Release Notes

NetBeansTM IDE 3.6

Last Updated: 11 May 2004


What Has Changed
Changes Since the 3.5.1 Release
Changes Between the 3.4.1 and 3.5.1 Releases
API Changes
System Requirements
Operating System
Supported Technologies
Web Standards
Web Browsers
The Launcher and Startup Parameters
Known Problems
More Information


Welcome to NetBeansTM IDE 3.6, a modular, standards-based integrated development environment (IDE), written in the JavaTM programming language. The NetBeans project consists of:

Read more about the NetBeans project...

What Has Changed

Since the 3.5.1 Release

See What's New in NetBeans IDE 3.6 for a full description of the changes in this release. Below is a brief summary:
  • Enhancements in the IDE's window system and overall appearance:
    • Drag and drop of windows.
    • Cycling through open IDE windows with Ctrl-`.
    • Replacement of workspaces with task-related windows that appear when you perform certain tasks.
    • Native LookAndFeels used for Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X platforms.
    • Property sheet redesigned.
  • Source Editor enhancements:
    • Code folding.
    • Marking of overriding methods.
    • To Do window.
    • Automatic insertion of closing bracket, quotes, and parentheses.
    • Form Editor better integrated with Source Editor window.
    • Print as HTML.
    • Tooltip error description when mousing over any text with compilation errors.
    • Splitting of the Source Editor window by dragging and dropping tabs.
  • Web/J2EE Development changes:
    • Servlet 2.4 and JSP 2.0 supported.
    • Tomcat 5 supported for deploying and debugging two-tier J2EE 1.4 and 1.3 applications.
    • Case-sensitive HTML code completion.
    • Opening/closing tag matching.
    • The Compile JSP command was replaced by the Validate JSP command.
  • Ant support changes:
    • Ant 1.6.1 now bundled.
    • Easier management of the Ant classpath.
    • Easy management of Ant versions.
  • Version Control Integration changes:
    • Both the built-in CVS client and command-line CVS support have been harmonized to use the same wizards, property editors, and command dialog boxes.
    • Improved display of VCS command output.
  • Other changes:
    • The IDE is no longer runs on v. 1.3.1 of the JavaTM 2 SDK, Standard Edition and is no longer tested on v. 1.4.0 and 1.4.1. The recommended JDK version is 1.4.2. The IDE also runs on v. 1.5 beta.
    • JUnit test creation supported (Junit 3.8.1).
    • Tomcat 5 is supported for deploying and debugging two-tier J2EE 1.4 and 1.3 applications.
    • Help for all modules now merged into a single table of contents and a single index.
    • File Size and Modification Time added to the property sheets for some nodes.
    • The Startup folder was removed from the Options window, so there is no longer a way in the user interface to specify classes that are run in the IDE at IDE startup.
    • Apache's regular expression library is no longer included in the IDE. The IDE now uses the java.util.regex package for regular expression support. Non-standard POSIX-like character classes ([:javastart:] and [:javapart:]) are no longer supported.
    • It is no longer possible to have more than one instance of the IDE run simultaneously on the same user directory.
    • IDE command-line switches can now be entered in GNU style, meaning they are preceeded with two dashes (for example, --jdkhome) rather than one. Single letter switches like -h and JVM flags are still entered with one dash.

Between the 3.4.1 and 3.5.1 Release

Work on releases 3.5 and 3.5.1 of NetBeans IDE were focused almost entirely on IDE performance. Both startup time and general UI responsiveness were improved significantly. In addition, there were these changes:
  • Several modules, previously available on the Update Center, were added to the standard distribution. These modules provide many features, including support for:
    • Debugging servlets and applications written with JavaServer PagesTM technology
    • Creating and editing tag libraries
    • Monitoring HTTP requests
    • WAR file packaging
    • Connecting to and browsing databases
  • Some features that existed in previous IDE releases were removed from the standard distribution and placed on the NetBeans Update Center:
    • RMI support
    • JNDI support
    • XML Tree Editor
    • Scripting support
    • New Module Wizard

API Changes

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

System Requirements

Since NetBeans IDE is written in pure Java, it should run on any working implementation of Java 2 SDK, Standard Edition version 1.4 and higher. If you use one of the NetBeans IDE installers, you must have version 1.4.1 or compatible of the J2SDK installed.


