NetBeans IDE - Release 3.4


What's Changed In This Release
What's New In This Release
System Requirements
3.1 Hardware
3.2 Operating System
3.3 Software
The Launcher and Startup Parameters
Known Problems
More Information


Welcome to NetBeans IDE release 3.4, a modular, standards-based integrated development environment (IDE), written in Java. NetBeans is not just an IDE. NetBeans is:

  • An open source IDE written in the JavaTM programming language.
  • A tools platform into which other tools and functionality can be seamlessly integrated by writing and incorporating modules.
  • An application core which can be used as a generic framework to build any kind of application.

Read more about NetBeans...

You can find the latest information about this release on the Release 3.4 pages.

What's Changed In This Release

Some features that existed in previous NetBeans releases have been removed from this release:

  • Support for the JDK 1.1 Tools debugger, which does not work with v. 1.4 of the JDK, has been removed from the distribution. Support for the JPDA debugger remains. If you need to use the JDK 1.1 debugger, you can download it from the Update Center.

  • The Javadoc tab has been removed from the Explorer. You can manage Javadoc sources through the Javadoc Manager, which you can open from the Tools menu. You can also use the Javadoc Index Search to view documentation for a class.

    If you want to view a particular Javadoc directory in the Explorer, set its Hidden property to False. The directory will appear in the Filesystems tab of the Explorer.

    To replicate the previous functionality, you can download the (unsupported) Javadoc UI Helper module from the NetBeans Alpha Update Center. See Issuezilla bug 22805 for more information.

  • The Ant Manual and the Javadoc for Ant have been removed from this distribution. You can add them to the IDE by downloading the Ant Documentation module from the NetBeans Update Center.

If you develop modules for NetBeans, check the NetBeans Upgrade Guide for information on API changes.

What's New In This Release

The NetBeans 3.4 release contains many new features and enhancements.

The complete list of new features implemented in this release is available in the IDE's installation folder in the CHANGES.html file.

System Requirements

Since NetBeans is written in pure Java, it should run on any working implementation of JavaTM 2 SDK, Standard Edition.

3.1 Hardware

The hardware requirements are similar for all platforms, but it may differ slightly for some cases. The recommended configuration for running the NetBeans IDE is:
  • Disk space: 40 Mbytes
  • Memory: 128 (Windows platforms) - 256 Mbytes (most other operating systems)
  • Processor: PII/300 (Windows or Linux), UltraSPARC II/450 (Solaris), 500MHz Alpha (Open VMS) or equivalent
Note: If your system's memory is lower than the above recommendation, you should set a lower maximum heap size in the bin/ide.cfg file. For example, if your system has 64 Mbytes of memory, you can change the -J-Xmx96m parameter to -J-Xmx48m.

3.2 Operating System

Any operating system supporting Java(TM) 2 SDK, Standard Edition. Below is a list of platforms that the NetBeans IDE can run on. If you know about any other platform, please let us know.
  • Windows 95, 98, NT 4.0, 2000, XP, ME
  • Solaris 8
  • Linux - any distribution
  • OS/2
  • Open VMS 7.2-1 or later
  • Mac OS X 10.1.1
  • HP-UX

3.3 Software

NetBeans requires a Java 2-compatible JVM. Download the latest version of the appropriate JDK (v. 1.3.x or 1.4.x) from the following sites:

If you are running on a Microsoft Windows system, please note that the runide.exe installer does not detect beta versions of the JDK. You can set the -jdkhome jdk_home_dir parameter in the ide.cfg file if you want to use a different JDK than the one detected by the installer. See The Launcher and Startup Parameters for more information.


For all platforms you can download the .zip or the .tar.gz or the .tar.bz2 archive file and unpack it on the hard disk using your favorite tool. Then you must customize the startup parameters to tell the IDE where to find the SDK. Please read the Launcher and Startup Parameters section for details.

On Microsoft Windows platforms, you can download and run an .exe point-and-click installer that guides you through the required steps.

