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Your Favorite NetBeans Features!

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Your Favorite NetBeans Features!

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Over many months, NetBeans users around the world have been sharing their five favorite NetBeans features via articles on DZone. The continually growing list of contributors is below, together with a shortened bio (the fuller bio, with links, is in the article), a key quote from the article, a summary of their favorite features, and a link to the details provided by the article itself.

Do you also want to share your favorite NetBeans features with the world? Write to netbeans dot webmaster at gmail dot com and we'll work with you to add your contribution to the list!

Note: While the text below focuses primarily on individual developers and their usage of NetBeans IDE, see the dedicated NetBeans Community page on the Oracle Technology Network to find out how enterprises, companies, and organizations around the world are benefiting from NetBeans IDE.

Ben Evans. Co-founder of jClarity, a startup which delivers performance tools & services to help development & ops teams. He is an organizer for the London JUG and a member of the JCP Executive Committee, as well as being a Java Champion, JavaOne Rockstar, author, and speaker at conferences.

"If you are using Maven for version control, you should give NetBeans a go. It. Just. Works. Other IDE's support for Maven ranges from the annoying to the incredibly frustrating. With NetBeans, it just ceases to be an issue."

Favorite features: Maven support, GlassFish & Tomcat support, Javascript and HTML5 support, beginner-friendly, and the NetBeans community. Details.

Michelle Chamberlin. Developer at Boeing, working on  engineering analysis applications supporting airplane development and works in a variety of languages but primarily uses Java with NetBeans IDE.

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

Favorite features: NetBeans supports standard Java development conventions, modular software development, code templates, project templates, and the NetBeans Profiler. Details.

Simon Martinelli. Expert group member of JSR 352 Batch Applications for the Java Platform and JSR 354 Money and Currency API, member of the board of Java User Group Switzerland, and university lecturer at the Berne University of Applied Sciences.

"NetBeans is an IDE. Code editor, version control integration, database explorer, SQL editor, Maven support, JIRA task integration, Web Service browser, Jenkins/Hudson integration, and much more simply comes for free and out of the box with NetBeans."

Favorite features: Integrated features, polyglot language support, Maven integration, beginner-friendly, and JPQL code completion. Details.

Thorsten Marx. Product manager and developer at e-Spirit AG in Germany. He has used all the major IDEs in the last years and for a long time Eclipse was his absolute favorite IDE. But after spending some time using NetBeans for private projects, it has won him over.

"The Maven integration just rocks. It binds the default IDE project commands like 'run', 'compile', and 'test' to the corresponding Maven goals. And all the commands can be edited, for example, when I want to run a web application with Jetty, I just have to change the 'run' command to 'jetty:run'. This is how Maven integration is meant to be."

Favorite features: Maven integration, JIRA issue tracker integration, Java editor, Profiler, Project/Files views. Details.

Tim Boudreau. Technology consultant, evangelist and author. Most broadly known for his leadership in the NetBeans project while it was part of Sun Microsystems.

"Start typing a word and press CTRL-K and the editor will find a matching word in the open files, and cycle through matches if you press it repeatedly. It, and code templates, are probably more responsible for the speed at which I code than anything else."

Favorite features: Hippie completion, AngularJS, NodeJS, Maven, and code templates. Details.

Vasilis Souvatzis. IT student at the Alexandreio Technological Institute of Thessaloniki, Greece. He was first introduced to NetBeans IDE through his university courses, little did he know then that it would become his primary programming IDE.

"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."

Favorite features: Java code editor, beginner-friendly, database integration, Maven, and performance. Details.

Joachim Arrasz. One of the founders of synyx GmbH & Co. KG, located in Karlsruhe, Germany. At synyx, employees have a free choice of which IDE they want to work with and, together with nearly all modern IDEs, most developers have used NetBeans IDE from the very start.

"NetBeans IDE provides a direct connection via the Chrome Developer Tools plugin to the Chrome Browser. This enables direct editing from source files in NetBeans via the Chrome Developer Tools plugin and it mirrors all changes directly in NetBeans IDE. This speeds up web development enormously."

Favorite features: Maven, Git and other version control systems and issue trackers, Sonar plugin, Terminal window, Chrome integration, and HTML5 tools. Details.

Maciej Puchalski. Student at the Polish University of Białystok, who has used NetBeans IDE extensively throughout his studies and career as a programmer.

"The sole fact that such an awesome IDE exists is, in itself, a big feature for me! It is promoted and produced by Oracle, the developers of the Java language themselves – isn’t that the most encouraging fact among all NetBeans characteristics? The fact that NetBeans is written in Java makes a valid statement: It is Java, for Java."

