NetBeans 8.2 - With Lots Of Carets
Written by Mike James   
Monday, 03 October 2016

No misprint - it really does say caret and not carrot - but it doesn't help explain what a multi-caret is, although multi-carrot would be even stranger. Yes, NetBeans 8.2 is here with some new features.

Oracle might well be in the process of trying to get rid of NetBeans to Apache - or if you want to put it in the best light, trying to find a better home for NetBeans - but this doesn't stop a new version being rolled out. If you think of NetBeans as a primarily a Java IDE, it is, then it is surprising to discover that most of the new features in NetBeans 8.2 are about other languages.

So what is a multi-caret? 

Have you ever decided to to change a block of method declarations, from public to private say, and have had to type the same thing on multiple lines. Use search and replace I hear you say, but the problem with this iS restricting the scope of the operation.

A multi-caret mode lets you have multiple text entry markers, i.e. carets, in a file. This means that you can type the same thing into muliple lines. This sounds like a superhuman feat, like having multiple conversations at the same time, but hey we're programmers we do superhuman things like use emacs...



More seriously it is worrying that a programming tool provides the facility to type the same thing in different place. The fact that the editor needs a multi-insertion point mode says a lot about the sort of languages we are using - redundant to the point of exact repetition. However this is not NetBean's fault and we will have to see how useful multi-caret and its new keyboard shortcuts are. 

The big addition are to HTML and web programing in general. NetBeans is currently an excellent choice for web programming on the client side with JavaScript and on the server side with Java or PHP. New is support for ECMAScript 6, including editor support for generators, template literals and destructuring. It also goes beyond this with support for async functions and decorators. On the server side PHP 7 is now supported, along with Symfony and PHPUnit. 

At a completely different level, C/C++ support has been improved with facilities to customize run/debug launchers, better management of tool collections and additions to the terminal. NetBeans is not quite the best IDE for embedded development, but it is only a fraction away from being so.

It also supports Docker and you can register an instance you want to work with and install and get new images. The editor can also be used to create and modify Dockerfiles. 

If you are disappointed by the lack of Java improvements it is worth knowing that the next big release, NetBeans 9, will be released along with Java 9 and will support all of the new JDK 9 features


More Information

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Last Updated ( Monday, 03 October 2016 )