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NetBeans 7.0 Plans Uncovered: NetBeans to Become an Online IDE

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I shouldn't be writing about this, because we were saving it as the big announcement for this year's JavaOne, but the information has already leaked: I've seen several NetBeans developers blogging about it - so there's no point in hiding it anymore... The next major release of NetBeans, which is planned for 2009, will be a complete rewrite - NetBeans is going to be provided as an online service and it's source code will be rewritten in a new programming language. But before I tell you which language it is, read the reasoning first.

Java is a great language but unfortunately it is not flexible enough for the new online web 2.0 world with widgets, mashups, RSS and semantic web - it can't handle the dynamic nature of new web 2.0 applications. Developers no longer want to download and install desktop applications - they are ALWAYS online and all their popular applications are integrated into the ONLY application they need - the web browser. Thus it makes perfect sense to provide an IDE in the web browser. To accomplish this task, there's only one language which works really well inside of the web browser - and can be used both on the server and on the client. Yes, NetBeans 7.0 will be rewritten in JavaScript! (Although we still plan to run the JavaScript engine on top of the JVM using the built-in Rhino engine).

NetBeans has always been about innovation. We believe that by using JavaScript, NetBeans can be more dynamic than ever. Parts of the IDE will run on the server and parts in the web browser - and Sun will provide NetBeans as an online service. For the price that you are used to: FREE. Of course Sun will still provide top-notch commercial support of the online product and we'll be rolling out different service plans shortly after the 7.0 release. We are still discussing whether to continue providing the sources of NetBeans (look how well have all the Google applications been accepted in the open source community without actually providing any source code). We're looking for feedback from the community - does the community actually care about source code of NetBeans or is the FREE price tag that everyone cares about?

We are also investigating the possibilities of running ads in the online version of NetBeans. By that we could make significant money on NetBeans - we could do even more NetBeans days globally with much better finger food. What the heck, we could even transport beer directly from the Czech Republic so that developers could taste some real beer during NetBeans days!

I've never been more excited about the future of NetBeans - we all know that the future is online in the web browser and NetBeans is extremely well positioned to take the online IDE market by storm!

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