Minimum Configuration

  • Disk space: 125 megabytes
  • Memory: 256 megabytes
  • Processor: PIII/500 processor (Microsoft Windows and Linux operating systems), Ultra 10 450 MHz workstation (SolarisTM operating system), 500MHz Alpha (Open VMS operating system) 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 128 megabytes of memory, you can change the -J-Xmx96m parameter to -J-Xmx48m.

Recommended Configuration

  • Solaris operating system: UltraTM 60 workstation with 512 megabytes of memory and 125 megabytes of free disk space for installation.
  • Microsoft Windows operating systems: Intel Pentium III workstation with a 780 MHz processor, 384 megabytes of memory, and 125 megabytes of free disk space.
  • Linux operating system: Intel Pentium III workstation with a 800 MHz processor, 384 megabytes of memory, and 125 megabytes of free disk space.

Operating System

NetBeans IDE runs on operating systems that support JavaTM 2 SDK, Standard Edition. Below is a list of platforms that NetBeans IDE has been tested on.
  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional SP1
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional SP3
  • Solaris operating system (SPARC® Platform Edition), versions 8 and 9
  • Solaris operating system (x86 Platform Edition), versions 8 and 9
  • Linux Red Hat 9.0
  • Sun Java Desktop System

NetBeans IDE is also known to run on the following platforms:

  • Various other Linux distributions
  • Open VMS 7.2-1 or later
  • Mac OS X 10.1.1 or later
  • Other UNIX® platforms, such as HP-UX
If you know about any other platform that NetBeans IDE runs on, please let us know.


NetBeans IDE requires the J2SE JDK, version 1.4.2 or 1.5. Download the appropriate JDK from the following sites:

Note: If your installer does not detect the JDK version that you want to run on, you can install the IDE with another version that it detects and then later set the --jdkhome jdk_home_dir parameter in the ide.cfg file to change the JDK. See The Launcher and Startup Parameters for more information.

Supported Technologies

Web Standards

  • JavaTM Servlet 2.3 and 2.4 specifications
  • JavaServer PagesTM (JSPTM) technology specifications 1.2 and 2.0
  • Deployment descriptor (web.xml) based on version 2.3 or 2.4 of the web application DTD
  • JavaTM 2 Platform, Enterprise Edition (J2EETM) 1.3 and 1.4
  • Tomcat 5.0.19 release

Web Browsers

The following web browsers have been tested with NetBeans IDE:

  • Netscape 7.1
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer 6
  • Mozilla 1.5


The following database servers have been tested with NetBeans IDE:

  • IBM DB2 8.1
  • Oracle 9i
  • Pointbase 4.2
  • Microsoft SQL 2000 SP3
  • MySQL 4.x


NetBeans IDE has also been tested with the following:

  • Ant 1.5.3 and higher. (NetBeans IDE comes bundled with Ant 1.6.1. You can easily change Ant versions in the IDE's Ant settings.)
  • CVS 1.11
  • Merant PVCS 7.5.1
  • Visual Source Safe 6.0

The Launcher and Startup Parameters

The IDE can be started by using a launcher. Launchers for several platforms are located in the bin subdirectory of the installation directory.

For UNIX systems, 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 NetBeans IDE as a Windows application without a console.
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.

Note that, in NetBeans IDE 3.6, IDE command-line switches can be entered in GNU style, meaning they are preceeded with two dashes (for example, --jdkhome) rather than one. Single-letter switches like -h and JVM flags are still entered with one dash.

The following options are available:

print descriptions of common startup parameters.

--jdkhome jdk_home_dir
use the specified version of the Java 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.

--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 NetBeans IDE lib/ext/ directory. See the online help for information on mounting user development libraries.

pass the specified flag directly to the JVM.

