NetBeans IDE 6.5: My New Favorite IDE

December 2008

A month ago, the NetBeans community released NetBeans IDE 6.5. Since then users worldwide have enthusiastically reviewed the IDE's new PHP scripting, database and web development features, and more! Below are excerpts from satisfied users, and some converts!

For developing Ruby Code, I head straight for NetBeans

I'm primarily an Eclipse user, but I keep hearing about NetBeans through the Java Posse and heck, I even subscribe to the NetBeans podcast to try and keep an eye on what's up. [...] The new release maintains what I first saw in 6.1: a very fast, full featured IDE. It's dead easy to get going, and there is loads of documentation. I find the project view to be much more useful and better organised than the eclipse view of the same.

One thing I did like very much is that there's built-in Maven support. I downloaded the Java SE installation, went to the plugins window and selected "maven". About a minute later I had a working installation. Funnily enough, where I think NetBeans really wins is the dynamic languages support. [...] For developing Ruby code, I head straight for NetBeans. [...] Heck, the JavaScript support is pretty decent too.

Dominic Mitchell, Jabbering Giraffe (p.s.)

...this package holds nothing but the sweet stuff

The list of early access Python tools includes an editor, debugger and choice of Python runtimes. [...] NetBeans is gaining some ground among non-Java developers. It's now one of the top two Ruby IDEs on the market, said Gartner analyst Mark Driver. [...] NetBeans broader language support is turning NetBeans into more of a workbench along the lines of the open-source Eclipse Framework, which, Driver said, makes it more competitive with those market-changing tools.

With the arrival of Eclipse a few years ago, many industry watchers expected NetBeans to fade away, as did other Java IDEs. But the toolset continues to stand as perhaps the Eclipse alternative...

John K. Waters, Application Development Trends

...a much more mature and easy to use product

I am assisting my team in migrating over to use Netbeans for most of our development. There are a few things that [Zend] Studio does better, but Netbeans is just a much more mature and easy to use product, even this early in their PHP support (I used RC2 first and it was darn good.) They fully support JavaScript Auto Complete for all types of JS objects, something Studio does not do, and even support the use of PHPDoc in Auto Complete for our in-house developed code.

laurin1, Zend user forum

NetBeans even does some of the things better than Zend Studio

NetBeans, however, does about 95% of what Zend Studio does. [...] NetBeans even does some of the things better than Zend Studio - which is definitely an achievement.

NetBeans debugger immediately worked with the xampp installation I had on my PC. The installer already picked up my apache from there, and when I fired up the debugger, it worked seamlessly. Getting Zend Studio's debugger up and running was a bit more of a hassle, and I actually needed to consult Google for that. [...] NetBeans 6.5 is officially my new favorite PHP/web-dev IDE.

Jani Hartikainen, CodeUtopia

...the NetBeans plugin system Just Works

They must have really looked at a PHP developer's daily job, because everything you need is already in there: SVN, CVS, CSS, SQL, and even support for jQuery! This even works within 1 document: NetBeans figures out what's JavaScript, what's PHP, and indexes & highlights all elements accordingly. And you can even connect to a MySQL database. This is all out of the box.

And if a feature is missing, the NetBeans plugin system Just Works. Go ahead & install additional features. No need for a science degree there.

Code completion is fast & accurate. Manuals are integrated. Existing Eclipse projects can be imported, no need to keep separate workspace directories. Just switch back and forth between NetBeans & Eclipse (or your other IDE of choice) until you've made up your mind.

Kevin van Zonneveld, KvZ TechBlog

This tool is fantastic!

NetBeans can communicate with xdebug! I've played with xdebug before, but I could never get along with it, there was so much setting up you had to do, so many little things to change that could effect the end result - it just didn't seem practical, so I kept to my own debugging methods. NetBeans, however changed this!

This tool is fantastic! Close to 5 years I have been developing in PHP and not once have I come close to using anything as good as NetBeans. The interface is clean and concise. It's fast with no lag when you need to see the method list. [...] It's a perfect tool for anyone who uses PHP, what ever their level, I am going to suggest NetBeans to all of my friends and hopefully you will too!

Richard Ive, Rants Raves and Tech

...a full-featured web application development environment

[Regarding PHP, HTML, CSS, JavaScript editor support] this release has become a full-featured web application development environment. [...] Also, Sun has enhanced its support for C/C++ developers, allowing them to develop locally on any supported platform, and then perform distributed builds on other computers/servers, and even remotely debug in, say, a remote production-like environment.

This release includes an enhanced database connection interface [...] and built-in support for database operations. [...] Overall, it's not meant to be a replacement for a complete suite of database tools, but a lot of effort was put into allowing developers to stay within the IDE for the operations that they perform the most.

Sun is looking to make it the development environment for cloud computing. This is both in terms of developer tools and services, as well as the deployment and maintenance of applications.

Eric Bruno, Dobbs Code Talk

...compares favorably to more established competitors

For web developers, NetBeans 6.5 now supports Ruby and PHP out of the box. Surprisingly, that support is so good that it now compares favourably to more established competitors like Eclipse, Komodo IDE, and Zend Studio.

NetBeans isn't a toy for learning Java anymore. These days, it's a powerful, multi-language development environment that's free for the taking. If you work on sizable PHP projects and you're not using an IDE like NetBeans, you might be surprised at how much time a tool like this can save you!

Kevin Yank, SitePoint PHP

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Thank you all for reviewing the new NetBeans release and giving us your take on the new features! If you have more stories to share with your fellow developers, add your blog to our Planet NetBeans blog aggregator—your source for NetBeans-related news and tips from all over the world.

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