Several ".bin" executable Installshield installers are available for various UNIX platforms. You may need to make these executable before running :

$ chmod +x NetBeans.bin
$ ./NetBeans.bin

While the installer will search for any installed JDKs, and prompt you for which NetBeans should use, you can speed the install up by specifying a JDK on the command line:

$ ./NetBeans.bin -is:javahome <path_to_your_jdk>

On OpenVMS

  • Download the OpenVMS NetBeans self-extracting archive to your OpenVMS system. You may want to put this file into its own empty subdirectory since documentation and the actual installable kit will be created there.
  • Assure your default directory is set to the directory where the NetBeans archive was downloaded.
  • Execute the command: $ RUN kit_name
    Replace kit_name with the full name of the self-extracting archive which you just downloaded. The contents of the archive will now be extracted to your directory.
  • View the installation documentation which was created in the extraction process and follow the steps contained in the guide to complete the installation.

On Mac OS X

  • Untar, unzip to extract NetBeans. Note: unzip is part of the developer tools, so it is not available in a normal installation. Do not forget to use gnutar instead of tar. Using StuffitExpander to extract NetBeans can cause problems with truncated filenames for NetBeans 3.3. For more info see Bad expansion of .tar.gz on Mac OS X
  • To launch NetBeans open the Terminal application and go to the netbeans/bin directory.
  • Start NetBeans in the standard look and feel using the following command:
      ./ -jdkhome /Library/Java/Home
    The -jdkhome switch can be omitted if you set the environment variable JAVA_PATH or JDK_HOME to /Library/Java/Home
  • NetBeans can be started in the Aqua look and feel using:
      ./ -jdkhome /Library/Java/Home -ui -fontsize 10

    Note that settings are incompatible between the Aqua and normal look and feels, so it is a good idea to have two different user directories if you want to test both normal and Aqua look and feels. Use the -userdir switch to select different user directories.

The Launcher and Startup Parameters

The IDE is run by a launcher. Launchers for several platforms are located in the bin subdirectory of the installation directory.

For UNIX, the Bourne shell script is the launcher.
For Microsoft Windows, use the runide.exe or the runidew.exe executable. runide.exe is a Microsoft Windows console application. When you run runide.exe, a console opens on the desktop with stderr and stdout output from the NetBeans IDE. You can type Ctrl-Break to get a thread dump, or type Ctrl-C to quit the whole program. runidew.exe is the executable for running the NetBeans IDE as a Windows application without a console.
For OS/2 runideos2.cmd is the launcher.
For OpenVMS is the launcher.

The launcher loads the JVM, builds the IDE's classpath, passes it along with some default parameters to the JVM, and lets the JVM launch the Java application. It also restarts the IDE after you have used the Update Center.

You can pass startup parameters to the launcher using the ${IDE_HOME}/bin/ide.cfg file. The launcher tries to read this file before it starts parsing the command line options. You can break the options into multiple lines.

The following options are available:

print descriptions of common startup parameters.

-jdkhome jdk_home_dir
use the specified version of the Java(TM) 2 SDK instead of the default SDK. By default on Windows systems, the loader looks into the Windows registry and uses the latest SDK available.

use the classic JVM, instead of the default Java HotSpot Client VM.

-cp:p additional_classpath
prepend the specified classpath to the IDE's classpath. This option is generally not recommended for any purpose.

-cp:a additional_classpath
-cp additional_classpath
append the specified classpath to the IDE's classpath. This option is generally recommended only for adding custom look and feel implementation JARs, which you may instead add to the NetBeans lib/ext/ directory. See the online help for information on mounting user development libraries.

pass the specified flag directly to the JVM.

-ui UI_class_name
use a given class as the IDE's look and feel.

-fontsize size
use a given size in points as the basic font size for the IDE user interface.

-locale language[:country[:variant]]
use the specified locale.

-userdir userdir
explicitly specify the userdir, which is the location in which user settings are stored. If this option is not used on UNIX the location is ${HOME}/.netbeans/3.4. On Microsoft Windows systems, the default is .netbeans\3.4 beneath your default Windows profile area (e.g. c:\Documents and Settings\yourlogin).
enable drag and drop support in the IDE. This feature is turned off by default because of some bugs that make the behavior slow and unpredictable.
under some Linux window managers, this option fixes bug #12496, in which contextual menus appear in the upper left corner of the screen.
Remove the close button from tabs in the Source Editor, Explorer, and other windows.


