Tim Bray is an executive with Sun who has had a distinguished career, co-writing the original XML spec, among other things. He recently blogged about negative sentiments that certain industry observers and Sun competitors have expressed towards NetBeans:
It hasn't escaped the Prague gang's attention that the management of IBM and Nokia and some other companies, as well as lots of analysts and prognosticators, and apparently all of ZDNet, thinks NetBeans ought to dry up and go away; that the Java world really needs One Big IDE. I mean, that's good enough for Microsoft developers, why shouldn't it be good enough for Java?
So we kicked that around a bit, and surprising though it may be to some, sometimes the analysts and executives and journalist can, believe it or not, be wrong. Remember how the Japanese were going to crush the IT world with fifth-generation Prolog engines, and NT was going to crush Unix, and Blackbird was going to crush the Web?
I don't how this story will end, but in my opinion NetBeans has become a f***ing excellent piece of software, and the world needs more of those, not fewer.
I personally think it's good that NetBeans exists as a viable alternative to Eclipse. I think that if Sun dropped NetBeans and joined Eclipse, it would not accelerate the ongoing improvement of the Eclipse IDE, simply because diversity and competition lead to innovation and highly-motivated development teams. So I think the status quo of multiple competing Java IDEs is healthy.
Anyhow, it's been my observation that members of the Eclipse foundation don't focus on beating other tool vendors. Eclipse was built to solve a problem: tools from the late 1990's were built on wildly different substrata and didn't integrate well; Eclipse provides a common base and runtime that allows Eclipse-based tools to cohabitate with each other and in some cases enhance other Eclipse-based tools. It's my understanding that NetBeans provides a similar value proposition to its verticals. GOOD FOR NETBEANS.
As an Eclipse user, I am happy when vendors like Nokia jump on the Eclipse bandwagon, because it means more smart people writing Eclipse-based code, reporting bugs, and finding new use cases that uncover limiting assumptions in the base platform. In short, the stronger the Eclipse community, the better the Eclipse platform, and a more productive me.
I am personally very happy with the Eclipse IDE - I use it every day for development. I haven't used NetBeans since several releases ago, so I can't comment on how it compares. If you're a Java developer, do you have a preference? If you've only tried one or the other, you can use the links below to download the current betas of each IDE:
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