--laf 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 a UNIX system, the location is ${HOME}/.netbeans/3.6. On Microsoft Windows systems, the default is .netbeans\3.6 beneath your default Windows profile area (e.g. c:\Documents and Settings\yourlogin).

--open file
mounts the directory containing the specified file in the Filesystems window and opens the file in the Source Editor.

--open file:line number
mounts the directory containing the specified file in the Filesystems window and opens the file in the Source Editor at the specified line.


When you first run the IDE, 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.
Note: The IDE only recognizes previous installations where the user directory resides in the default location. It does not recognize installations where you have specified a user directory using the --userdir switch. If you would like to import settings from an IDE that the installer does not recognize, download an archive version of the IDE instead of the installer.

You can import settings from NetBeans IDE v. 3.4.x and v. 3.5.x. You can also import settings from Sun Java Studio Standard Edition 5.

Though it is possible to import settings from a previous IDE installation into NetBeans IDE 3.6, it is not possible to import all settings from the NetBeans IDE 3.6 into an earlier IDE release.

Known Problems

The following are the major unresolved issues for this release:
  • 39780 Description: If you install an archive distribution of the IDE on Mac OS, typical ways of shutting down the IDE do not work properly, which could cause problems such as:
    • losing work if you do not manually save changes before exiting the IDE.
    • upon starting the IDE again, getting warnings that the IDE is already running.

    Workaround: Download and install the .dmg image distribution of the IDE, which has a patch to solve this problem on Mac OS.

  • 11477 Description: On Mac OS X, it is not possible to type characters that require the use of the Alt key. This problem occurs if an archive distribution of the IDE is being run.

    Workaround: Download and install the .dmg image distribution of the IDE, which has a patch to solve this problem on Mac OS X.

  • The To Do Tasks Scanning module, which is part of the Task List set of modules, is now part of the standard distribution. If you installed this module in your previous version of the IDE and you specify your old user directory as the user directory for NetBeans IDE 3.6, the IDE will use the old versions of module. You can update the module to the 3.6 version by using the Update Center.

  • If you are running Java Desktop System 2.0 in an Asian locale, you should use the version of NetBeans IDE that comes with the Java Desktop System (JDS) CD pack. (This CD also contains the Java 2 SDK (J2SDK) and Sun Java Studio software.) That JDS CD contains a patched version of the J2SDK that fixes to problems with the viewing and input of multibyte text.

    Java Desktop System 1.0 does not support viewing or input of multibyte text.

  • 41639 Description: Comments with multibyte characters are not saved correctly when you use the table editor for .properties files.

    Workaround: Use the Edit command to open the text editor for the .properties file. In the text editor, you must enter the multibyte characters as Unicode values.

  • 40769 Description: On Mandrake Linux 9.2, some installer panes do not initially display contents.

    Workaround: Manually resize the installer pane so that the text appears.

  • 39705 Description: If you have the Java Web Services Developer Pack installed, the NetBeans IDE installer might fail with the message: "The wizard cannot continue because of the following error: could not load wizard specified in /wizard.inf (104). Install will not continue."

    Workaround: Move the jre/lib/endorsed/sax.jar file from your J2SDK installation before installing NetBeans IDE. You can move the file back after completing the NetBeans IDE installation.

  • Description: After you install NetBeans IDE on Java Desktop System for Linux, you might have to log off and log back on before the program appears in the Launch menu under Programming.

  • 34834 Description: If you execute a very complex Ant target of your ant build script in the IDE, you might encounter an out of memory error. This is caused by Ant being run within the same JVM as the IDE is running in and the default maximum heap size not being high enough for your build script.

    Workaround: In the ide.cfg configuration file in bin/ directory of your IDE installation, specify a maximum heap size higher than the default. For example, -J-Xmx200m.

  • 41012 Description: Sometimes after doing a large CVS checkout, an Out Of Memory Error occurs, which forces you to shut down the IDE.

  • 40783 Description: Due to a bug in the Tomcat servlet container, a property group entry in the deployment descriptor (web.xml) for specifying the page-encoding must use a URL pattern that does not include a directory and does include the .jsp extension. If you just specify a directory, such as /jsp_dir/* or /jsp_dir/*.jsp, the IDE's Source Editor and the Tomcat server do not load the JSP using the specified encoding. Here is an example of how to specify the URL pattern so that Tomcat loads the JSPs using the correct encoding.

