NetBeans 7.1 Released

Oracle today announced the availability of the NetBeans 7.1 IDE. This is the first upgrade of the open source development environment since the 7.0 release in April, and Oracle is spotlighting user interface improvements in the Web client and the desktop. But this is also the first IDE to provide full support for JDK 7 and JavaFX 2.0.

"This release is about adopting the new Java standards," Bill Pataky, vice president of product management for Oracle's tools and frameworks group, told "And the new standard that's foremost in this release is JavaFX 2.0, which is a desktop technology."

For the Web client, this release expands integrated support for Java ServerFaces (JSF) Web-app frameworks, including the ICEfaces open source Ajax framework and the RichFaces Ajax-component library hosted by JBoss, Pataky explained. This release also provides new support for the CSS3 style sheet language in the NetBeans CSS editor, including code completion and syntax coloring, and documentation for new CSS4 elements. "Add that to our support for HTML5, and you have the tools to do some pretty interesting development," Pataky said. "This combination really pushes us into the next generation of Web technologies."

Oracle amped up its HTML5 support in NetBeans 7.0, and industry watchers saw it as a smart move. "Many traditional IDE users are going to be looking to experiment with HTML5 front ends," RedMonk analyst Stephen O'Grady told ADTmag in an earlier interview, "and the ability to do so within the context of their favorite tool is welcome."

On the desktop side, NetBeans 7.1 expands the IDE's support for Swing developers via some enhancements to the Swing GUI Builder (formerly Project Matisse) and an advanced UI debugger. The tools for visual debugging work for both Swing and JavaFX components.

IDC analyst Al Hilwa points out that this release continues to demonstrate an evolution of the NetBeans IDE beyond Java. "Probably the biggest thing is support for the new JavaFX 2.0," Hilwa said via an e-mail interview, "which no longer uses a unique scripting language...A bunch of features [in this release] show that NetBeans is not just about Java anymore, and so a fair amount of work has gone to provide better support for PHP, CSS3, and C/C++."

NetBeans 7.1 improves on the IDE's PHP debugging capabilities, and adds support for PHPUnit test groups and Smarty templates. It also adds integrated support for the Git version control system, as well as new support for Windows APIs, including access to a visual window layout designer and pluggable multiview components.

With this release, Oracle also demonstrates its commitment to NetBeans, Hilwa noted, by adding support for its recently announced WebLogic Server 12c, as well as cluster and instance deployment support for GlassFish Server.

"It looks like Oracle has kept a high-level of investment and support for NetBeans," Hilwa said.

And the NetBeans user base continues to grow, Pataky said. The number of active users of the IDE over a two-week period last summer crossed the one million mark, he said. "We've had steady growth over the past year and a half," he said. "And we're seeing tremendous growth in Asia and India, as well as the academic community."

The NetBeans 7.1 IDE is available for download now.

About the Author

John K. Waters is the editor in chief of a number of sites, with a focus on high-end development, AI and future tech. He's been writing about cutting-edge technologies and culture of Silicon Valley for more than two decades, and he's written more than a dozen books. He also co-scripted the documentary film Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, which aired on PBS.  He can be reached at [email protected].