NetBeans IDE 4.0

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Here are some of the cool features targeted for this release:


Project System based on Apache Ant
JDK 1.5 Support
Web Application Development Improvements
Debugger Improvements
Windowing System Improvements

Here's a quick rundown of the new features listed above, with screenshots where available. Click the screenshots for full size images.

Project System Based on Apache Ant

  • Apache Ant is used as a build engine
  • Project metadata are Ant build scripts
  • Ability to build apps outside of the IDE using Ant, no special action ("export to Ant") is required
  • Fully integrated support for unit testing (JUnit)
  • User sources are presented in the context of their project in a logical way
  • The user can work with multiple projects at the same time
  • All of the above is there out-of-the box, no special setup isrequired from the user

A completely new project system based on Apache Ant, a proven de-facto open source standard build tool for developing applications using Java technologies. This new system will have an open architecture, which third-party modules can extend to support current and future types of java applications. NetBeans will include project types for J2SE desktop and two-tier web applications (JSPs, servlets, tag libraries) out of the box. Users will not have to fear of being locked into a proprietary project or build system. The usual users don't have to know Ant to use the system, but the full power of Ant is accessible to the advanced Ant users.


Refactoring Screenshot 1 Highlights:
  • Rename Class/Method/Field
  • Move Class
  • Rename Package
  • Change method signature
  • Encapsulate field

The refactoring in 4.0 will provide features such as Renames (Class/Method/Field), Move Class, Rename Package, Change method signature, Encapsulate field, Find References/Declaration and Go to super implementation.

Refactoring Screenshot 2

J2SE 1.5 Support

  • IDE will run on J2SE 1.5, final version
  • Support for new language constructs in the editor

Once J2SE 1.5 is released you will be able to use new language constructs, such as enums, generics or metadata annotations to build and edit your application without additional setup.

Features like error annotations (error underlying) or code folding will work with 1.5 sources and the editor will recognize and color new language keywords.

Web Application Development Improvements

  • Web Application project type
  • Enhanced support for both J2EE 1.3 (Servlet 2.3 and JSP 1.2) and J2EE 1.4 (Servlet 2.4 and JSP 2.0) 2-tier web applications

The new project system including the Web Application project type (described above) is the major feature for Web Application developers. It will allow developing applications using natural and practical source structures, more easily manage libraries and provide more integrated build capability for web applications including war archive packaging. NetBeans 4.0 will also have extended support for both the J2EE 1.3 and J2EE 1.4 standard. Additionally, NetBeans 4.0 will contain enhancements in the areas of JSP editing, deployment, debugging, server management, support for the latest Tomcat and others.


  • Support for Java(tm) 2 Micro Edition (J2ME(tm)) MIDP 2.0 and CLDC 1.1 standards
  • J2ME MIDP type project support
  • Various J2ME MIDP example projects
  • Integrated with the J2ME Wireless Toolkit 2.2
  • Supports integration with other third-party emulator platforms
  • Solves device fragmentation by enabling code development for device configurations
  • Integrated obfuscation and optimization support
  • Over-the-Air (OTA) download testing

J2ME Development Support lets users write, test, and debug applications for Java technology-enabled mobile devices. It integrates support for MIDP 2.0/CLDC 1.1 and code obfuscation with the new NetBeans 4.0 projects system This release simplifies coding with templates for MIDlet and MIDlet suites, and provides code completion against J2ME packages. You can integrate third-party emulators and create device "configurations" for a robust testing environment.

For more information including documentations please visit J2ME MIDP Development for NetBeans IDE 4.0.

Debugger Improvements

  • New Debugger APIs
  • Usability and productivity improvements

Core Debugger is an important part of the IDE, that is being extended by many other modules such as JSP debugger. New Debugger APIs will be a major improvements in terms of architectural extensibility, overall maintainability, and testability, as well as providing a more reliable threading model and full JSR45 support.

In addition to that, there are many new features to enable more productive complex apps debugging, such as step filtering, threads & callstack views filtering, as well as allowing threads to stop at breakpoints independently. Debugger will also support the new JDK 1.5 language features, so it would be possible to use new language constructs in writing expressions for watches and conditional breakpoints.

Windowing System Improvements

Windowing System Highlights:
  • Multiple views/editors per object: the user can easily switch between different views of a single object (for example java source/visual designer for a GUI form, raw XML/visual editor for deployment descriptor), no need to open new window for each view and searching for them all the time
  • Visual alignment with Aqua LookAndFeel on MacOS X, and native GNOME themes on Unices (GTK LookAndFeel)
  • auto-hide (sliding) windows

Further improvements on the windowing system even after its complete rewrite in NetBeans IDE 3.6.

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NetBeans IDE 4.0

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