NetBeans 7.4 Update Extends HTML 5 Support to Java EE and PHP, JDK 8 Developer Previews

Aiming to satisfy the growing demand among Java developers for support for newer technologies used to build advanced user interfaces, Oracle this week released another update of the NetBeans integrated development environment (IDE). Version 7.4 of the IDE extends the HTML 5 support provided in the previous release to Java EE and PHP applications, and becomes the first IDE to provide support for JDK 8 developer preview builds.

This release also adds support for HTML 5 running on Android and iOS devices, and cranks up its visual editing capabilities for Cascading Style Sheets (CSS). It also comes with enhancements to the Java, JavaScript and PHP editors; adds support for testing in different browsers, including the new live Web preview feature of Google Chrome; and bumps up support of the Git, Subversion and Mercurial versioning control systems.

Oracle is throwing a spotlight on the HTML 5 development features in this release, but giving developers a chance to use NetBeans with JDK 8 is also big news. Java jocks will have a chance to work with compact profiles, Lambda expressions (anonymous functions), virtual extension methods, Type Annotations and Repeating Annotations.

NetBeans continues to be the Java IDE, despite early concerns that Oracle might shelve it after the database giant acquired Sun Microsystems. But the venerable development environment has grown under Oracle beyond Java, and now supports the C/C++ and Groovy languages, as well as PHP, JavaScript, and the HTML 5 and CSS Web development standards.

Support for HTML 5 was added to the IDE in February with the release of version 7.3. That release also added support for CSS and a new JavaScript editor and debugger based on the Nashorn project. Version 7.2 of the IDE, released the previous July, added integration with the JavaFX Scene Builder design tool, support for multiple PHP frameworks, and an update of its support for the Groovy language.

"For a while now, we've been seeing an environment in which Java developers are being challenged, not only with understanding server-side Java, but with putting together these responsive designs in the client-side environments of JavaScript, HTML5, and CSS," John Brock, principal product manager at Oracle, told ADTmag in an earlier interview. "Java developers aren't just writing Java code anymore."

NetBeans is a free, open source IDE. It's available for Windows, Mac, Solaris and Linux. NetBeans 7.4 can be downloaded here.

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].