When you first run the NetBeans IDE Release 3.4, you can import the settings that you used in a previous installation of the IDE. These settings include project-specific settings and global options. If you choose not to import settings from a previous release, the IDE begins with a set of default settings. The Import Wizard guides you through the choices.

You can import settings from the NetBeans IDE v. 3.0, 3.1, 3.2, and 3.3. You can also import settings from Sun ONE Studio (formerly Forte for Java) software versions 2.0, 3.0, and 4.0.

In the NetBeans IDE Release 3.2 or above and Forte for Java 3.0 or above, you can find the user directory when running the software. Choose Help | About, and click the Detail tab.

Though it is possible to import settings from a previous IDE installation into the NetBeans IDE Release 3.4, it is not possible to import settings from the NetBeans IDE Release 3.4 into an earlier IDE release.

Known Problems

The following are some of the major unresolved issues for this release:
  • 26054: Description: The installer does not finish when running on Linux and JDK 1.4.1.

    Workaround: Use JDK 1.4.

  • 26049: Description: If, when you are installing the NetBeans 3.4 software, you choose to import settings from a previous version of the IDE, modules that you added to your previous version of the IDE through the Update Center will not be imported.

    Workaround: Use the Update Center to reinstall those modules.

  • 22152, 22789 Description: Large and complex XML files open very slowly in the tree editor and might cause OutOfMemory errors.

    Workaround: Open such files with the Edit command to edit them in the text editor instead of the tree editor.

  • 12496 Description: When right-clicking a node, the contextual menu appears in the upper-left corner of the screen. This bug only occurs with some Linux window managers.

    Workaround: In the IDE's installation directory, open the bin directory. Open the ide.cfg file and add the following option:
    This option only works on some window managers.

  • 11020 Description: There are startup errors if you have an incompatible XML parser in the classpath.

    Workaround: remove any stray XML parsers from your classpath (often from your ${JDK_HOME}/jre/lib/ext directory).

  • 17358 Description: If you have version 1.4.3 or earlier of xerces.jar in your ${JDK_HOME}/jre/lib/ext directory, the IDE does not start up.

    Workaround: Remove the copy of xerxes.jar from your ${JDK_HOME}/jre/lib/ext directory.

  • 21621 Description: If a project that contains opened GUI forms is imported from NetBeans 3.2.x, the Component Palette might be hidden when the Form Editor window is opened for the first time.

    Workaround: Choose View | Form Editor to display the component palette.

  • 23029: The storage format of the table model for the JTable component has been changed. It is not possible to use earlier versions of the IDE to open forms with JTable components that were created in NetBeans 3.4.

  • 25753: Description: If you run an Ant target in the IDE multiple times, an out of memory error may occur. This error occurs on JDK 1.3.1.

    Workaround: Run the IDE on JDK 1.4.

  • 24474: Description: When using the Ant Script Compilation compiler type, the Next Error and Previous Error commands do not work, because an output tab that does not contain the errors is active. Switching to the correct tab does not fix the problem.

  • 21180 Description: Compilation errors are printed to wrong tab in the Output window when running an Ant script. This may occur if you are using the "classic" or "modern" compiler and you are running on JDK 1.4.

    Workaround: Use a different JDK (including JDK 1.4.1) or use a different compiler, such as external javac or Jikes.

  • 25701 Description: If you use indirect Ant compilation in a project and the build script defined in the Ant indirect compiler lies on a filesystem mounted in the project, the link to the build script will become invalid if you switch projects. You will need to reset the link to the build script every time you switch back to that project.

    The problem only occurs if you explicitly customize Indirect Ant Compilation to point to a specific build script. Its default behavior is to search for a build.xml file in the directory in which the file to be compiled resides, or the nearest parent directory up the file tree containing a build.xml file. (This behavior is akin to Ant's regular -find switch.) This default behavior should be unaffected by issue #25701, because Indirect Ant Compilation will find the build.xml file from scratch each time it is run, so a project switch is irrelevant.

    This problem will not occur if you never switch projects or if the build script is not in a mounted filesystem.

