Plugging into NetBeans
- By Matt Stephens
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...