Friday, April 22, 2011

Oracle's NetBeans 7.0 - Support for the JDK7 Developer Preview and HTML5

Oracle released NetBeans version 7.0, It becomes the first open source IDE to support JDK 7, providing both syntax support for the new language features, and code inspectors to help update existing code bases to take advantage of the new capabilities of the JDK platform. The specific JDK 7 features are:
  1. Strings in switch
  2. Diamond operator (new LinkedList<>())
  3. java.util.Objects
  4. JSR 292 (Exotic identifiers)
  5. New integer literals
  6. Multicatch
  7. Automatic resource management
Given that JDK 7 is not yet released, the NetBeans team will continue to track its progress closely. Oracle's Senior Director of Product Management, Duncan Mills, told InfoQ that a point release is planned to accommodate any changes.

With a high proportion of NetBeans users developing Swing applications (around 50% of NetBeans users are building JavaSE applications, according to Mills), the visual editor tools for Swing continue to receive attention. NetBeans 7 adds a new visual editor, GridBag Customizer, to the tool. Elsewhere, Oracle have also added support for Maven 3 and Git 1.7, integrated JUnit 4.8.2, and added remote HTTP URL support for Javadoc in libraries and Java platforms, providing support for “remotely hosted” Javadoc.

Java EE developers will find better support for Contexts and Dependency Injection (CDI) with a new editor's hint for creating qualifiers and a CDI specific inspector for observers/producers/injectables. There are also some improvements to support for the Java Persistence API, new support for Bean Validation, and the JSF PrimeFaces component library has been incorporated.

In terms of application server support, NetBeans 7.0 includes better integration with Oracle WebLogic 11g with both faster deployment times, and a new server runtime node displaying deployed features and applications. GlassFish integration has been updated, so that NetBeans now supports GlassFish 3.1, and includes new support for management of remote instances and deployed applications. Support for Tomcat 7 and the upcoming JBoss 6 are also included.
For web developers the HTML editor includes support for syntax checking, code highlighting and autocompletion for HTML5, with support for CSS3 planned for a future release. NetBeans' popular PHP support, used by around 220,000 developers according to Mills, has also seen some improvements with new support for Generate phpDoc, and new rename and safe delete refactorings.

As we previously reported NetBeans 7 no longer supports Ruby/RoR.
Although the open-source Java IDE market is dominated by Eclipse, NetBeans continues to grow. Mills told us that the product has around 880,000 "Active Users" (i.e. users who allow the product to "phone home" periodically), and sees about 550,000 downloads a month. The target is to grow that to around 1 million. The beta has aprox. 40,000 downloads between Nov 2010 and today.

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