    Alternatively, download the latest version of the following JARs from and replace the JAR files in

  • 40765 Description: In PVCS and VSS filesystems, you have to check out the complete web modules from the version control system immediately after mounting the filesystem. If you expand any of the nodes in the filesystem before checking out the web module, you can not deploy the web module.

    Workaround: If you have expanded folders in the filesystem before checking out the web module, unmount the filesystem. Then remount the filesystem and check out the web module immediately afterwards.

  • 39817 Description: The displayed status of some files in a CVS filesystem sometimes reverts to Local.

    Workaround: Right-click the filesystem's node and choose CVS | Refresh Recursively.

  • 41109 Description: After running Refresh Recursively on the root of a CVS filesystem (using the IDE's built-in CVS client), the status of up-to-date files is changed to Local.

    Workarounds: To workaround the problem, do one of the following:
    • Remount the CVS filesystem using the IDE's command-line support instead of the built-in client support.
    • Refresh the root of the CVS filesystem with the Refresh command. You can use the Refresh Recursively command on the filesystem's subnodes.

  • 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.

  • 32093 Description: If you access the Web through a proxy, using the Javadoc Manager to mount Javadoc as an HTTP filesystem might not work.

  • 36781 In the Options window, sometimes nodes in the Options tree are selected when you are trying to choose an item in a node's contextual menu.

  • 40257 When code is folded in the Source Editor, line highlights and annotation glyphs are hidden or only partially visible.

  • 40530 Lines are stepped over in JSP Document (.jspx) files during debugging. Due to known server bugs, not all JSP lines are mapped to the corresponding servlet code. Therefore, the debugger steps over some lines in JSP Document files. Breakpoints are not honored on these skipped lines and the debugger will step over them when you press F8.

  • 41238 Description: The online help topic "Changing Web Module Filesystems Into Standard Filesystems" is incorrect.

    If you follow the instructions in this topic, the IDE will output Null Pointer Errors (NPEs) when you try to open files for editing. Use the following instructions instead.
    1. Unmount the filesystem.
    2. In the operating systems file manager, move any files under WEB-INF that you want to save, and delete the WEB-INF directory. Do the same with the META-INF directory. You must rename or delete both of these directories.
    3. Remount the filesystem.

  • 40768 Description: If you import a web module with an empty context path from NetBeans IDE 3.5, the context path will be changed to the name of the directory where the web module resides.

    1. Change the context path of your web module to the empty one.
    2. Undeploy one of default Tomcat web modules that is mapped to the empty context, which in fact contains Tomcat's documentation. (This step is needed because of issue 40837).
    3. Execute your web module.

  • 41239 Description: If you try to add JSWDP 1.3 Tomcat using the Add New Server action, the dialog will not let you add it because it does not recognize the installation as a Tomcat 5 server.

    Workaround: Do the following steps so that the Add New Server dialog box recognizes the installation as a Tomcat 5 server:
    1. Add a directory to <JWSDP-Install-Dir> named temp.
    2. Add a file to <JWSDP-Install-Dir>/bin named catalina.xml.
    Note: The JWSDP Tomcat server has not been tested with this version of the IDE and its use is not supported.

  • 41392 Description: Using the Customizer on an Invalid TLD Document Can Cause Loss of Data. If a TLD document has invalid tags, the customizers might delete or overwrite text in the TLD document. Even opening and closing a customizer without applying the changes can cause loss of data. As the changes occur from outside the Source Editor, Ctrl-Z (undo) might not restore the lost data.

    Workaround: If you edit the TLD in the Source Editor, be careful to not use the customizers if there is a possibility of invalid tags.

  • 41589 Description: If you try to add a shared server instance with an empty Tomcat base directory and the server.xml file in the Tomcat home directory sets the server port to a value other than 8080, you will not be able to use the server from the IDE. For example, you will not be able to execute web apps on that server from the IDE.

