Real Stories from People Switching to the NetBeans IDE!

Many developers are migrating their applications to the NetBeans IDE from other IDEs.
Here are some of their stories.

Kalvin Osborne, Lead developer for XIPOLEC, Northern British Columbia, Canada

I have used almost all, if not all, the IDEs that have looked good enough to try. My top two: Notepad++ and NetBeans. I would never use NotePad++ for C/C++/Java, and that's why I use NetBeans. I used to use Code::Blocks, it's a great IDE, don't get me wrong, but pretty soon, a certain error and how it acts just hit the wrong nerve. VC++... well, I don't like Microsoft Products to begin with, so this was a natural disaster waiting to happen, and guess what... it happened...

So I went online to search for Java, the language I've been refusing for so long. I knew about NetBeans and Eclipse, and knew that both of them were pretty good with Java. Eclipse was nice, but NetBeans has a much more comfortable feel to it. I opened NetBeans, and found some cool stuff, which I later learned that Eclipse doesn't have! So, I'm very happy with NetBeans and I'll be using it, at least for Java.

Pete, KP Direction

I've been developing websites since 1999, and at kpdirection since 2001, starting with Macromedia Dreamweaver Ultradev. I stayed with the DW tools until version 8, when I got fed up with the continual costs of upgrading and the traditional bugs on release 1 of any version.

Looking for an alternative, I came across Aptana, and it blew me away. A PHP IDE with debugging built in (DW didn't have that a the time), and great facilities. I dropped DW and was a loyal Aptana user for over a year. Until they dropped all PHP support from the tool, changed the FTP method (and broke it), and generally showed that they no longer had a strategy to support PHP developers.

I looked around for alternatives. The search took a few weeks, and I tried all the PHP IDE's out there. NetBeans came out the winner - not least because it wasn't based on a bloated Eclipse platform, and being free, I couldn't argue with the price. I've been using NetBeans since 6.8 was released, and I'm completely happy that this is the right choice for our development needs in the future. Well done to all the people involved in producing such a great IDE.

Werner Vesteraas, Norway

I got fed up with Eclipse after four years. It has become a sluggish beast. NetBeans is now my weapon of choice.

Doug Puchalski

Free software is great. But it feels odd that I don't have to pay for this one!

I've tried Eclipse, Zend Studio, Komodo, RubyMine... and almost didn't bother with NetBeans because it seemed that any IDE was bound to be a disappointment. I was surprised by the responsiveness without sacrificing high-level functionality, and the feature set that seems to anticipate exactly what I want and would have designed into the product. And I keep discovering new amazing things every week.

I can't say enough good things about NetBeans. Rarely do I use software that seems to anticipate my needs before I even realize them myself.

Daniel Noz

Excerpt from blog entry: NetBeans IDE 6.7 Refcard

I switched from Eclipse to Netbeans about 2 years ago and I am completely happy with it. What I like most is that this IDE gets better and better with every release, even with release candidates or master releases. I think the main difference between Eclipse and Netbeans is, that Netbeans focuses on providing the very basic functionality for a developer. It is very well tested and has a great integration with databases and application servers.

Adam McMahon

No crazy configuration necessary. It works right away!

I have been using Eclipse for several years for Servlet development. I decided to give NetBeans 6 a try, and I was amazed at the integration of the development environment. In my experience, it takes much time to configure Eclipse to properly develop web components. Yet, right out of the box, NetBeans is pre-configured to develop, debug, and deploy web components quickly onto Tomcat (which is included with the download). While I am still surveying the features, I am impressed how quickly I could deploy a new web application.

Josh Eckerman, Eventux, LLC

I just wanted to say that NetBeans 6.7.1 has blown myself and my team away. Eclipse and Aptana Studio Pro were our standbys. After using this, we've begun a migration to NetBeans, and everyone is hitting the ground running. I shouldn't really call it a "migration" either. Just import, and off you go. Excellent work, and praise for all involved.

Jamie P

I switched to NetBeans about 6 months ago, after using just about every IDE out there for the past 9 years. Never going back...

Excerpt from blog entry: 20 Great non-PHP Tools for PHP Developers

NetBeans is an IDE that stands out above all others. It's completely free. It offers a built-in FTP client (Far superior to Dreamweaver) or supports subversion publishing. It is very small, fast, and has many built-in features that help create better code, more efficiently. Netbeans is hands down the best IDE, with the least about of bugs, and virtually no learning curve (Try that Eclipse...), that I've used.

