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23 May 2005

First impressions with Netbeans.

A long time ago Sun came out with an all-Java IDE. It was called Forte. I downloaded it and tried it on what was then a pretty fast machine: a 300 Mhz PII. The IDE was overly complex (typical of Sun), and was klunky-slow as well. So I dropped that notion and continued to use vi and tons of batch scripts.

Then I started using JBuilder, which was klunky-slow, but still usable. I could at least figure out how to get work done with it. So JBuilder has been the gold-standard for me when comparing other Java IDEs.

I tried Eclipse, but found I wasn't getting as much work done with it. Don't get me wrong, I know thousands of people who love Eclipse, and it probably is a really good tool, just not for me.

With some trepidation, I decided to give Netbeans 4.1 a try last week. The work on Tagfriendly had been languishing and I needed something to jumpstart me back into development. So I thought, hey, why don't I migrate the project over to Netbeans and give it a try.

So I did.

I am getting more work done faster.

The biggest thing has probably the Tomcat integration. I can go from coding a servlet to testing it mighty fast, much faster than I could when I used JBuilder. The Tomcat integration in JBuilder is (at best) tenuous. I never could get it working quite the way I wanted. But with Netbeans, this has been a breeze.

I'm going to stick it out and see if I have the same experience when I migrate the client over as well. My plan there is to more or less start from scratch, copying as much code as I can from the old project. We'll see how it goes.

So far, Netbeans 4.1 rates favorably, at least in my book.