  • 25907, 23135 Description: If a web module contains JSP pages that have the same name but are stored in different directories, then compilation errors result when the "Build All" command is used. This problem occurs because the Tomcat JSP compiler creates two servlets that have the same pathname.

    Workaround: Either compile the JSP pages one by one, or set the IDE integration mode to minimal. See the Tomcat Plugin help page entitled Adding a Tomcat 4.0 Installation for more information about setting the IDE integration mode.

  • 20877, 20384 (This problem applies if you use the JSP Tag Library Editor, which is available from the NetBeans Alpha Update Center.)

    Description: Tag library JARs cannot be replaced in the WEB-INF/lib directory after parsing and executing JSPs in the relevant web module. The JSP parser, compiler, and/or executor sometimes hold on to pointers to tag library JARs in the WEB-INF/lib directory. On Windows, the result is that JARs intermittently cannot be deleted, resulting in a "Cannot delete file..." exception. On Solaris, the JARs can be deleted, but when they are replaced with new JARs, the compiler "sees" the old versions of the JARs. To get the correct JAR replacement behavior, you must restart the IDE.

    Workaround: Develop tag libraries by referencing the TLDs and tag handler classes directly, without packaging the tag library into a JAR file until the end of the development cycle.
    1. Create the tag library in the WEB-INF/lib directory and do all development there.
    2. Set the tag handler generation root to the web module's WEB-INF/classes directory.
    3. To use the tag libraries from a JSP page, either directly refer to the taglib URI as /WEB-INF/lib/mytaglib.tld or set an alias in the deployment descriptor with a tag library entry.

  • 21326 Description: A JAR recipe file can be corrupted if you switch projects or move files or filesystems that the JAR recipe file refers to.

  • 26420 Description: When testing or debugging web applications, an exception (org.apache.jasper.JasperException or javax.servlet.ServletException: duplicate class definition) may be thrown. It will appear in the server log file and/or in the web browser window. This bug is a consequence of Tomcat bug 6907.

    Workaround: Restart the Tomcat web server.

  • 25934 Description: The Goto Declaration command (Alt-G) sometimes works very slowly on some systems.

  • 11637 Description: When using the import management tool on inner classes, the name of the outer class is stripped from the reference to the inner class.

  • 22856 Description: The Fix and Continue feature does not work correctly if you change code in the main method. You are not given the option to use modified code. The class is recompiled, but it is not possible to continue debugging.

    Workaround: Make necessary changes in the main method and then restart the debugger session.

  • 22481 Description: After changing font and line height correction settings, the spacing between the line numbers does not match the spacing of the lines in the Diff window.

  • 22533 Description: After setting the Check Out Files as Read Only option as the default in the advanced dialog box for CVS commands in a generic VCS filesystem, the new default is not retained when the IDE is restarted.

  • 25844 Description: Line numbers do not always match when using the CVS Diff command with the Ignore Blank Lines option turned on.

  • 25364 Description: The automatic refresh of file status in version-controlled filesystems does not work correctly. Even if the Auto Refresh property for a filesystem is set to refresh files when a folder is opened, source files in that directory do not get refreshed (though files in subdirectories do get refreshed).

    Workaround: Manually refresh the folder using the either the Refresh or the Refresh Recursively command from the folder's submenu.

  • 25263, 25259, 23846, 25271 Description: When importing projects that have mounted generic VCS filesystems from a NetBeans 3.2, a number of problems occur. For example, the Versioning Explorer command does not work and some settings are not preserved.

    Workaround: Unmount and then remount all VCS filesystems.

  • 26324 Description: When running the IDE on JDK 1.4 and using the Windows look and feel, the search highlighting in the Help window obscures the text it is highlighting.

    Workaround: Use a different JDK or look and feel.

Use the Issuezilla bug tracking system for checking currently open bugs.


Documentation is provided for the NetBeans IDE in the form of online help. To access all of the available online help, choose Help | Contents.

More Information

There is extensive information on the NetBeans project website, Included on the website are a FAQ and instructions on how to subscribe to mailing lists where you can ask questions, post comments, or help others.

As NetBeans is an open-source project, you can get access to the source code, bug database, and much more at

More information about the NetBeans IDE, Release 3.4 is available at

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