NetBeans 9 RC1 Ready to Go
Written by Harry Fairhead   
Wednesday, 23 May 2018

NetBeans seems to have survived its transition from Oracle to Apache, but it is still difficult to say how well. The long-awaited version 9 is ready for serious work and you can download the release candidate now.


NetBeans has long been one of my favourite IDEs. I switched to it due to my dissatisfaction with Eclipse and didn't switch back even when it seemed that Eclipse had improved. The big attraction to me of NetBeans is that it is a good quality IDE that supported Java, JavaScript, HTML, PHP, C, C++ and Python. Then Python got lost along the way and I started to worry that PHP might be next. There is a lot of pressure on the Netbean's team to stay focused on Java, but it is the multi-language aspect that appeals to me and my guess is to a small but important group.

In the early days it was just NetBeans v Eclipse, but today there are a few other options. JetBrains offers a range of open source IDEs for Java, Python etc, but not all of its tools are open source and there is no multi-language IDE. Visual Studio, though its days are probably numbered, still offers an ever growing range of languages, including Python which is currently missing from NetBeans. The open-source upstart, Visual Studio Code, is also growing its multi-language support at a surprising speed - it just isn't that easy to use compared to the others; it is more of an editor than an IDE and much more like a collection of loosely associated add-ins flying in formation.

NetBeans is still in with a chance of being an IDE that the people in the know want to use, so what is the next version like?





The big problem for the NetBeans team is that it got moved to Apache just at the time that Java was undergoing rapid change. As a result it is only now that version 9 will support JDK 9 and this is a bit late for many users. It also supports many JDK 10 features such as local type inference. The biggest effort, however, has gone into the JDK 9 module system (jigsaw). It also supports the new JavaShell, but this is certainly less important. The Java profiler has been improved but that's about it. The new release is basically catching up with Java - but what more can you expect. It is over 18 months since the last stable release of NetBeans.



A module chart.

The good news is that the other languages have also been given some attention. PHP now supports version 7.1 and 7.0 but the bad news is that PHP facilities still seem to be the work of one contributor, Junichi Yamamoto. This is fragile to say the least. On the C/C++ front the system now supports the Dbx native debugger, Clang-format and few other minor additions. It will be interesting to see if the C/C++ features have caught up with the existence of the Linux subsystem in Windows.

At the moment it isn't clear what effect moving the project to Apache has had, but NetBeans is still very much alive and it is close to catching up with the changes in Java, which is a step in the right direction.


A possible new splash screen for V9

More Information


Apache NetBeans 9.0 New and Noteworthy

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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 23 May 2018 )