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During several years I’ve been a pretty happy Eclipse user, rarely feeling the need to use anything else. We know there are plugins for many many things, and a lot of development tools are Eclipse-based right now. The editor is awesome, and so are the refactoring tools. The support for web app development is also very nice. Eclipse supports a wide set of frameworks and technologies, and it’s not only aimed at Java development.
Why would someone even look at anything else, having such a great tool? Well, it turns out that our field is evolving really fast, and it’s very hard to follow this current pace, even for the most dedicated and passionate ones. Currently there are several technologies evolving very fast, and they are meaningful to a lot of enterprise developers. The rise of the JVM’s dynamic languages is crystal clear. Strong is also the growth of RESTFul web services. I’m personally very interested in both fields.
I’m currently using REST (lately with Jersey) for a lot of integrations between applications. The power it gives me is really nice, and I’m improving my developments each new month. I have also studied Groovy/Grails recently and really liked it. I wanna try JRuby on Rails sometime in the next weeks, to see what it offers and check how it compares to Grails. If you’re a Java enterprise developer, I’m sure you’re following the growth of these nitty things.
But where does Netbeans enter this talk? Well, Netbeans is doing a great job supporting these new technologies, and it’s way ahead of Eclipse in this field right now. Have you seen how easily you can develop RESTFul web services with Netbeans 6.1? Jersey support is great, very productive. The support for JRuby on Rails and Grails is also present, in a much more advanced state than Eclipse’s. Netbeans is doing a much better job than Eclipse regarding Web Services and JVM languages right now.
Swing development in Netbeans is very nice since version 5.0 (with the release of Matisse), and developing for mobile devices is also easier in Netbeans. Currently I don’t develop swing nor mobile applications, so this doesn’t really affect me.
However, I develop many RESTFul web services. And I wanna use more and more the JVM’s dynamic languages. Ignoring Netbeans is not a clever idea right now.
I still find Eclipse’s interface and editor much better than Netbeans’s. I also know a lot of Eclipse’s shortcuts and know very few in Netbeans. SWT is also faster than Swing, so Eclipse is faster than Netbeans. But considering what I said, I’m leaning towards the use of both IDEs at the same time. Since our machines are now much better equipped with RAM, I can have them open at the same time and also a couple of servers, with no memory shortage.
My Eclipse days are definitely not over, but now he’s gonna divide my attention with Netbeans 🙂 I hope I can become as productive with Netbeans as I am with Eclipse, even if it takes a few weeks. My first wish would be the Eclipse’s Quick Fix (Ctrl + 1) avaiable in Netbeans. Even without it, I’m sure my usage of Netbeans will certainly grow, and think this competition between the IDEs is very good for us. Let Eclipse Ganymede come!