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What is new in NetBeans 7

Check out the new features of this open source IDE

NetBeans is a free and open source IDE (Integrated Development Environment) and, along with Eclipse, it's one of the most known and used Java IDEs. This is due to the fact that they provide a range of useful and free tools for Java development, for instance:

• Source code editor that provides functionalities such as semantic coloring and highlighting as well as code completion;
• Integration with software compile and build tools;
• Code debugger and profiler;
• Assistant for code artifacts creation and refactoring;
• Visual editor for GUIs (Graphical User Interfaces) using Swing;
• Integration with database and Java EE application servers;
• Support for additional programming languages such as PHP, C/C++, etc.

Although the most recent version of NetBeans is 7.1, this article refers to new features that were introduced in version 7.0 of the IDE. Some of these new functionalities were highlighted on the NetBeans 7.0 release website (see Links):

• Support for the modifications in the Java programming language proposed by project Coin, brought by Java 7;
• A better integration with Java EE server WebLogic and with Oracle database, including editing and deployment of stored procedures;
• Support for GlassFish 3.1, including domain restart and enable/disable of deployed applications;
• Support for Maven 3, JUnit 4.8.2 (several improvements), HTML 5 editing and JSON formatter;
• New improved visual customizer for GridBagLayout;
• Enhancements to the Java Editor, including word wrap, etc.

The next section explains how to download and install NetBeans 7.1 (since it's the latest version)

Download and Install

The NetBeans 7.1 download can be done by visiting the NetBeans website (see Links) as you can see in Figure 1.


Figure 1.
NetBeans 7.1 download page.

Just like the previous versions, NetBeans 7.1 is available for download on different bundles: Java SE (only for desktop applications development), Java EE (includes also the development of enterprise applications, client-server), C/C++, PHP (for the development on such programming languages) and the full IDE. For this article, we downloaded and used the version Java EE (165 MB).

One of the new functionalities is the support for new features of Java 7. In order to try it, it is necessary to install JDK 7, and if the JDK7 installation is done before NetBeans, it is possible to link them in the setup from the beginning. In this way, we suggest to download the JDK 7 from the Oracle website (see Links) and execute the downloaded file, in order to unzip the development kit in a chosen folder of your computer.

In order to install NetBeans, we proceed by executing the installer and following the assistant instructions. By default, the full Java IDE is installed with GlassFish server only, yet it is possible to install Apache Tomcat server by clicking on the button Customize… on the assistant initial screen. Next, you can choose the folder where JDK 7 was previously installed, so the JDK and IDE will be linked since the installation.

You are now ready to try the new features. In follow-up articles, we will go over some of the new functionalities listed before.

Links
netbeans.org
IDE NetBeans website.
netbeans.org/community/releases/70/
Information about release 7.0 of NetBeans.
oracle.com/technetwork/java/javase/downloads/index.html
Download of the latest Java Development Kit at the Oracle website.



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