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Igwe Kalu: 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 Igwe Kalu. -- NetBeans team.

My name is Igwe Kalu, I am a software developer at P.I. Works, Istanbul. At P.I. Works, we develop and provide mobile network optimisation solutions as tools and managed services. Our products are available as desktop and web applications; those that were deployed solely as desktop applications have been and are being migrated to the web of recent.

We use the .NET platform primarily, for development in our R&D team. For our front-end development, and for projects I do that are not .NET based I use the NetBeans IDE. Here are just 5 of the many really useful features the NetBeans IDE offers.

The Editor

With numerous code editors out there, it appears as one feature that could be taken for granted. Not for me though, I find it more convenient to code JavaScript and C with NetBeans.

One of the main contributing factors to the convenience I speak of is the ease with which one can document code using the NetBeans IDE editor. Having declared a member, variable or function, typing /** and then pressing the enter key generates a JSDoc template (when developing JavaScript for instance).

Most times the code I work on is lengthy, and this feature helps keep me on focus as well as makes it easier for others to read my code.

Another factor is that the editor creates a local revision history of sources and updates the history on each save. A visual diff of revisions of same file or two different files can be viewed from the editor’s history tab.

Developing and Debugging HTML5 Applications

Starting a new HTML5 application development with NetBeans IDE is a breeze. You are spoilt for choice on a number of templates to use as a base. Whether you pick one of the templates or chose to create your project from scratch, you have the additional option of selecting the JavaScript libraries you want to use in your project and have the IDE download them automatically on creating the project.

The IDE is able to recognize when packages are not installed, it offers a warning and runs the package installer for you if you choose.

JavaScript debugging and interaction with the (Chrome) browser console can be done from the IDE directly. It also includes an HTML element selection capability and live style editing. This allows the browser to be just a browser, and allows you to concentrate on your work in one window.

Version Control Systems

In addition to the local revision history feature I mentioned earlier, NetBeans IDE integrates the major version control systems and supports them fully – take Git for instance, of yet, I have not encountered any related operation I could not do from the IDE.

Other supported VCS include Mercurial and Subversion.

NetBeans Platform

The NetBeans Platform is a Java GUI development framework feature of the IDE. It is a rich client platform consisting of a runtime container, module system, and window system, amongst other components that enables rapid development of desktop application.

For example, NATO uses it as the basis of their own software:

If you are looking for proof of how good the API is, NetBeans IDE itself is a valid evidence.

Versatility, Simplicity and Trendiness

So far in my experience, I have used the NetBeans IDE in a wide range of projects including Java, PHP, NodeJS, C/C++, and LESS development.

I like that the IDE supports a wide range of languages, tools, and frameworks out of the box. The user interface is intuitive and easy to use. That also makes it very easy to learn with the IDE.

I have been using NetBeans for about 5 years, and I can summarize my experience with it as follows—albeit being a mature IDE, as software development progresses the IDE evolves to meet the demands that arise from the progression over time.

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.

Learn more about Kotlin, a new programming language designed to solve problems that software developers face every day brought to you in partnership with JetBrains.


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