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David Bolsover: My Five Favorite NetBeans IDE Features!

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David Bolsover: 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 David Bolsover. -- NetBeans team.

I am an avid motorcyclist (Ducati), tech addict and Java programmer living close to Manchester in England. I’m currently Managing Director and programmer at Nomogen Limited but have a background in defence electronics manufacturing. 

I first got interested in computing age 17 when computers were the preserve of large companies, financial institutions and academia. My first program was a routine to calculate square roots and was written out long hand on punched cards! I later worked for the Ferranti who were at the time one of the world’s foremost computer manufacturers. During my time in electronics manufacturing I got closely involved with the programming of the CNC controlled assembly robots; I soon got bored with that and realised that I could write a program (in Java) that, working from the raw data, would generate better, faster, CNC programs for me. 

These days, I specialise in working with companies that need the services of someone who understands manufacturing systems (particularly scheduling) and can realise pragmatic solutions to complex problems. I use NetBeans for my programming needs.

What are your 5 favorite NetBeans features?

1. Ability to Work with Multiple Different Database Systems. I often need to work with multiple different database systems. Using NetBeans and JDBC connections, I’m able to define all the connections in one place, all available for immediate use without switching to the individual database management tool:

Browsing a database structure just takes a couple of mouse clicks… 

Writing queries within NetBeans IDE is a breeze. Code completion will list all the available tables:

Using table aliases is no problem. Code completion on fields even tells me the datatype!

Complex queries? No problem:

2. Code Completion. Not only does NetBeans offer code completion hints for Java, it also does a splendid job with database queries (as shown above), offering lists of available schema, tables and fields making query development much simpler and less time consuming.

3. Refactoring. I genuinely think NetBeans has saved me months if not years of effort just encapsulating fields by providing the appropriate getters and setters. Taken together with the other refactoring options, such as introducing methods, changing method parameters, and many others, this makes a good IDE simply excellent.

4. Debugging. Developing code that works with manufacturing database often involves working with tree like structures such as multi-level Bills of Material. Trees commonly require recursive methods to walk the data structure. As anyone who has ever worked with recursion will tell you, debugging these methods can be very difficult. 

NetBeans makes it so much easier. Conditional breakpoints can be defined that allow you to stop execution at exactly the right point.

5. NetBeans Matisse GUI Builder. OK, so I know that Swing applications are not sexy like JavaFX but many of us still use and develop using Swing. The NetBeans Matisse GUI builder makes developing a well laid out GUI simple. From layout to preview to running the application with real data, in just a few clicks:

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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