Finally, after some RCs that didn’t quite make it for me, NetBeans 6.0 (production release) has definitely won me over. These are my first impressions:

  • Editor – code font and colors are not always updated when I change settings on the Font & Color dialog. For example: if I change the field color, I have to reopen the code to see the changes. Font & Color settings weren’t imported from my NB 5.5 settings, even though I’ve chosen to do so when I first opened NB 6.0. This is a minor issue that should be fixed soon;
  • MUCH better CSS support – clicking on a CSS rule updates a “Style Builder” form where you can change font, background, border and other settings plus a window where you can preview the style. That means much less dependency on tools like Dreamweaver;
  • Javascript support – in NB 5.5 I had to use a plugin for Javascript code completion, which is now native to NB 6.0. To make things even better, you can see the minimum DOM version to use every function. With the widespread use of Javascript libraries like Prototype and Scriptaculous, I would like NB to parse all the Javascript files in my project just like it’s currently done with Java files. That would yield a better code completion support for Javascript;
  • Easier encoding configuration – if you ever moved your code across different OSes and saw your “é” become a “?”, you know encoding is something you have to care about. It would be easy to write an entire project in NB 5.5 and forget that because the encoding option is so well hidden within the advanced options inside the options dialog. Now you can easily set the encoding for the project in a more intuitive manner by simply choosing a value in a combo box that is inside the very first page of the project options dialog;
  • Cool Code insertion – I remember I was once bashed in a forum for requesting method delegate facilities in the Java language. Maybe we’re not quite there yet, but NB 6.0 now features a code insertion facility that makes it easy to proxify methods of objects that your class contains. Just press Alt + Insert and choose “Delegate method…”

NetBeans 6.0 CSS support

Fig. 1. Improved CSS support now shows a preview of the rule

NetBeans 6.0 Javascript support

Fig. 2. Javascript code completion is now native to NB 6.0

Easier encoding configuration in NB 6.0

Fig. 3. Encoding configuration is now on the very first page of the project configuration dialog

What I really like about this new version of NB is that things have either become easier or as easy as they were before. All these features are integrated, making NB worth the Integrated Development Environment title. Everyone who download it will benefit from these changes and there is no need to know which NB branch will match your needs. If you downloaded the RC versions of NB 6.0 and you were disappointed by editor problems, you can make your upgrade now since most of those issues were solved. If you were waiting to upgrate to NB 6.0, the time is now!

This entry was posted by on Sunday, December 30th, 2007 at 3:33 pm and is filed under Programming. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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