30 Minutes with NetBeans 5.0

23 August 2006

I guess all the NetBeans talk at JavaPosse finally sunk into my head, because I just downloaded NetBeans 5.0 to play with it. The interface seems pleasantly minimal, and I got my current project set up with Ant builds and everything in a very short time. That part was much easier than it was with Eclipse.

Then I started trying to work and found the source formatting to be just what I like, which is good, because it didn't give me many options to change it. The "format code" option seems to just be a "correct indentation" feature, which does keep it from doing some of the horrible things that Eclipse does (preferring to wrap on '.', etc).

I unfortunately hit a huge bump in the road when I extracted a method, changed the new method, then found that there's no "inline method/variable" option! That's a feature planned for a future release. I couldn't find any release notes on the web telling me it was in the 5.5 beta. Extract and inline are my main tools when I'm cleaning up and massaging code.

People say "use the right tool for the job", so it seems that Eclipse will remain my refactoring tool. I figure I can still use NetBeans for one of its most favorite features -- GUI building.

I started drawing a little bit of a JFrame in Matisse, and then looked at the code with all its warnings not to edit it. I know I should be able to properly modularize my application in such a way that I'd not have to edit the form, but I'm just not sold on that yet. Additionally, I don't actually do Swing GUIs, and I'm not ready to take the JSF plunge over WebWork 2 / Struts yet.

I guess I'll leave NetBeans on the shelf a bit longer, though the features are getting more attractive. It's getting closer to what I'd want with every release. It's easy Ant integration was the first thing that caught my eye years ago, and the prospect of easy VSS integration and GUI building are the latest features to stand out. We'll see what 5.5 or 6.0 hold next time I get bored.

Filed Under: Computers Technology Java Work