And the Winner is: NetBeans IDE

In their November 2006 issue, Richard Drummond from the Linux Format magazine has reviewed the latest stable versions of seven popular Java IDEs: Eclipse Callisto, IntelliJ IDEA, Sun Java Studio Creator, JBuilder, MyEclipse, NetBeans IDE, and Oracle JDeveloper. Drummond looked at their editor capabilities, their visual designers, standard tool integration (Ant, JUnit, VCS), support for Java technologies such as EJB, JSP, JSF, and compared their ease of use, documentation, and price.

And the winner in the IDE roundup is? NetBeans IDE 5.0 with 9 out of 10 points! Drummond's verdict is clear: NetBeans is a "solid performer for all types of Java development, with an outstanding GUI editor and great profiling tools."

Contributing to the best rating in its class was not only the Developer Collaboration add-on and the built-in database and web server support, but especially the low-overhead Java Profiler: "NetBeans add-on tools for collecting and visualizing performance profiles of running applications are superb", says Drummond. And even if he thinks the version support and the editor are not over-endowed with features, he ackn is owledges the IDE's "comfortable and quick editing environment". Drummond explicitly enjoys using the NetBeans GUI Builder, because its automatic layout tools ensure "that even the most aesthetically challenged coders can make handsome forms."

Obviously, each IDE has its advantags and disadvantages, and personal taste and actual requirements play a big role. But "[i]n choosing NetBeans as our 'best IDE', we are claiming that we believe it is the best general-purpose IDE for the price," Drummond states.

Attributing the maturity and openness of the Java platform primarily to healthy competition between open-source Java tools such as NetBeans and Eclipse, Drummond realizes that in opting for NetBeans, he "may be flying in the face of popular media opinion." Disappointed by Eclipse's "overall clunkiness", he is however convinced that "while Eclipse has the makings of a great IDE -- and indeed may one day surpass NetBeans -- it's still not there yet."

"[I]f you have not tried NetBeans recently, we would urge you to give it another look." suggests Drummond. "While the rival Eclipse platform gets more column inches, the NetBeans Java IDE is currently a much stronger product: faster, easier to use and more complete." NetBeans is free, open source, standards-compliant, and as importanly, as Drummond clearly felt, it "has a vibrant community backing it up."

Actual Ratings :

NetBeans IDE             9/10
Sun Java Studio Creator  8/10
MyEclipse                8/10
JBuilder                 8/10
Oracle JDeveloper        7/10
Eclipse Callisto         6/10
IntelliJ IDEA            6/10
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