If you are holding on to Dreamweaver because of the FTP, or some other function that Eclipse PDE or Zend Studio is lacking, I urge you to take a look at Netbeans. When I'm not using SVN, I can save the file I'm working on, and it is automatically uploaded to the web or testing server. Try it, you won't be disappointed.

Alan Stanley

I love NetBeans. I work in a development and support shop. I've managed to convert a number of die-hard Eclipse guys over to NetBeans.

NetBeans unpacks and sets up easily. The user interface is intuitive, and the drag and drop palettes are easy and transparent. The automatic integration of Frameworks (along with the tutorials) makes acquiring facility with new Java technologies relatively easy. I now implement MVC easily without having to memorize arcane directory structures. The built-in example apps are self-explanatory and highly instructive.

It's a good product, and attractively priced. I've written and deployed web based support apps from some of my clients in as little as an hour or two.


So, I’m now self employed. That means I need software, and I need it to be either free or inexpensive. [...] This took a while of jumping from site to site, checking out feature comparison charts, trying different software, and so on. I wanted something free, and feature packed. My main requirements were great handling of PHP code, and great Javascript - jQuery in particular.

Ultimately it came down to a showdown between Aptana Studio and NetBeans, and while they were pretty close, Aptana’s PHP plug-in failed me miserably when it came to actual usage: When I launched the site (via “Run” function, if I remember correctly), my entire site was squished onto one line. That means that opening //<![CDATA [ comments would comment out entire scripts. Needless to say, that soured Aptana’s viability completely, and after looking into a fix for about an hour, I declared NetBeans the winner. I’d say that it’s a permanent replacement for Dreamweaver in my book; NetBeans is pretty much a PHP coder’s dream come true.

Travis Walters

Excerpt from blog entry: The second coming of NetBeans
[...] I hate to say it but... Three strikes and you're out Eclipse! I'll be using NetBeans for all of my Ruby, Groovy, and eventually Scala development. I also plan to try NetBeans on my next Java gig to see how it holds up in an enterprise development environment. If you haven't used NetBeans in a while I'd strongly encourage you to check it out.


My company bought three 3-year licenses for Zend Studio earlier this and up until a few weeks ago, there was nothing else on the market that even came close to meeting our requirements. Then NetBeans released 6.5 with PHP support. Right out of the gate, their PHP and JavaScript support is on the whole, so much better and faster than Zend's product, with so many fewer bugs, that despite the fact that we spent $1000 this year investing in Zend's product, and I personally have spent time with Zend's tech support and developers (good guys, very helpful), I am assisting my team in migrating over to use NetBeans for most of our development....

Kevin Yank

Excerpt from blog: PHP support in NetBeans 6.5
Long dismissed as a “toy Java IDE”, NetBeans—Sun’s open source Integrated Development Evironment (IDE)—has really grown up in recent years. No longer is it just for Java, either: 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.
I had become used to writing my PHP code in a simple text editor (jEdit, if you’re wondering), so it had been awhile since I’d enjoyed the luxuries of project-wide code completion, code refactoring, and a full debugger. All of these and more are available in NetBeans 6.5. [...]

Of course, writing PHP applications is more than just PHP code. You have to write HTML, CSS, and JavaScript code as well. When you do, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find the same level of support for these languages built into NetBeans too! And when a single file mixes these languages together, NetBeans handles it all seamlessly.

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!

Audience member at Java Day 2008, Bratislava

Why would I pay $250 for IntelliJ when I can get NetBeans for free?


Excerpt from blog entry: NetBeans 6.5 PHP Edition
...There are few features I expect my IDE to have. Code completion is one of them, and in NetBEans it looks awesome. ... I’m officially in love with NetBeans for now. I’ve been using NuSphere PhpEd for some time, it also has similar feature but does not write the require statement like NetBeans. It’s the small things that make people happy. Another thing, and the most important one, NetBeans is free. There are few other things in which NetBeans stands out of the crowd, like XHTML code completion and so on. This post is not intended to be some detailed review of a product. It’s a merely an personal observation. I’m just saying I feel more comfortable now, today, using NetBeans than using Zend or NuSpere; not to mention the cost of each of them. If you have some spare time, give it a try.


