UK university makes NetBeans educational

Builder: The BlueJ edition of the NetBeans IDE is designed to give students an introduction to a professional developer environment, without exposing them directly to more complicated systems such as Eclipse

Sun and the University of Kent on Wednesday launched a new version of the NetBeans developer environment aimed at students, and integrating an educational project called BlueJ.

The BlueJ edition of the NetBeans IDE is designed to give students an introduction to a full-featured, professional developer environment, without exposing them directly to more complicated systems such as Eclipse.

NetBeans IDE is a standards-based environment for building applications for the Java Platform, Standard Edition, Enterprise Edition and Micro edition. It's had more than 10 million downloads, according to Sun.

BlueJ was developed by the University of Kent and Australia's Deakin University, and is aimed at beginner programmers. It includes educational tools such as visualisation and interaction designed to make object-oriented concepts more accessible.

"I tried Eclipse but it is a nightmare for teachers to manage, and Eclipse is difficult to grasp for students who are new to programming," said Jason Morin, a maths and computer science instructor with Overland High School in Aurora, Colorado, in a statement.

He said NetBeans/BlueJ provided students with an effective transition to a professional IDE tool.