Plugging into NetBeans
- By Matt Stephens
- April 12, 2006
One of Eclipse’s perceived strengths over NetBeans is the far greater number of modules available for Eclipse. But when NetBeans 5.0 was released, the megalithic IDE was given a fighting chance to compete, with radically easier plug-in module development.
It’s to be expected, then, that an ecosystem of third-party modules will start to become available for NetBeans. A good sign that this really is starting to happen, is the burgeoning website and NB update center, nbextras.org. From their About page:
“nbextras.org is an unofficial update center for NetBeans IDE. Unofficial in a sense that this server is not attached to nor endorsed by NetBeans.org.”
nbextras is intended for new, cutting-edge plug-in modules that possibly haven’t gone through the stringent testing that “official” NB modules must go through.
Recently added modules include a regex highlighter to allow quick evaluation of regular expressions; a module to generate statistical reports from a CVS repository (e.g. who is the most intensive committer); a small module to display info on the cryptographic services in your Java Virtual Machine; a bytecode browser to help you visualize what happens behind the scenes after your Java code is compiled into JVM-readable bytecode; and so on.
It's a rich and eclectic mix; and in a way that makes nbextras.org all the more appealing.
But, while welcome, there’s always a danger that this new-found surge of energy and enthusiasm in the plug-ins space could backfire for NetBeans -- check back here tomorrow and I'll explain why I think this is the case...