NetBeans IDE 6.9 arrives
Approximately six months after the last major version, the NetBeans development team has released version 6.9 of the open source development environment. The release includes a new JavaFX Composer – a visual layout tool for GUI applications generated using JavaFX – that's comparable to Swing GUI builder (Matisse) for Java applications. It can be used to write, edit and test Rich Internet Applications (RIA) built using Oracle's JavaFX and to bind components to different data types (such as web services). The new version of NetBeans supports the latest JavaFX 1.3 introduced by the JavaFX Composer.
Oracle's acquisition of Sun Microsystems means that Oracle is now responsible for development of the open source IDE. Oracle already has JDeveloper so it is debatable whether Oracle will continue to support both of these development environments in the long term. The NetBeans IDE is, after Eclipse, by far the most widely used Java development environment. It has, according to the majority of surveys, a market penetration of significantly more than 10% and growing, albeit slowly.
Of the many other new features, in NetBeans 6.9 OSGi framework interoperability stands out. OSGi integration allows OSGi bundles generated using the Ant or Maven build tools to be integrated into NetBeans applications. Additionally, full support for the Eclipse Equinox and Apache Felix OSGi implementations is now included. Other important changes for Java developers include support for version 3.0 of the popular Spring application framework, implementation of the Contexts and Dependency Injection standard (JSR 299), the ability to jump to overwritten methods in the editor and rename refactoring in the CSS editor.
NetBeans is, of course not simply a tool just for Java developers – bundles for C/C++, Ruby and PHP developers are available. These have in part been updated to the key web frameworks (Rails, Zend) for the programming languages. There are also pre-configured packages for Java, Java SE and JavaFX developers. All versions are available as free downloads for Windows, Linux, Solaris and Mac OS X or as an operating system-independent edition. NetBeans is dual licensed under the Common Development and Distribution Licence (CDDL) v1.0 and the GNU General Public Licence (GPL).