One Ring To Rule Them All. Part 2

In continuance of the one ring to rule them all series, lets take a look at IDE’s. I am not one of those people who grew up in the 80’s and by default use VIM or Emacs, but I was fortunate(or unfortunate) enough to use Notepad to write java. Igraduated from notepad to edit(on windows), I then graduated to KAWA, then to Netbeans 3.5, then to JBuilder 8. I got stuck here for a while before I discovered netbeans 5.5 and after trying my hands on a few other IDE’s I came to the conclusion that Netbeans could be that IDE that rules them all. As usual, I am stating my reasons. Since I do Java most times, and I dont usually pay for IDE’s, my view might be limited to Netbeans Vs other free java ides.

  1. Support for a lot of languages by default. Netbeans came bundled with a support for a lot of languages by default, and one thing I noted about this support is that, it’s either its there or its not. On some other IDE’s, there is usually support for a particular language, but it sure wont be as intuitive as if you are using the IDE for the language it was meant to be used for. To list a few, netbeans has support for Java, C/C++, Python, RoR, Groovy, PHP, Javascript(including the popular frameworks)…..also there’s support for SVG and CSS. Easy to use UML, Support for JPA, SOA, JSF, Hibernate, Struts, Spring, etc. The number of things you can do easily with Netbeans can not be exhausted here.
  2. Matisse. This I think is where I prefer Netbeans to most other IDE’s. Its actually the reason I left JBuilder for Netbeans. And since the days of 5.0, Matisse has grown to be the most desirable of them all.
  3. Visual Web Developer. This is something that.NET programmers enjoy, and I think Netbeans has brought it to Java Developers too. Not that so many people I know use it, but yes its a feature that is lacking in some other IDEs, even the ones that are the very close competitors.
  4. Swing Vs SWT. For me, I’ll go with swing any day, my reasons are all sprawled out in google.
  5. Visual Mobile Designer. This also is a very strong point for netbeans. I do a lot of mobile contents and although I use the VMD sparingly, it has helped me in more than several ways. Its always a place for me to quickly look at how something is done. Since it generates code for me, its synonymous to the documentation.
  6. Intellisense. When I say public Employee paidEm, and I press ctrl+space, what do you think an IDE should do? Yes and that is what Netbeans does, it completes variable names for you as if it is in your mind. I never learned touch typing, so the lesser the characters I type, the better for me.
  7. Plugins. I like apples, but that’s not the reason I love Apple. I love Apple because they dont confuse their customers. If you want to buy a Nokia phone that has a camera phone and bluetooth, the options they will give you will stagger you. You might take another few days…or weeks analysing each device presented to you and still, you can not be sure you are getting the beast deal. But I love the iPhone, an iPhone is an iPhone, OK we have the 2g and the 3g, and thats all. Considering the sale Apple has enjoyed, you will think there are over 20 brands of iPhone, but no just two…..enough of that  I am not talking about phones….but I said all that to say this….Netbeans plugins are also like that. One plugin that does something and does it well, instead of being presented with 10 plugins where each handle a small part of the big picture, this again I think is a strong point for Netbeans.
  8. Others. Refactoring in Netbeans is just sweet, profiling is something else, UML support is superb, the “insert code” feature always blows my mind, time and space wont permit me to talk about the platform itself, the ease of plugin development, the community, name it. Whoever came up with the “The only ide you need” definitely is only iterating the truth.


  1. Ovo Dibie said

    I’m a Nigerian student studying CS in the United States. Upon booting up NetBeans today, I came across your article on Java and the Nigerian Developers. Can you tell me more about yourself and what you do? Do you do development work in Nigeria? I’ve been looking for ways to network with other Nigerian computer scientist, but I’ve only come across a few thus far.


    • @ovo, please direst any question regarding Java and Nigerian Developers to either my email address or I have added you to my yahoo contacts(trinisoftinc). It will be better if we discuss this outside this web blog. Thank you

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