Vasilis Souvatzis: My Five Favorite NetBeans IDE Features!

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Vasilis Souvatzis: 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 Vasilis Souvatzis. -- NetBeans team.

My name is Vasilis Souvatzis and I'm an IT student at the Alexandreio Technological Institute of Thessaloniki, Greece. I was first introduced to NetBeans IDE through my university courses, little did I know then that it would become my primary programming IDE.

I'm now writing my Java EE 7 thesis and NetBeans has been accompanying me throughout this project. I could never see myself using some other IDE. I'm far from an expert on NetBeans: I use only a portion of its features but I learn new things every day and am genuinely happy using it.

My github account is https://github.com/vasouv, where my thesis repository lives, and my blog is vasouv.blogspot.gr, where I plan on making programming posts as I write my thesis and discover cool things.

What are your 5 favorite NetBeans features?

1. Code Editor. If I only had to choose one favorite feature, I would say the code editor without a moment's hesitation. In my opinion this is the heart and soul of NetBeans and the most important aspect of any IDE.

Shall I start from the useful light bulb hints? It tells me if I have any unused variables or unused imports, it prompts me to change a StringBuffer to a StringBuilder, to convert a try-catch block to a try-with-resources, inner classes to lambda expressions and back...

(Click to enlarge the image above.)

The autocomplete feature goes hand in hand with the code editor and it's by far better than any of the other IDEs. Not only does it place the most recently used methods on the top of the list, it quickly offers relevant methods when I'm working with similar variables. Kind of like anticipating what I'm about to type and offering it to me. In the picture, I'm supposed to enter a String in the argument and it quickly gives me the toString() method.

(Click to enlarge the image above.)

2. Beginner Friendly. Everything is where it is supposed to be. No cluttered UI, no options buried under thousands of entries, just the code editor, a project treeview and an easily customizable toolbar. Do I need to change editor settings to my liking? Two clicks away, Tools > Options. It should always be there. Not under File > Preferences or Window > Preferences. Take note, other IDEs.

(Click to enlarge the image above.)

There are wizards that allow me to generate my database entities (no coding on my part) and GUIs to set up my project settings. Editing the web.xml without actually writing XML anyone? Yes please.

3. Database Integration. Until recently, I used MySQL or PostgreSQL because they offer a GUI for the underlying database. Then I remembered the Services window in NetBeans, in which I can set connections to any of my databases and start/stop them along with doing "quick and dirty" CRUD operations to the database tables.

Quite handy if you ask me. I no longer need another GUI for small changes to the database.

(Click to enlarge the image above.)

4. Maven Support. I don't know much about Maven really, other than that it's a build tool and a dependency manager. What I do know, though, is that NetBeans has fantastic support for it. All the open source projects I've downloaded to study have worked flawlessly in NetBeans. That's a big help to me, of course.

5. Performance. I noticed a tremendous performance boost in NetBeans 8. Not only when booting up (yes, even with cold boots) but also when scanning the open projects and overall performance when working with a bunch of classes open. I can even run NetBeans pretty well on a limpy Lubuntu netbook I have (1GB RAM). And that's not a small feat...

Many thanks to the NetBeans team and community for this fantastic IDE!

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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