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Michelle Chamberlin and Bruce Shimel: My Five Favorite NetBeans IDE Features!

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Michelle Chamberlin and Bruce Shimel: 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 Michelle Chamberlin and Bruce Shimel at Boeing, whose history with NetBeans IDE goes back many years. -- NetBeans team.

Michelle Chamberlin is a developer at Boeing. Currently working on  engineering analysis applications supporting airplane development, she works in a variety of languages but primarily uses Java with NetBeans IDE. Michelle has been using NetBeans IDE since shortly after she was hired and now helps lead a group developing an application on the NetBeans Platform.

Bruce Shimel is an architect and developer at Boeing. Among other projects, he works on modular engineering analysis applications built on the NetBeans Platform.  Bruce has been using NetBeans IDE since 2003.

What are your 5 favorite NetBeans features?

1. NetBeans IDE follows standard Java development conventions and recognizes that we may choose to work on our projects outside of the IDE.

NetBeans IDE adherence to Java development standards delivers value to our projects by encouraging good programming practices and creating projects that are easily maintained.  

NetBeans IDE helps us quickly create new projects, but does so in a way that the projects are not dependent on the IDE.  For example, NetBeans IDE creates an Ant file to build the project that can be used and extended even  when we are working on the project without the assistance of the IDE.

This philosophy manifests itself throughout the IDE design.  Even the GUI builder has always had well-structured code that can be easily edited and maintained outside of the IDE, if necessary. 

2. NetBeans IDE supports modular software development.

The modular architecture of the NetBeans Platform has been a big benefit to us as we have used the platform to build large, complex engineering applications by sharing components.

When we first began using the NetBeans Platform and created modules, NetBeans IDE did not have support for module creation. So, we had to create a lot of the modules manually, which was time consuming and difficult. However, once NetBeans IDE added support for module development, the task of creating and maintaining a module became easy and the productivity of our teams increased dramatically.

In addition to doing our own module development, we also make great use of all of the available modules in NetBeans IDE and those available within the NetBeans community.  A couple of our favorite modules are the Gradle Support plugin and the QuickOpener plugin.

3. Keyboard shortcuts.

As every developer knows, keyboard shortcuts are critical to productivity. Some of our favorite time-saving shortcuts are:
  • Go to File… (Alt + Shift + O) - This is a quick way to jump to another file without having to find it in the project explorer.

  • Go to Type… (Ctrl + O) – This is a quick way to jump to a class, interface, etc.

  • Find Usages (Alt+F7)

  • Format (Alt+Shift+F)
4. Project and Code templates.

Project templates are a great time saver and allow us to get started quickly.

Code templates remove redundancy and allow us to code faster.  It may even help stave off carpel tunnel syndrome.

For example, type log

Then, press Tab and get the following:

We use a lot of code templates, but we probably use the logging templates the most.

5. Profiler.

Having the Profiler available and built into NetBeans IDE is another great benefit. 

Our applications often have to deal with a large amount of data, such as a large airplane model with thousands of load cases.  The Profiler is invaluable for tracking down trouble spots and resolving issues.

See attached Boeing’s Assignment of Copyright. The work of authorship referred to herein is a work-made-for hire by one or more employees of The Boeing Company.

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