Five Favorite NetBeans IDE features

Thinking about it earlier today, I have been using NetBeans before (or after actually) it was called NetBeans.  I say after, because I remember using Forte but it was called NetBeans before and after Forte.  To put that into some perspective, some years ago I was at a JavaOne (2002?) at a Meet the Forte Tools Experts session.  NetBeans has come along way since those days but I recall seeing a lot of promise which has been a reality for a long time now.

  1. The first thing I liked, and still like, about NetBeans was that it has a familiar look.  This may be because I was a long time Delphi and JBuilder user, both Borland IDEs, and NetBeans was, at least to some extent, inspired by Delphi's IDE style and functionality.  NetBeans feels natural to me and I think it is generally very approachable for new developers.
  2. Out-of-the-box functionality is my second reason for liking NetBeans.  I install the full version of NetBeans on OS X, Linux, and Windows and I am up and running very quickly.  I use Subversion, Git,  and Maven and I do a variety of work in Java and this stuff just works.  
    Native alongside "effectively-native" maven projects
    It's worth pointing out that Maven support in NetBeans is not an afterthought or something that coexists as a native project type.  I can modify my pom file from within NetBeans or do a command line build and the IDE is in synch with the project because NetBeans "knows maven."
  3. No workspaces.  This may be unsettling for users of some other IDE's but I tend to want to open and close individual projects on demand.  I am usually involved in a variety of development efforts and I may need to open a project for a quick look or modification.  I also don't like the configuration bloat and potential corruption that may go along with the concept of a workspace.
    Close project in NetBeans - Out-of-Sight
  4. Code completion, hints, searching (across projects), and code generation.  These four are the tip of the iceberg for me.  
    NetBeans Code Generation
    They are the first four "I-know-the-IDE-is-smarter-than-I" features that don't get in my way and are available at the touch of a hot-key.  One very current example is if you're moving or thinking of moving a project to Java 8, give NetBeans a look and you will quickly understand what I mean.  I have used other IDE's that have similar features but I find myself just using them in NetBeans with no tweaking or searching.
  5. Open source community.  NetBeans itself is open as is the community.  While many folks may use software as is and wait for updates and new features, NetBeans users can have an active role in the development process.  Bug reporting, feature requests, testing, and support are all very active and welcoming communities and continue to make for a better IDE.
Happy coding,
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