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Clement Levallois: My Five Favorite NetBeans IDE Features!

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Continuing a series of articles focusing on NetBeans users and their five favorite NetBeans IDE features, here's the next part, by Clement Levallois. -- NetBeans team.

Clement Levallois (GitHub, Web, Work) is an Assistant Professor at EMLYON Business School in Lyon, France. His initial education was in social sciences and the humanities, while he has a PhD in the history of science.

He shifted to data-intensive research topics around 2009 and learned Java at this time to be able to contribute to Gephi. Ever since, he's been hooked on Java, Gephi, and NetBeans. A project he's working on for 2015 is to develop a course for non coders, that is, business students, on how to create an Android app with NetBeans.

What are your five favorite NetBeans features?

  1. Robustness. Coding needs all my attention, so my development environment should help structure my work without standing in the way.

    NetBeans is perfect for that. It just works. It never freezes, and it never bothers with exceptions, and I don't need to fix it. I take that for granted now and that is why I would not be able to change NetBeans for another development environment.

  2. Automatically generated projects, classes, configurations, and hints. As a beginner, it helps that many code snippets can be generated automatically in NetBeans, such as these:



    Then, once I learn how the process really works, I can choose to continue using NetBeans shortcuts or start coding things for myself for greater flexibility. I learned how to use REST web services in this "click and point" manner.

    Hints suggested in the margin remain live savers. For example, I like to be reminded when the type of a variable is probably incorrect or to be suggested a useful code refactoring, such as converting a "for loop" to an Iterator in one click, when I need to remove an item from a collection.

  3. Rich client platform. I am part of the community developing Gephi, a free and open source software to visualize graphs.

    Gephi is a rich client application built in Java on the NetBeans Platform, which has been downloaded 600,000+ times since 2013. My contribution consists in helping the community of users and in developing new plugins:

    http://marketplace.gephi.org/plugins/

    NetBeans greatly facilitates this process of creating plugins.



    It also assists in distributing them to any user who has installed Gephi. Updates are even delivered automatically to our clients!



  4. Java EE rocks in NetBeans IDE. For example, you can debug a client and multiple servers at the same time.



    I am currently developping a plugin for Gephi running on the NetBeans Platform, coupled with two WARs on Glassfish and one on Tomcat. It could have been a nightmare of complexity to debug this environment. But I test all of that locally in NetBeans and it works great. With debugging, I can follow the execution of the code step by step back and forth between the client and the two servers. No glitches at all.

  5. Frontend development. Using frontend technologies like JSF 2 and HTML5 is made easy in NetBeans. For my students and general users, I have developed small web applications which usually have server-side data intensive aspects. Here are some examples: 

    umigon.com
    realtimeopinion.com
    sleep-or-think.com

    Admittedly, I am the worst web designer, so it helps having a Java framework to design components out of the box with minimal need for JavaScript, while taking care of the client/server communication.

    JSF 2, together with PrimeFaces, works great for that, and again they are perfectly integrated in NetBeans IDE. That's a one click setup and there are many code generation helpers and hints when needed.



    Fancy but really important is that I can just plug my my own Android mobile phone into my laptop and choose it as a web browser to deploy a web page on. Realtime testing of a responsive design, hurray!

Contribute to this series! Do you and your colleagues also want to share your team's favorite NetBeans features with the world? Write to netbeans dot webmaster at gmail dot com.

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