As reported before, I decide to adopt Netbeans for all my Java projects. Definitively, it was a better decision than to continue using Eclipse. However, the world is not perfect and I have been having some problems with Netbeans too. First, I have to say that I don’t want to pay for a tool because I would be even more stressed if something, that I paid for, starts to break! So, don’t suggest creatures like MyEclipse, IntelliJ IDEA or developer studios out there. I know some Netbeans gurus, we drunk some beers before and I like them. So, don’t ask me to move to the Eclipse 3.3 version because I won’t!

I listed below five things that make me happy and 3 things that make me crazy when using Netbeans. To be able to do that, I installed Netbeans 6.1 release candidate (the last version possible nowadays), just because somebody can say “Just move to 6.1 version to remove all bad things”. First, let’s go to the good points:

  1. Netbeans is easy to use and its user interface clarifies many concepts about Java, which makes this IDE the best one to learn Java and develop applications following the specification.
  2. Netbeans is complete enough to allow you to develop a large variety of applications, from simple to complex solutions, desktop, web, mobile, using different frameworks and even different languages.
  3. Netbeans looks great and allows you to modify colors and styles of the source editor easily. You don’t need to configure each color individually, but just use some predefined styles or create your own.
  4. Netbeans is receiving more investments from SUN Microsystems and more contribution from the community. Then, you don’t need to worry so much about the evolution of other tools, since the probability to migrate to another tool is decreasing. If you already are a Netbeans user, you will notice that most of the bugs found in the previous versions were solved in the last version (6.1) and, of course, you don’t need to pay to get those corrections.
  5. And, finally, I don’t know if I am lucky, but I work, at least, 10 hours/day with Netbeans without any memory crash on Windows, Ubuntu and Open Solaris.

Like every novel, I wrote the bad part only at the end of the post. So, let’s go to these points:

  1. There are very complex Ant scripts doing almost everything behind the scene and you are aware of it, when it should be the most transparent possible. When something goes wrong with those scripts (usually when you share them in a version control system) you will spend a lot of time to identify and solve the problem.
  2. I still lose time pressing “build”, “clean” and “build and clean”. Eclipse proved that it ‘s possible to keep it transparent without any loss for the programmer. I don’t know if we have to wait for this feature in a later version or if we don’t have to wait for it at all.
  3. The community behind Netbeans is still small comparing with the Eclipse one. Some initiatives were taken by Sun Microsystems through innovative ideas (offering money for direct contributions), but I think they need more involvement from the academy (innovation) and more study cases about software companies migrating from Eclipse or other tools to Netbeans (consolidation). What are the risks and where are the respective solutions?

These negative points are not enough to make me give up Netbeans. My happiness with the first 5 positive points fulfill me and should help you to decide for it. If you live in Fortaleza, Brazil, and you are not yet convinced about my arguments, I recommend to attend the Gregg Sporar session on Netbeans Day Fortaleza, which will be hosted by the Federal University of Ceará on Monday, April 14, starting at 13:00. Gregg works for Sun Microsystems as a Technical Evangelist on the NetBeans project. The event is a local SUN Ambassador initiative, but CEJUG is supporting him to promote the event and make it as successful as possible.