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Taudo Wenzel: My Five Favorite NetBeans IDE Features!

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Taudo Wenzel: 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 Taudo Wenzel. -- NetBeans team.

Taudo M. Wenzel has worked over 15 years as a Software Architect, Lead Developer, and Engineer in the financial industry, focusing on trading and risk evaluation software development. Java EE, Service Oriented Architectures, and large databases with high data volumes and throughput are his main areas of expertise. 

What are your 5 favorite NetBeans features?

1. It's a one-stop shop. Everything a developer needs together with a code editor is already there. For example, checking the content of a database table is easy. Connect to a database via the Services window and execute SQL statements, with the help of code completion in the SQL window.

Need to have a look at the JBoss configuration at your remote Linux integration testing box? Don’t leave the IDE! Connect to your remote systems via SSH and use the Terminal window inside the IDE.

2. Fine integration of Mercurial into the IDE. The below screen shows the Results window of the NetBeans Mercurial “Show Changes” command. Executed at the project root node, it lists all uncommitted changes of the whole project. From here, every required action can be done in order to prepare your commit, such as the following: 

  • delete unneeded files
  • perform diffs
  • include and exclude files from your commit

3. Flexible project structure and setup. Almost no matter what the project type I'm working on, I can easily open it in NetBeans: free-form Ant projects, simple Maven, more complex Maven multi-module projects, and even Eclipse projects. 

I have projects with many modules on which different teams need to work. Some are Maven multi-module projects, some Ant. No matter what, they integrate well into the IDE and can be built and executed when necessary.

For example, the "Open Project" dialog recognizes multiple project types and knows how to handle them (from top to bottom): An Ant project called “Batch” that was actually created with Eclipse, a simple Maven project named "Presentation"  and a Maven multi-module project:

Also, the great Maven integration cannot be stressed enough. Most devs I know do their Maven builds from the command line (using Eclipse as an IDE) because of unexpected Maven errors that only occur when building inside Eclipse.

This is not what I expect from a modern IDE and is actually the reason why I switched to NetBeans: great Maven support! I don't have any problems with it at all. Even with our large multi-module projects and complex dependencies, NetBeans gets them right. Sometimes during interview season, candidates for freelance job openings send me a zipped Maven project that they've code and put together themselves. NetBeans opens them flawlessly. I am able to build them right away, without any issues.

4. Find Symbol Feature. Very helpful is strg+shift+alt+o to open the "Find Symbol" dialog.With this, I can quickly find members and methods in all the open projects. Very much appreciated in projects with a large code base, when orientating myself within the code structure.

5. Auto-scanning of sources. Any code change from outside the IDE is immediately recognized by NetBeans without the need to hit F5 or anything else. I always have an up-to-date view on all my files. NetBeans scans the sources and recognizes the changes itself. Gone are the days where one would forget to refresh the Projects window and start wondering why something is not working anymore.

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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