James Selvakumar’s Blog

September 21, 2007

The tale of two IDE’s (in my heart :-)

Filed under: general,java,netbeans — James @ 2:18 pm
Tags: , , ,

I felt really sad today.
Yes today i packed up a companion who served me faithfully for nearly 3 years.
This friend of mine was with me helping me to hone my programming skills.
When i’m coding i use to do mistakes often and this friend of mine use to point out me my syntax errors.

When i want to rename a poorly named variable which is used across many classes, this friend of mine was always willing to help me with refactoring.
And i’m a lazy breed who don’t want to use mouse often but like to use keyboard shortcuts whereever possible.
And my friend was one of the best in offering me those tools to navigate very quickly across the codes which i work on.

And i never need to worry whether i would loose my source code because this friend use to offer me tools to integrate very nicely with my favourite (???) source control system, visual source safe (arghhh!!!, blame my company for making it my only option).

But sometimes i use to get annoyed with him.
I never liked the idea of opening a new window to open and view different projects. He came back to me and said why not u create modules for projects which can be viewed in the same window. I replied him that what if i want to view two completely independent projects at the same time in one window?

I use to complain to him that i don’t like building jars on my own, as i’m too lazy to do it.
I explained to him that nothing is more difficult in this world than building swing apps by hand!!! (Trust me, i really really hate the concept of developing gui by hand coding)
I told him that i never want to build web apps with him.

All said, but overall, this friend was really very good in whatever he offered. The good things offered by him outweighed the other things i missed.

People in this world call this friend as IntelliJ IDEA.

I had one more friend who was very good at building web apps.
I worked with him when his age was 4.1.
I liked him for a very first reason that he was from a company which developed my favourite programming language.
I liked his concept of arranging projects in one single window without a need to open many windows for each project
But this friend’s coding support was much inferior when compared to my friend IDEA.
I used him occasionally for hobby web projects.
He is called fondly as NetBeans by everyone.

In the meanwhile i came to know that a guy called Eclipse is rocking this world with his priceless offerings.
I evaluated him and found him to be quite useful but i felt that i don’t need him as i had a loyal friend in IDEA.
Who knows? This friend might have been very useful to me if i didn’t have IDEA.

Though i had a very good tool for coding in IDEA, i was still struggling to develop quality apps in swing with him.
Once my boss asked me, “James, would you be bothered if we choose some other language to develop our user interfaces?. They look really bad. Java might be a great language, but i think it’s pretty poor to develop user interfaces.”
This really stirred my heart as i didn’t want anyone to comment about my favourite language’s capabilities.
That started my pursuit for visual studio like gui builders for java.

Suddenly i found that this old friend of mine, NetBeans, was creating some news in the web about his gui development skills.
Seriously i doubted his capabilities because i have used him before. But since i was pushed to a great extent in my company, i was forced to check what NetBeans has to offer for me.

Whoops!!! That’s marvellous. I couldn’t believe that NetBeans can be used to design swing apps visually similar to visual studio. Since i badly needed it because of the pressure, i had to go for it as i had no other good choice in the horizon.
I really liked the gui building abilities of NetBeans. He has grown a lot!. Yes his age is 5.0 now.

From then onwards i became a fan of NetBeans and started to follow it’s progress.
Later i found that he did not just offer gui builder but lot of other good utilities like profiler too.
But still i found the coding portion of NetBeans can come nowhere near my friend IDEA. IDEA was a master there.

Later there was huge rivalry between IDEA and NetBeans in my mind (atleast!!) to become my favourite ide.
IDEA was still leading though. But NetBeans gave a tough fight to my friend IDEA when he was 5.5.1 years old.
I was slowly moving away from swing towards Java EE and NetBeans caught me at the right time with it’s superior Java EE support.
My friend IDEA had to play a catch up game here.

With all these goodies, (and freebies as well!!) NetBeans almost caught me totally to become my favourite IDE. I started to move away slowly from IDEA. My interactions with him started to minimize and i started depending on NetBeans more and more.

But still at my heart i felt that NetBeans can come nowhere near IDEA when it comes to pure coding. IDEA was so wonderful there.
But this cunning NetBeans somehow found that i was not loving him wholeheartedly and i’m still showing partiality to him.
He started working slowly to improve him on his weakness. I didn’t observe this zeal inside this fellow to win me fully.

But one fine day when i was surfing the net, i found suddenly that everybody was speaking about how well NetBeans has transformed.
I thought, what is this guy doing? Everybody is talking about him!.
Later i found that NetBeans has almost changed the portion in him which everyone disliked, the editor.
I said, “Fine, let me evaluate how good is this fellow compared to my old friend IDEA”.
IDEA is already very sick in my machine, because i haven’t met him for a long long time.

Now NetBeans is almost 6 years old and when i evaluated him, i couldn’t believe my eyes!!!.
Stupendous effort. This guy is really zealous in what he is doing. He read my mind correctly and found quickly that i still had a soft heart towards IDEA. I was really amazed at the improved code editing offerings from him. That’s really very cool. Add to that the tons of other goodies which you can read anywhere on the web.

Filled with joy i returned to my home and found that IDEA was seriously ill. He longed for my love and care but i almost forgot him because of NetBeans.
Shortly to my shock, IDEA died on my machine today. (I uninstalled it 🙂
With tears in my eyes i said good bye to a very faithful friend who served his very best till his last breath on my machine. Hats off to IDEA!

And now to the end, “NetBeans has become really the only IDE i need”. It’s not surprising that the motto for NetBeans 6.0 reads “The only IDE you need”. I feel personally that this guy speaks what he lives. I feel really proud to have a friend like NetBeans.

Updated on March 22, 2008:

Though I liked NetBeans 6.0 very much, because of it’s superior code editing capabilities when compared to it’s previous versions, I started feeling that it was slowing down as my projects started to grow.

And a lazy guy I am, I have a tendency to keep more projects opened in the IDE. But this terribly slowed down the startup speed. I was “forced” by NetBeans to close my projects and open it only when needed. I didn’t like this much.

Also, whenever an IDE “update” was in process, I couldn’t do any work at all, till the update process was completed. And this fella started throwing some minor errors here and there. I warned NetBeans that I’m not satisfied with this.

As I started working with large java files, code completion also got slower. And this fella had some allergy in handling jsp files as well. Code completion was terribly slow for jsp files.

I almost thought of returning to my other old friend Eclipse. I tried him recently when he was 3.3 years old, and found him very very impressive. I have narrated about that here. That fella was very very good in code completion.

As I was pondering this, this sweet guy NetBeans came out with some surprise. What I always like about NetBeans is somehow he sniffs what is going through my mind and takes me by surprise. That’s what he did exactly. I’ve narrated about my latest impressions with NetBeans here and here. I’ve started loving this fella more and more as he grows.

Soon NetBeans will be 6.1 years old and I hope people start using him more and more. Even if you miss something in this fellow now, I can promise, from my experience that he will surely read your mind correctly and will make you happy by delivering exactly what you need.

Have you tried him recently? If no, why not today.


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