Sunday, 31 January 2010

Will Oracle really make NetBeans the BEST IDE for Java

Not yet!!! But according to their webcast they want to make NetBeans the best Java IDE. This is a statement not to be taken lightly. Oracle are now investing in three IDEs which are all established in different ways. JDeveloper is Oracle's IDE of choice, I am currently using it in my current project as I am developing for Oracle WebCenter. Oracle is also a strategic developer and board member of the Eclipse foundation. I do not understand what exactly is a strategic developer but I know that JDeveloper is their strategic IDE. Now, introducing NetBeans, Oracle has inherited NetBeans as part of Sun acquisitions (and a ton of products and services). Until now, Oracle has never made any plug-ins for the NetBeans platform but now they promise to make it the best IDE for Java, how will they make that happen?

I am a NetBeans evangelist and as the rest of the community, it was good news to actually know where it stands in the "Oracle" vision. So Oracle will never drop JDeveloper therefore the real fight is between Eclipse and NetBeans (as it always has been). In the first step of making NetBeans the best IDE, Oracle shold immediately start porting all their Eclipse plug-ins to NetBeans. Eclipse has strength in its alliance which also includes IBM (fierce rival to Oracle). Something has to give and Eclipse will not never close shop because Oracle has left them which is not as worse as lack of investment in the NetBeans community. It would also be a foolish decision to give NetBeans to the Apache Foundation (no disrespect here but it seems that public funds do not grow on trees).

There is something funny about Oracle "choice" statement. Did anybody tried to develop for WebCenter using NetBeans or Eclipse? That's a nightmare!!! There is no choice given, they literally forced us to use JDeveloper (Do you require any Oracle support?) in our company which is the largest in its field in Europe (I am avoiding to mention the company name but you should get it from my twitter stream).

Eclipse and NetBeans are direct competitors with Eclipse being the de facto IDE for Java, dropping Eclipse support would close doors to millions of developers and dropping NetBeans will disaster for many paying customers (Sun's partners).  I am not sure what is going to happen in the NetBeans/ Eclipse and JDeveloper saga but something has to give.

Let me know what you think.


  1. Given oracle's record on jdeveloper, things might even get worse on the netbeans frontier.

    We have seen examples of Oracle acquiring companies and projects in the past and the delta (new features and quality) on every new version is less and less...

    I am a big fan of eclipse. having not used netbeans for a loong time, I think having a good competitor on that is up to the task is always a good, that means although I am not using netbeans, netbeans help keep eclipse on a healty evolution phase to keep up with the competition.

    What I would wish, is oracle leave netbeans alone and step back like IBM in eclipse case.

    As for the jdeveloper, I had to use it only once and I (errr!) hated it. it fells like in 1990's while using jdeveloper.

    Hasan Ceylan

  2. I 'm still using JDeveloper because of work but today it was quite useful in generating DB diagrams (is there any surprises there?) but I do not find it user friendly. There is disturbing claim by Oracle (pre-Sun) that they had the largest developer community. I am not sure where they got that from but I am sure that now this claim is more than true due to acquiring Sun. I really do not think NetBeans will be alive in the next 3 years if it is third after jdeveloper -> eclipse -> netbeans.

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  10. It's not Oracle who makes the effort to do that. It's the NetBeans community. If NetBeans becomes too good, Oracle will totally f@ck this up by making it a commercial IDE or merging it with JDeveloper somehow (we can see plenty of examples where Oracle did such thing with other ex-Sun's products, which in the beginning were all free and open source), which will lead to forking the project. Oracle is too commercial (ok, this is obviously the main purpose of a company - making money and milking the customer) compared to Sun, who started many free open source projects. Some of them died (because of a ceased interest and/or development) but others continued to exist and improve.

    I really love NetBeans. Working with databases is a child's play and even if you don't know a thing about NetBeans it will take you 1-2 minutes to get a SQLite DB or Derby DB up and running and playing with some Java code along with it. The profiling tools are superb. I also like the debugger and its behaviour.

    When it comes to variety of supported languages, Eclipse comes forward under the spotlight. I'm still missing some neat Python plug-in that adds not only syntax highlighting and auto-complete but also debugging and more.

    At the end it's all up to Oracle's greed. NetBeans won't die because it's a too good IDE. If it will continue to exist as Oracle's property and under the same name - that's an entirely different topic. :)


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  12. Oracle has left them which is not as worse as lack of investment in the NetBeans community

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