NetBeans 5.0 is Rather Good


Well, NetBeans 5.0 is upon us, and – at the risk of jumping euphorically onto the hypester bandwagon – it seems every bit as “cool” as the excitement surrounding it suggests. I’ve been using the nightly builds for a while now (if they’re good enough for James Gosling, they’re good enough for me!)

There are so many killer features in this new release, it’s difficult to know which one to highlight. Matisse (the slick new GUI builder - check out this Flash demo)? Improved refactoring? Easy consumption of web services? The wizards for creating new plug-ins?

Actually, the new-improved plug-in support could just be what ends up saving NetBeans from the trash heap. Previous IDE greats (Delphi, JBuilder etc) have proved that it doesn’t matter how powerful the IDE is, if you don’t have industry support then the crowd tends to look the other way.

Although NetBeans has a few decent plug-ins, the vast majority are written for Eclipse. But this new release just might be enough to buck the trend.

I’ll write more about NetBeans 5.0 soon (not to mention the FCS of Studio Creator 2 which is built on NetBeans), but in the meantime here's the download page. And if you want to get a real taster of the not-so-distant future, try it with an early-access weekly snapshot of Java 6.

About the Author

Matt Stephens is a senior architect, programmer and project leader based in Central London. He co-wrote Agile Development with ICONIX Process, Extreme Programming Refactored, and Use Case Driven Object Modeling with UML - Theory and Practice.