    Here is an example of the server port being set to a value other than 8080: <Connector acceptCount="100" connectionTimeout="20000" debug="0" disableUploadTimeout="true" enableLookups="false" maxSpareThreads="75" maxThreads="150" minSpareThreads="25" port="8081" redirectPort="8443"/>

    Workaround: If you have already created a server instance with this configuration, restart the IDE. Right-click the server instance, choose Properties from the contextual menu, and make sure the server port is set correctly.

  • 41735 Description: When you upgrade your applications deployment descriptor (web.xml) from version 2.3 to 2.4, the Tomcat server might not clear out old work files adequately, and some resources, especially tag files, might not execute properly.

    Workaround: After you replace the 2.3 DTD declaration with the 2.4 DTD declaration in the web.xml file, you must perform the steps below before you deploy or execute the application.
    1. Locate the base directory. This directory is typically in your NetBeans user directory. You can find the path to this directory by opening the Runtime window, expanding Server Registry, expanding Tomcat 5 Servers, right-clicking the server instance and choosing Properties from the contextual menu. The Base Directory property shows the path to the base directory.
    2. Exit the IDE.
    3. Find and delete the web module's work directory under <base-directory>\work\Catalina\localhost.
    4. Restart the IDE.

  • 41516 Description: The following sequence causes the Source Editor to turn grey:
    1. Open two files in Source Editor.
    2. Split Source Editor by moving one file to the bottom.
    3. Maximize the first document tab.
    4. Resize the IDE window.

    • Choose any item from the Window menu to redisplay the content of the open windows.
    • Do any window resizing before maximizing a document in the Source Editor.

  • 41178 Description: If you leave a .properties file open between sessions of the IDE, the Save command might become disabled.

    Workarounds: To save the file, you can do one of the following:
    • Close the file. You will be prompted to save the file.
    • Choose File | Save All.

  • 41163 Description: When using the IDE's SDI mode on some Linux window managers, IDE windows are inappropriately iconified when you switch between virtual desktops.

    Workaround: Choose Tools | Setup Wizard and switch back to the IDE's MDI mode.

  • 40526 Description: When you change the context.xml file and execute the module again, the module is not redeployed with the the changes that were made in context.xml.

    Workaround: Undeploy the module from Server registry in Runtime tab and then execute the module.

  • 41382 Description: In the Project window, it is possible to accidentally drag and drop a folder node into itself and thus make the node disappear. After re-adding the folder, a subfolder with the same name appears within the folder. If you do a search on the folder, the search will get caught in an infinite loop.

    Workaround: Add the folder back by right clicking the Project node and choosing Add Existing. Then expand the re-added folder and delete the subfolder that has the same name as the folder.

  • 42020 Description: JUnit tests can not run in the IDE. This occurs in all locales other than en_US when there is a space in the path name of the IDE's installation.

    Workaround: Re-install the IDE into a folder that does not have a space in its path name.

  • 42467 Description: The help content does not display in the IDE's help viewer on Microsoft Windows systems in the Chinese locale.

    • Navigate to the IDE's installation directory (by default, it is C:\Program Files\NetBeans3.6), expand the bin folder, and open the ide.cfg file in the text editor.
    • Delete the -J-Xms24m entry.
    • Restart the IDE.

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


Documentation is provided for NetBeans IDE in the form of web-based guides and the IDE's help system.
  • For a more detailed guide to getting work done in NetBeans IDE, see Using NetBeans IDE.
  • To get a brief overview of basic tasks in NetBeans IDE, see NetBeans IDE Quick Start Guide.
  • To get answers to specific questions, open the IDE's help system by choosing Help | Help Contents.
  • Other resources can be found on the Support and Docs page of the NetBeans project web site.

More Information

At the NetBeans project web site,, you can find news, additional modules, articles, and other information. As NetBeans is an open-source project, the web site also provides access to the source code, a bug database, information on creating your own NetBeans modules, and much more.

You keep up to date on NetBeans IDE and interact with NetBeans IDE developers and users by signing up for one of the project mailing lists detailed at

Not logged in. Log in, Register