Have you ever thought about taking a vacation from your IDE?
Recently, RebelLabs published a report, Getting started with IntelliJ IDEA as an Eclipse User, which among other things also gives users of one IDE an opportunity to test another IDE more easily based on some shortcuts and tips we provided. I wish that there was some guide like this for Java 8 with IDEs, because when it came out, I wanted to start using it right away with Eclipse….
However, it took me 4 days after Java 8 release to find a blog post about the topic, which in turn refers to another message, which then points to a Wiki page that describes Eclipse’s support for Java 8. ) that refers to a message on the JDT mailing list which in turn refers to a Wiki page where a how to for Eclipse Java 8 support is described.
In the same time it took me to find all these resources, I was downloading Netbeans in parallel with Java 8 support out of the box, which came out at the same time as Java 8. Just as IntelliJ IDEA almost instantaneously made a release.
Eclipse, I love you, but you’re somehow missing the boat here! However, getting acquainted with Netbeans doesn’t happen right away, and there are plenty of things to look out for…
For example: looking up shortcuts is a must unless you want to be in your own private little hell, but at least there is an easy PDF to refer to from the Help menu in NetBeans. Most of them are substantially different compared to Eclipse, and I believe they lean more towards the IntelliJ shortcut style. Perhaps IntelliJ and NetBeans are very similar and Eclipse is the black sheep of the gang.
The same counts for functionality: in Eclipse, a lot has to be added as a plugin (think servers, UI design tools, code inspection) but, just like with IntelliJ, Netbeans has a lot of them out of the box.
Here are 6 more differences I discovered between Eclipse and NetBeans, in case you wanted to know:
Automatic imports – Imports are usually not done automatically, it requires Alt+Enter or import fix ( Alt+Shift+I )
Build automatically – Eclipses auto-building behind the scenes is really great. In Netbeans, I have error signs on class files which do not have errors, but that’s only detected upon opening the class file.
Different views – It took me a while to figure out how to convert the package list view to a tree view (once I got really fed up with the list view, I went through all settings and options only to find out on Google it’s hidden in a right-click menu in the Projects view, and the Files view doesn’t have the option!)
Autocompletion – Sometimes I get no autocompletion on XSDs or wrong hints and autocomplete proposals. Maybe I just have to get used to these?
Different buttons – Completion overwrite/completion insert are two different buttons? This is hard to get used to if you come from default overwrite. (But the overwrite doesn’t seems to work)
Refactoring methods – It appears that the refactoring of methods in the way I usually do it in Eclipse is a bit cumbersome. In Eclipse, you can change the method signature just by changing the signature on the places it’s called. With NetBeans, this only comes with the proposition of creating a new method with that different signature.
So far, those are the weirdest things I’ve come in contact with, which aren’t that bad. And, apart from the CTRL+Zing a lot more than usual, I find it pretty OK to code in Netbeans.
But yes, for all those old Java EE 6 projects that I have at work, I remain using Eclipse with pleasure, mainly thanks to the many plugins I’m used to. At the same time, I could have just as well followed the instructions on that Wiki page, but I thought hey, let’s give NetBeans another chance. Maybe I’ll become an IDE hopper–but for this purpose it would be great if the default shortcuts in IDEs were equal!
Leave me some tips in the comments section if you have any, or ping me on Twitter @redlabbe.