NetBeans 6.1 is a lot better than I thought

This week I’m in New Haven, CT, teaching a class that combines UML and Java Web Services (an odd combination to be sure).  The client wanted to use NetBeans as their primary IDE, and I always try to accommodate that if I can.

My last exposure to NetBeans was back in version 5.5, I think, when a couple of friends suggested I give it a whirl.  I’ve been an Eclipse user since version 1, so I’m very comfortable with that environment.  As part of giving a presentation at my local Java User’s Group, I also got a license for IntelliJ’s IDEA, so I’ve been playing with that off an on.  When I don’t want to use a heavy IDE, I generally stick with UltraEdit, which does a decent job, even with Groovy code.

Nevertheless, I downloaded and installed NetBeans 6.1.  I have to say that I’ve been very pleasantly surprised by the editor.  The UML support is surprisingly good, including the capability to generate sequency diagrams from code.  But its JAX-WS and JAXB support has been outstanding.  I’ve been using them with the embedded Glassfish server and really enjoyed it.

I’m in a bit of a rush (have to get back to class) or I’d say more.  What I can say, though, is that if the NetBeans group really does deliver on Groovy and Grails support in NB 6.5, as promised, I’m definitely going to try it.  I’m still mostly an Eclipse person (and the commercial MyEclipse tool as well).  I know it’s practically heresey to say so these days, but I’m still finding that IntelliJ slows me down a lot more than it speeds me up.  But this single week with NetBeans has been a revelation.  I can only hope the Groovy and Grails support when it comes out in October is as good as the rest of the IDE.

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