To NB team:

... I personally think you have the best IDE out there already for PHP development. You won't have any trouble at all getting people to convert from other IDEs to NetBeans, that I am certain of... The more users you can reach at these early stages will help with user feedback and to drive future feature development. I have already switched the whole company to NetBeans for PHP, but little ol' me isn't enough to reach the masses. :) I think your efforts and product so far are so good you should get people running down the streets wearing T-Shirts and singing. :)

Rob Eastman

I have been a Microsoft Visual Studio user for quite some time. I have mostly programmed in C#. I downloaded the Netbeans IDE to program a peer-to-peer networking course project for my graduate studies. I am very impressed with the functionality of the Netbeans IDE for java programming! I just want to say "great job"! I will use NetBeans IDE for my remaining Graduate level courses in computer science at the University of Florida.


Excerpt from blog entry: NetBeans: Why it Matters
... The fact that NetBeans offers a full-fledged IDE that runs on multiple platforms is enough in itself. The fact that it has support for every language you could ever want (or need) to write code in is nearly unprecedented. The fact that it does all of this better than any IDE I've ever seen is teetering on goofy. The fact that it's open source is down right nuts. ...

The IDE war will never be settled. Maybe that's for the best, to each his own. However, the bottom line is NetBeans makes you a better developer. It helps you do your job, and it helps you do your job well. The fact that it covers the major elements of all of the languages it supports is second to none. Break your code down by classes? Done. Attach an in-depth profiler? Cake. Debugger? You betcha'. Source control? Look ma', no hands. ...

If you've never tried NetBeans, I strongly encourage you to do so. It's alright, you don't have to tell anyone that you're using NetBeans. You can lock yourself away, keep all the lights off, cover your face if you must, but just try it. Once you put all the hype aside, you'll realize just how invaluable a tool like NetBeans is. And then you'll wonder why you weren't using it years ago.

Rob Dempster, South Africa

Excerpt from blog entry: Java and NetBeans - Finally a Brew that I am Able to Enjoy

As an academic teaching Computer Science for the past thirty years (currently here) I have seen major changes take place in terms of the programmers working environment. ... However because of my university's commitment to MS, I have also used Borland's programming IDE with Pascal, C, C++ and Java. But because of my commitment to free software, I have always been on the lookout for an IDE that I could share with my students with them working under MS and me under Linux.

When NetBeans first appeared, I tried it, but only once as it was so slow on my box that it was unusable. This has however changed in recent times and I have tried it again, only to abandon it as it was often an overkill for small teaching level programming projects. I also tried Eclipse and abandoned it for the same reason. These more recent efforts were renewed efforts to migrate from Emacs to bring myself into line with my colleagues and students who as I have already mentioned mostly used Borland's IDE. I should also admit that I also wanted to access the additional capabilities these IDEs now offered.

This year I have once again tried both NetBeans and Eclipse. This time NetBeans 6.0 won me over. It worked out of the box both under Windows XP and openSUSE 10.3. It is also fast thanks to advances in hardware and so far has allowed me to easily develop non-GUI Java applications (programming assignments) for the Object Oriented Programming module that I am currently teaching. My students who used Borland's JBuilder previously, were equally impressed.
For me, NetBeans now works and I have encouraged my colleagues to consider using it for their teaching!

Ryan Penn

I love the Ruby and Ruby on Rails support in NetBeans! I believe it's the best Ruby IDE out there. Please keep up the good work. I've abandoned RadRails for NetBeans.

David Heffelfinger

Excerpt from blog entry: Eclipse Veteran Switches To NetBeans

...I had briefly tried NetBeans before, however I always went back to Eclipse because it offered a much better Java editor, I think this has changed in version 6 of NetBeans. Things I earlier missed from the Eclipse editor are now available in NetBeans, such as:

  • highlighting a variable highlights it everywhere in the file, making it easy to see where it is been used.
  • crtl+clicking a method call navigates to the method declaration
  • Any file can be quickly opened via a keyboard shortcut (in Eclipse it is ctrl+shift+R, in NetBeans it is shift+alt+O)
  • ctrl+space automatically suggests variable names
...All in all, with the improvements made to the NetBeans editor, the tight integration with Maven, and the painless way of setting up a JSF project (essentially, all required code completion and features works "automagically") NetBeans has now surpassed Eclipse in usability. Count me in as a new convert.

