Interview with Emilian Bold, long-term NetBeans community member

“I hope to make CoolBeans more polished than NetBeans with native notifications and retina icons”

Gabriela Motroc
Emilian Bold

CoolBeans is an IDE distribution which promises to package the best there is in the Apache NetBeans ecosystem, polish it, fix minor annoyances and serve them to developers in a clean bundle. We talked to Emilian Bold, long-term NetBeans community member about this project and why Java developers will find it useful.

“CoolBeans is for everybody”

JAXener: What is CoolBeans and how does it complement the NetBeans ecosystem?

Emilian Bold: CoolBeans is an user-oriented IDE distribution based on Apache NetBeans and the NetBeans plugin ecosystem. It focuses on being more modern and providing better integration with the operating system while also being more secure. It comes with everything you need to get to work (or to study) right away: there’s an installer and a bundled JDK.

Interesting that you asked how CoolBeans complements the NetBeans ecosystem. The bundled JDK is something Apache NetBeans won’t be able to do soon so it’s good to have a complete package available. The CoolBeans error reporter is also much better and users are able to send their problems with a single click of a button. Of course, these problems will be reported upstream to NetBeans.

JAXenter: PHP, standard Java and Java EE are included out of the box. Are there plans to add other languages to the list? 

Emilian Bold: There are no immediate plans for new languages compared to NetBeans. Sometime next year CoolBeans will include the C/C++ modules. One language I might consider including is TypeScript, there is a great plugin made by Everlaw.

The bundled JDK is something Apache NetBeans won’t be able to do soon so it’s good to have a complete package available. 

JAXenter: How does CoolBeans work? 

Emilian Bold: CoolBeans doesn’t change the existing workflow of Java, JavaEE or PHP developers. Just install and start the IDE. Then open your existing NetBeans projects or create a new project for Java, JavaEE or PHP and start coding!

JAXenter: Who should use CoolBeans? What are its main benefits?

Emilian Bold: CoolBeans is for everybody. If you want to develop something with Java, JavaEE or PHP, you can use CoolBeans. I believe it might appeal more to people that don’t have the time or don’t like to tinker that much. CoolBeans is the full package: you install it and you are done. I also hope to make it more polished than NetBeans with native notifications and retina icons.

Somewhat paradoxically, people that want to help Apache NetBeans could more easily just report issues with the CoolBeans error reporter: just press ‘Submit Data’ and you are done. It’s only 10 seconds for the user but it gives valuable real-world scenarios and issues to the NetBeans developers.

JAXenter: In a recent blog post, you mentioned that CoolBeans is compatible with Apache NetBeans 10 but since this is just the initial release, there’s a lot of work ahead. What are the short-term plans for CoolBeans?

Emilian Bold: I would like to integrate some of the separate projects I have been working on into CoolBeans.

I did NBnotify a while back for native notifications. Users like to see the same operating system notifications for IDE messages and to know when their build finished. Next, I might look into retina icons (I wrote an article on JAXenter about it) and nimbler Maven search.

Then, there’s of course, building the plugins and preparing the infrastructure for all this.

SEE ALSO: NetBeans IDE: Features, tips & future

JAXenter: What is the Plugin Portal all about? How does it differ from the older NetBeans plugin portal?

Emilian Bold: The older Plugin Portal allowed authors to submit plugin binaries and there was an optional manual review process (of the binary) in order to get into the official update center that’s visible in the IDE. I always thought that Linux distributions do this better. They take ownership of their packages and build them directly!

This is what I want to do for the open-source NetBeans plugins: have them in a ports tree, get the source code and build them. Then users know that the binary they are getting was centrally built and there is a known corresponding source code for it. This should also make it easier to maintain plugin compatibility across IDE versions.

JAXenter: You also mentioned that more plugins will be added in the future. Could you give us an example?

Emilian Bold: I have a list of over 100 modules to go through but I’ll start with the most popular: the Darcula look and feel module, Gaurav Gupta’s Jeddict, Attila Kelemen’s Gradle support, Christian Lenz’s js-css-minify-compress and Benno Markiewicz’s many plugins (the Eclipse code formatter, Git toolbar, etc).

I hope people find CoolBeans useful. For any questions, they can email me at [email protected] or get in touch via Twitter.

Thank you!

Gabriela Motroc
Gabriela Motroc was editor of and JAX Magazine. Before working at Software & Support Media Group, she studied International Communication Management at the Hague University of Applied Sciences.

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