next section, NetBeans IDE 7.2 brings a host of new features focused on improving coding productivity, particularly in the Java Editor, which is where Java developers spend most of their time. In particular, NetBeans IDE 7.2 integrates FindBugs directly into the IDE, so that static analysis tasks can be performed as a natural part of the development process.


Read here about how and where the many code navigation tools have been beefed up in NetBeans IDE 7.2. 

Moreover, a range of new refactoring tools have been added, together with many new context-sensitive tips and suggestions that pop up while the developer is coding.

Beyond the Java Editor, NetBeans IDE 7.2 has enhanced its support across its feature set, from its popular Maven and PHP tools, to its Java EE support–where JPA code completion has been introduced for the first time—as well as in many other popular areas of the IDE.


Background Scanning

When you're coding in the IDE, a lot of work is done under the hood to keep your source files synchronized with the IDE's features, particularly those provided by the Java Editor, as well as the editors for other programming languages. As the IDE starts up, it scans the sources of the projects that were open when the IDE closed down, while opening them again so that you can immediately begin working with them afresh. When changes are made in a file as you code, further scanning and resynchronization is done. In this way, editor features in the IDE, such as Java code completion, are updated to reflect the current state of the source files in your projects.

Understandably, the process of scanning and resynchronization takes time. Too much time, according to user surveys performed after recent releases of NetBeans IDE. Frequently, project scanning would start unexpectedly and then continue for a long time, sometimes not stopping at all. The highest priority in the NetBeans IDE 7.2 release is to improve on this specific issue that many users have experienced when using the IDE.

Over the past months, project scanning and synchronization has been reworked. Now, it is enhanced to such an extent that NetBeans IDE 7.2 starts noticeably faster than in previous releases. Background scanning is done, which enables features to be usable though scanning is not yet complete. For example, Java editing features, such as the code navigation support, work immediately, even without scanning being completed, because the editor makes use of the last scanned state of the IDE. Work has also been done to ensure that UI responsiveness is not blocked by I/O operations throughout the IDE. To round off these changes, the user's ability to identify and report unnecessary scans has been enhanced.

User Feedback

Normally, performance enhancements are a question of subjective gut feeling. Rarely do users of a product across the board  experience similarly consistent improvement in performance and application speed. However, when the NetBeans team asked members of the volunteer community of NetBeans testers (NetCAT) for feedback, the responses were unanimously positive. A selection is presented here:

Opening our project and then waiting for the IDE to be ready takes 44 seconds in NetBeans IDE 7.2, while it used to take 2 minutes and 37 seconds in NetBeans IDE 7.1.1. Ours is a fairly large Java EE application on Maven, with 42 Maven modules. There are WARs, EJBs and simples JARs modules, with JAX-RS services (with Jersey), some JPA, as well as Spring. 

 Emmanuel Hugonnet, Lead Engineer,

Project loading and initial response of the IDE is unmatched! Once you get used to it you won't be able to live without it.

Javier Ortiz, Senior Software Quality Engineer, ArthroCare Corporation

The background scanning in NetBeans IDE 7.2 really makes a difference. I no longer find myself switching to my mail client to read a few mails while the IDE is starting up.

Glenn Holmer, Software Engineer, Weyco Group

The difference between NetBeans IDE 7.2 and previous versions is like the difference between a ride in a beautiful Ferrari 458 Spider cabriolet on the Monaco Formula 1 circuit and driving a Honda Civic on the streets of Spain!

Goran Miskovic, Web Application Developer

In short, the focus put on the performance of the IDE, across all the features that NetBeans provides, has paid off, leading to a significant and noticeable boost in the user experience of NetBeans IDE. 


Now more than ever, NetBeans IDE 7.2 is the IDE to use if you want a faster and smoother coding experience. Share your thoughts and stay informed about development news by following the NetBeans team on TwitterFacebook and Google+; and by subscribing to the NetBeans mailing lists and forums and weekly newsletter.

Published at DZone with permission of its author, Geertjan Wielenga.


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