James Carr

Excerpt from blog entry: NetBeans is Now My Favorite Java IDE

Sorry Eclipse, but it was bound to happen. I installed Eclipse on my laptop awhile back and had been suffering somewhat harsh just trying to prevent it from running out of PermGen space.... Finally, I decided to give NetBeans a try and, Thank God, I don’t have any issues yet… I’ve done my 300th deployment now and no memory warnings, no bumps. And even better, redeployments seem to go pretty smoothly and take a couple seconds to do. And gotta love HTTP monitor.

Scott Carpenter, Senior I/T Professional, Minnesota, USA

Excerpt from blog entry: Moving to NetBeans (from Eclipse)

...So what has tipped me over to NetBeans? It comes back to GUI programming and started [] when I went looking for a way to do this in Eclipse. I quickly found references to the Visual Editor plugin, and I found a lot of information about it, but I couldn’t get it working with my installation of Eclipse. With enough motivation I might have persevered, but I had the NetBeans alternative to look at....

Maciej Wegorkiewicz, Software Consultant

I want to thank the team for the best IDE I use for six years for development of personal finance application ePortfel (

Professionally, I used also Eclipse and IntelliJ Idea in other projects, but never even thought of switching to any of them with ePortfel. I must admit that I also very much like Idea for its refactoring capabilities and for many possibilities it gives for developing multi-tier apps. But for rich client GUIs, NetBeans has no competition on the market.

These are main reasons that make NetBeans best:

1. Great GUI builder
2. Great Ant integration (no more hand-keeping consistency between IDE and separate build script!)
3. Great and CONSISTENT IDE ui (no more ui mess like in Eclipse)
4. Great IDE speed (faster than Eclipse that liked to freeze my desktop)
5. Great Debugger
6. Great Profiler (easy and effective - you feel like using simple wizard and get exact info)

And as a summary I have to say I do not have any need for looking for better tool. I just have everything in NetBeans - out of the box.

John Blanco, JSF Developer, Colorado, US

Excerpt from blog entry: Eclipse Hits The Mat...NetBeans New Champ!

Recently, I have undertaken some changes in my development environment. This all started when it occurred to me that I was going nowhere fast trying to do PHP coding with Eclipse's PHPEclipse plugin....NetBeans was selected to replace Eclipse itself for my Java and Java ME projects. This made me the most nervous because it can be quite a dance dealing with Java dependencies, etc. I was afraid I'd have to go through mountains of tutorials to regain my level of proficiency I had with Eclipse.

Dead wrong.

Through the entire process of transitioning my projects over, NEVER ONCE did I ever have trouble figuring out what to do...and I didn't look at a single tutorial. The boys at Sun have done an extremely amazing job of writing an IDE devoid of anything overly cryptic. It just worked...and perfectly! On top of that, the tool is slick and clean....

My advice to Java developers out there: Give NetBeans a try! You won't need any training, it's that easy. You will love it!

Levan Dvalishvili

Here is the top 5 features that pulled me to NeatBeans from Eclipse:
  1. Very decent JSP Editor, plus seamless integration with Tomcat. (Saves me a lot of time.)
  2. Incremental deployments (that's awesome). (Saves me a lot of time.)
  3. HTTP monitor that actually works. (Saves me a lot of time.)
  4. Profiler that actually works. Used it few times but still nice feature.
  5. Debugger that actually works well with web applications.
  6. Code sharing (collaboration).

David Saintloth, Chief Software Architect, Apriority LLC

I have been using NetBeans since the time it was called Forte, way back in 2001. I enjoyed the ease with which I could get my project going and really liked the color coding. That was about it, I used it for about 6 months before I was forced to work with JBuilder in early 2002.

Well, JBuilder was okay but it didn't have the intuitive feel that Forte did. Forte was replaced by NetBeans, I went through all the major versions up to 4.2 before the buzz on this "uber" IDE called Eclipse started up. I decided to download and install Eclipse and for the life of me I don't know how anyone could compare that to Netbeans. By version 4, Netbeans was incredibly intuitive, stable and offered good tools for refactoring (the global search and replace features are a godsend) then came version 5, then 5.5. I haven't bothered to use Eclipse since.

Code completion, automated javadoc building, automated jar deployment and the astonishing Profiler make this THE best IDE out there for developers working on large projects. I am currently working on an Enterprise scale distributed web application framework with over 200 source files and about 2 dozen import packages and NetBeans has managed the coding and execution of my work perfectly. I highly recommend NetBeans to all my coding friends over any alternative when I get the chance.

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