Favorite features: NetBeans existence, memory efficiency, NetBeans Platform, refactoring tools, editor folds. Details.

Thomas Kruse. Owner of trion GmbH, a German consulting company. Together with Gerrit Grunwald, he founded the Java Usergroup in Muenster.

"The prime NetBeans feature is that it works out of the box. If you want to start learning Java, just download and start exploring. An enterprise customer project based on JSF - the same. Maven integration is top notch, and it is the real Maven thing."

Favorite features: Works out of the box, continuous improvement, frictionless speed, assistance for quality, and the NetBeans community. Details.

NetBeans Dream Team members Kirk Pepperdine, Zoran Sevarac, Aristides Villarreal, Fabrizio Giudici, Emilan Bold, and Andreas Stefik. The NetBeans Dream Team is a community-driven group of highly skilled NetBeans users and contributors. They participate at NetBeans developer events, on mailing lists and developer forums, providing new, interesting and informative content as well as developing new and creative ways to promote NetBeans. (More here.)

"A favorite feature is generational counts in the NetBeans Profiler. It makes finding memory leaks trivial. In general, the Profiler that comes with NetBeans enables inspection of CPU and memory usage, by methods and classes, in great detail, and it is very easy and handy to use."

Favorite features: Maven, Java EE, Java Editor hints, the Diff sidebar, and the Profiler. Details.

Jesus Garcia Quiñones. Manufacturing project leader in Java supporting the JAFRA plant in Mexico, where he and others use NetBeans IDE to develop applications that help in Enterprise Resource Planning and with their Warehouse Management System.

"In past experiences, working as a team was a difficult thing because we did not know if files had changed or what was the final version. NetBeans IDE has helped to easily use powerful tools like Mercurial and Git by including integration with them out of the box in the IDE."

Favorite features: Action items, multiple windows, databases and services, versioning, and keyboard shortcuts. Details.

Moses Khazalwa. Student at Dedan Kimathi University of Technology in Kenya. When not doing assignments, projects, and class work, he develops mobile apps using Apache Cordova with NetBeans IDE and plays around with Java EE and PHP, such as with Code Ingiter and Laravel.

"It is without doubt that the graphical user interface of a system affects the productivity of the users interacting with it. NetBeans IDE is built on the idea of giving more power to users to determine the IDE's look and feel. For example, NetBeans IDE has a feature for building custom themes."

Favorite features: collapsed code overview on mouse hover, code collapse/expand keyboard commands, code completion, Android web browser integration, easy and comprehensive customizability. Details.

Pablo Rodriguez & Anahata Development Team. Anahata is an Australian software development company with presence in Perth and Melbourne specializing in business process improvements through custom software solutions.

"When it comes to creating applications for embedded devices like the Raspberry Pi, we leverage the NetBeans Remote Platform feature for compiling Java apps and deploying them to embedded devices, which saves a lot of time."

Favorite features: Good, clean focus on core Java technologies, database integration, remote Java platforms, local history, and code hints. Details.

Edwin Lopez. Software engineer from Medellín, Colombia, interested in web development and new technology trends, especially those related to open source.  He's been programming since high school but working professionally since 2001 with several platforms, from PHP to Java and database backends.

"Being the control freak I am, I always tend to configure my tools to adapt to my workflows and not the other way around. In NetBeans IDE, I can change anything from the UI up to my keyboard shortcuts with no hassle and according to my mood."

Favorite features: NetBeans Platform, customize anything, multilanguage support, templates, templates, templates, and Java EE support. Details.

Paul Garcia. Student working as a senior full stack developer at a startup in New York. He studies I.T. at the New York Institute of Technology. The main stack he use is the MEAN (MongoDB, ExpressJS, AngularJS, NodeJS) stack.

"HTML5 development is common for me. I love to use AngularJS as my framework. NetBeans makes creating a new project a breeze. You can get a new AngularJS Seed Template app in less than 1 minute."

Favorite features: Control of workspace, click to run NodeJS apps, HTML5 templates, library downloads manager, built-in terminal. Details.

Enrico Scantamburlo. Employed at Streamsim where he works on studioSL, an application based on the NetBeans Platform. He has been working with NetBeans IDE since NetBeans IDE 5.5.

"While writing unit tests or editing some numerical table, it happened to me several times to have to modify multiple lines at once. In NetBeans there is a tool for that and it is located in the editor toolbar. When the button is pressed, the user can select a rectangular section of the document."

Favorite features: CTRL+Shift+Up/Down and ALT+Shift+Up/Down and code templates, dependency automatic search, rectangular selection, Java 7 and refactoring, and automatic exception handling. Details.

