Guys, Stop Telling me NetBeans is Cooler!

I had another look at NetBeans 5.5, incl. the Enterprise and Visual Web Packs, as some comments suggested. Although, the comparison of a full-blown NetBeans with a standard Eclipse WTP is a bit unfair, I don’t use e.g. myEclipse, I tried to compare apples and oranges.

Well, for short: if you worked with Eclipse for some time you feel like driving your car with an active emergency brake. Most annoying, the Netbeans IDE stops for seconds from time to time until the code you typed in is shown (this never happened with Eclipse used on the same machine). Additionally, the “full-blown” doesn’t really help to complement what you may miss with Eclipse in daily business.

Ok, speed is always debatable. So, I also had a deeper look at that functionality where I was missing usability in Eclipse: JSF development tools in context to Maven 2, JSF RI 1.2, Facelets and Woodstock (similar to Trinidad or Tomahawk, but a little bit cooler in design). To be honest, Woodstock let me start with NetBeans to get back a kind of visual JSF design I “lost” with the Studio Creator some months ago when we changed to Trinidad. To keep the AppServer integration simple GlassFish V2 was used for deployment.

Well, at a first glance you may think that NetBeans, Glassfish and Sun frameworks, like Facelets and Woodstock, are well integrated. Every introduction to something new references NetBeans for development and Glassfish for deployment. But, that isn’t true. It’s more a kind of patch rug. In the end there was nothing to act as a counterbalance for the “low speed coding” experience, even using “the Sun tools”.

If NetBeans can’t deliver a better support for faster development and is slower in usage, I can’t discover real advantages. For me both, Eclipse and NetBeans, are similar in their limitations, but not in their unique selling points. Whereas I still try to understand where Sun defines it for their products, besides to be a reference implementation in most cases.

Maybe interesting to all NetBeans preferers: The German Java Magazine did a Reader’s Choice these days:

  1. Eclipse 63.3%
  2. NetBeans 8.5%
  3. IntelliJ IDEA 7.9%

It’s a little bit like the market share of the Opera Browser ;-).

Meanwhile, Exadel and JBoss/Red Hat opensourced Exadel Studio Pro. So, I get a chance to compare apples to apples in the near future ;-).

A first test allowed me to mix a previously created Maven 2 project with an Exadel JSF “injection”, so that I can use the Maven folder structure and the JSF tag support in parallel. This was not possible in Netbeans :-(. Deployment to Glassfish from inside the IDE for a Maven-based project doesn’t work in both IDEs, although remote debugging works pretty nice for both.

Remarkable: The Woodstock taglib has a wrong structure, so that the original file can’t be used to extend Exadels tag palette. The Facelets taglib, that allows to reference Woodstock tags, had similar problems some days ago. Meanwhile you can get a valid one from a users blog.

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