Hundreds of attendees for Sun's fourth annual NetBeans Day in San Francisco will get a glimpse of the future of NetBeans today as Sun shows off the latest preview release of NetBeans 6.0. This year, NetBeans Day was included as part of CommunityOne, a free one-day conference devoted to community-based environments, technologies, and platforms.
NetBeans 6.0 sports a brand new source code editor that brings it up to par with the editor in the Eclipse IDE. Features like instant syntax error highlighting, smart code completion, navigation, templates, surround-with, and more will greatly increase programmer productivity.
Another big change in NB6 is the way it is packaged and downloaded. Now users will have the choice of a small (21M) IDE download for Java SE programming, a medium sized download that adds Web, Java EE, and Java ME support, and a large download that includes everything including UML, SOA, and Ruby support. Once you download one of these three base packages, you can customize the actual install by leaving out certain components (for example, the Sun Java Application Server). In addition, a newly redesigned Plugin Manager will let you download any pieces you didn't get in the initial install, or update the ones you have.
Other features of NB6 include:
- An integrated profiler (you can even attach to and profile Eclipse applications if you like)
- Rapid application development using Beans Binding (JSR295), the Java Persistence API, and the Swing Application Framework (JSR296)
- Visual Web development for drag-n-drop Ajax enabled JSF applications
- Graphical WSDL and XSLT editors
- A new Visual Library API for data visualization
- ...and much more
Sun's approach to NetBeans is to use it as a vehicle to make tooling available for all new technology it is developing, *at the same time* as that technology. So, for example, JRuby and Ruby IDE tools are being created hand-in-hand, sometimes by the same people. The same goes for the Beans Binding, Swing Application Frameworks, and Matisse, which have significant crossover with the Swing team. Sun figures that the best technology is worthless if nobody can use it, so they want to make it accessible from day one. This is similar in some ways to Microsoft's strategy of providing first class tooling in Visual Studio, although VS is commercial while NB is free and open source.
The production version is of NetBeans 6.0 scheduled in November, but the Preview works well and is available now. For more information see the NetBeans IDE 6.0 Preview (M9) Information page and the New and Noteworthy page.