Being able to have the code documentation right along with the code is maintenance bliss. There is little chance of losing the documentation and an increased likelihood that the documentation stays current with the code.
Feature 1 (inline HTML renderer):
It would be great if Netbeans could increase the usefulness of javadoc style comments (/** javadoc */) by rendering them in HTML directly in the code editor window. To edit the javadoc you could provide a toggle that switches between raw javadoc comments and javadoc HTML rendering.
Feature 2 (WYSIWYG HTML editor):
You could take this concept further allow inline HTML WYSIWYG editing when the javadoc comment is being rendered as HTML.
This allows more sophisticate and expressive documentation that is readable in code. Comments with formatting and tabular structures (eg truth tables etc) can be just as easily read and modified in code as in any generated javadoc.
Feature 3 (Advanced javadoc rendering):
Further enhancements could include inline rendering / editing support for:
- mathML support which is needed for a lot a graphics and mathematical functions
- SVG support for complex algorithms (picture is worth a 1000 words).
#1 is Ctrl-J; not inline but you can put this window in sliding mode so ESC suffices to return to the code editor.
#2 is filed elsewhere but is unlikely to be implemented.