Tushar Joshi. Software architect working on multiple technologies. He has been involved with NetBeans IDE and the NetBeans Platform since 2008 and has been an active part of NetBeans community since then.

"Being an open source project has its own merits. There is a huge community backing NetBeans IDE users. Any user can ask any question on the community mailing lists and many community members readily help them. I have got all my answers for NetBeans IDE from the community."

Favorite features: Fantastic support for the NetBeans Platform, extensible architecture, one stop shop for almost everything I need, active and vibrant community, gateway to explore latest Java features. Details.

David Salter. Software developer who has been developing software professionally since 1991. He started programming in Java way back with Java 1.0 developing desktop applications and applets. Since 2001, he has been developing enterprise applications using both Java standards and open source solutions.

"Maven is provided out of the box and doesn't need any additional configuration. NetBeans is able to natively open Maven projects without having to import them first."

Favorite features: Maven, Java EE, WildFly, Git, extensibility. Details.

Arthur Buliva. Software developer who has been a NetBeans IDE user since its 4th release. He has seen NetBeans improve in terms of memory footprint, feature list, and language integration. He does a lot of work with PHP and Drupal.

"I work with a couple of databases – PostgreSQL, MySQL, Sybase – all scattered all over different servers. Having all of them saved and accessible from one central point is really nice. I am also able to edit and add records without much of a fuss directly from within NetBeans IDE."

Favorite features: SQL Browser and ability to connect to multiple databases, Glassfish integration and in particular deploy-on-save, Git, code completion, and ability to change look and feel. Details.

Robert Liguori. Author of the Java 8 Pocket Guide and certification guides on Java and NetBeans IDE. His primary job is supporting the aviation industry in software development, testing and R&D endeavors. He is an Oracle Certified NetBeans Expert.

"For every project I have supported, I have found useful NetBeans plugins to support my effort at hand. Because the Plugin Manager makes finding, acquiring, and installing plugins easy, it is one of my favorite features."

Favorite features: remote deployment, plugin manager, web service tools, PrimeFaces tools, and refactoring tools. Details.

Sophia Matarazzo. Java developer at IDRSolutions in the UK focusing mainly on the development of our JavaFX PDF Viewer. Her other focus is on the marketing side of the company, working closely alongside the company's marketing guru.

"NetBeans offers a free Profiler. The Profiler has a user-friendly and easy to use interface. This can provide the user with important information of the runtime behavior of their application."

Favorite features: Version control buttons in toolbar, code completion, keyboard shortcuts, code formatter, free Profiler. Details.

Emil Stoyanov. Manages a close knit team of software engineers at Forschung-Direkt, a software development company based in Bulgaria, which he is co-founder of. The team is engaged in creating and extending web-based business solutions and Android applications. NetBeans IDE is their platform of choice for the development of Java and PHP web applications.

"NetBeans IDE has reached a level of integration that is barely touched by the other IDEs that I’ve tried, namely the all-in-one integration of external application servers and database engines. I think this is of great value because it keeps the focus of the developer on the current task at hand."

Favorite features: Maven, Services window, local file history, PHP tools, and web services features. Details.

Djamel Torche. Software development engineer focused mainly on BPM applications, that is, workflows, as well as being a part time developer for a new innovative startup ITHRY Technologies. The IDE that ITHRY Technologies adopted as main development tool is NetBeans IDE.

"I consider NetBeans IDE to be the best tool to do HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript development, with the best documentation/completion, hints, assistants, and frameworks support, such as for JQuery and AngularJS, in addition to integration with the Chrome developer tools. Using all these things together with Apache Cordova out of the box makes NetBeans IDE the best tool for hybrid mobile application development."

Favorite features: NetBeans editor, PhoneGap/Cordova, code generators, GUI Builder, and Services window. Details.

Matia Zanella. Managing Director and Systems Engineering Director at Storm Interactive Technologies, provider of the Suyara Platform, which is a Data Storage Platform written in PHP that provides a robust platform, applicable to both personal and business use, for securely uploading and backing up data, as well as sharing files, at blazing speed.

"The slick functional interface that NetBeans IDE has is certainly a "must have" for us, since it has helped really well in shaping the directory structure of our applications, from the very beginning. The Projects window gives us an immediate view of our source structure, which is composed of modules, classes, and libraries."

Favorite features: Projects window, Navigator, find & replace, diff viewer, and database tools. Details.

Scott Palmer. Application Architect at Digital Rapids Corp. where he's been doing client-side desktop applications in Java for over ten years. He's recently been experimenting with Java 8 and JavaFX on the Raspberry Pi.

"Around here there is always more than one project on the go at any given time. The NetBeans Project Groups feature allows me to flip from one context to another easily. I can have the production code in one group for when I’m asked to reproduce an issue or make a patch. I can have the latest development code in another group, so I can easily flip back to working on the new features."

Favorite features: Project groups, version control aware change markers, support for GUI design, Gradle plugin, and editor hints. Details.

Mark Wilmoth. Extreme NetBeans IDE tester and Java programming enthusiast. Studied software engineering at the University of Missouri in Kansas City. In his research to painlessly assemble a GUI for a project, he downloaded Eclipse, IntelliJ, and NetBeans. He attempted to create a form with a button and label, it was not intuitive or obvious how he could position the controls within Eclipse or IntelliJ, but NetBeans was intuitive and simple.

"The NetBeans GUI Builder is simple and it works. It has a Palette from where I can drag and drop a component onto a Swing panel. I can then double click on the component and the most common type of event listener and empty handler are generated for the component."

Favorite features: GUI Builder, automatic imports, automatic code formatting, Git and Mercurial tools, NetBeans editor, and the refactoring tools. Details.

Lou Dasaro. Chicago-based software developer and NetCAT's JavaFX tribe leader testing NetBeans IDE 8. He's been developing software applications for over twenty years, in recent years using NetBeans IDE. He is also the organizer of the Chicago JavaFX User Group.

"The tight Integration of NetBeans with the JavaFX Scene Builder was really the selling point for me to begin using NetBeans/JavaFX two years ago. I also use NetBeans and JavaFX Scene Builder to prototype in design sessions with users."

Favorite features: Scene Builder integration, database integration, NetBeans Hibernate wizards, dark look & feel support, and the NetBeans/JavaFX community. Details.

David Heffelfinger. Chief Technology Officer of Ensode Technology, LLC, a software consulting firm based in the greater Washington DC area. He has been architecting, designing and developing software professionally since 1995 and has been using Java as his primary programming language since 1996.

"I work as a consultant for different customers, and not all of them have adopted NetBeans IDE as their standard IDE. However, I’ve converted more than a few to NetBeans IDE by showing them the JPA code generation feature alone."

Favorite features: distraction free mode, JPA code generation, PrimeFaces integration, Maven, and Java EE application server integration. Details.

Markus Eisele. Principal technology consultant working for msg systems ag in Germany. He is a software architect, developer, and consultant, while he also writes for IT magazines. Markus joined msg in 2002 and has been a member of the Center of Competence IT-Architecture for nine years.

"NetBeans is the number one IDE in terms of having the latest and greatest in Java EE specification support. It is the only IDE moving close enough to individual specifications and delivering relevant releases and tools that are synchronized with the reference implementation GlassFish."

Favorite features: Java EE7 tools, PrimeFaces integration, speed and quality assurance approach, Maven, straightforward project setup, standards-based, and Oracle product support. Details.

Josh Juneau. Application developer and technical writer.  He develops primarily Java EE and desktop applications, also interfacing with other languages, such as Jython and Groovy. He has written books on Java, and Java EE, always covering some NetBeans IDE features within the books.

"I am constantly creating new entity classes to work with databases.  Using the NetBeans 'Entity Classes from Database' wizard allows me to select one or more database tables and the entity classes for those tables are then automatically generated.  NetBeans also provides the option to generate named query annotations for persistent fields. This feature alone is a significant time saver."

Favorite features: expression language support, version control tool, Chrome integration, Maven tools, and "Entity Classes from Database" wizard. Details.

Mark Stephens. Systems architect at IDRsolutions, where extensive use is made of NetBeans IDE in the development of the IDRsolutions Java PDF library and PDF to HTML5 and SVG  converters.

"The support for Mercurial is first-rate. I have added the commands as shortcuts on my toolbar so I can easily review and submit changes. It will even spot if I copy a class and show me the changes with the copied file on first commit. That is pretty neat!"

Favorite features: Mercurial, support for multiple projects, context, clean interface, and the start page. Details.

Ciprian Turcu. Ciprian Turcu is a 26 year old Web designer & Web Developer from Romania. He builds themes on themeforest, the marketplace for premium website templates. He discovered NetBeans IDE some time ago and he says that he instantly knew "it was magical" from the moment he started using it.

"I like to keep things clean and organized and the fact that NetBeans IDE formats JS, CSS, LESS, PHP, HTML, HTML5 and is CSS3 compatible, and it does this no matter what the main file type is, i.e., if I have some JS in an HTML file, or some HTML in a PHP file, it just knows, and makes everything look great, like magic."

Favorite features: Git, code formatting, coloring, highlighting, errors, finding stuff is extremely useful and easy, and code completion. Details.


Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.

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