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Apache NetBeans 11.3: JDK 14 preview features & dark mode

Sarah Schlothauer
© Shutterstock / bajinda

Apache NetBeans has come a long way since its creation as a student project back in 1996. Now, the third release according to the new release cycle has arrived. Apache NetBeans 11.3 introduces new Java enhancements that support JDK 14, new visual themes and support for dark mode, improvements for HiDPI displays, and more.

The third release of the new Apache NetBeans release cycle has arrived. Version 11.3 includes a number of changes for the Java Editor, some improvements, code cleanup, library updates, and new editor features.

Users should be aware that the current version of NetBeans with LTS support is 11.0. The new features in 11.3 have not been extensively tested and will require user feedback before the next release.

NetBeans is an open source, cross-platform integrated development environment, tooling platform, and application framework for Java. Since April 2019, it has been a Top-Level Project under the Apache Foundation. It started its long history as a Java IDE student project in 1996. Since then, it has been endorsed by the creator of Java and grown to new heights.

SEE ALSO: How To Securely Program in Java in 2020

v11.3 highlights

Let’s review some of the new features and changes.

Java enhancements

A number of enhancements in 11.3 support JDK 14. Users can preview upcoming features by setting the Java compiler --enable-preview flag. In order to use features from JDK 14, you must run Apache NetBeans 11.3 on JDK 14.

In addition, Apache NetBeans now supports Java EE. However, Jakarta EE is not yet supported but is currently targeted to arrive in 12.0.

JSF 2.3 is also supported in Apache NetBeans 11.3. Users can now inject JSF artifacts.

New looks

Oracle donated dark look support to Apache. Choose between Dark Metal and Dark Nimbus for an experience that’s easy on the eyes and quite stylish.


New Dark Nimbus look. Source.

A new look created by Karl Tauber from FormDev Software GmbH is also now integrated into NetBeans. FlatLaf is a flat, clean, simple look that comes with Light, Dark, IntelliJ, and Darcula themes.

11.3 focuses on improved appearances. Windows users with HiDPI displays will receive some visual improvements and fixed issues. Apache NetBeans improves the GUI font size, component icons size, and borders that take advantage of improved HiDPI scaling.

Gradle & Maven upgrades

  • Gradle Tooling API upgraded to 6.0
  • NetBeans now recognizes Gradle projects based in Kotlin
  • Support added for Custom Gradle Home, and Gradle Composite Projects
  • Gradle projects can be forcibly reloaded

A new option arrives in Maven. Users can now set the default JDK under the Options window.

SEE ALSO: Testing Java microservices applications

Miscellaneous improvements

11.3 gets a head start on a little spring cleaning. It corrects compiler warnings in Bootstrap project concerning deprecation, rawtypes, and unchecked.

A few libraries, such as Groovy, junit, and GraalVM have been updated to a newer version. Of course, 11.3 includes a number of bug fixes.

For a full list of 11.3 changes, view the Apache NetBeans 11.3 Wiki.

Download 11.3

Ready to upgrade? Visit the download page and follow the instructions to download from an Apache mirror. 11.3 requires an LTS release of the JDK (8, 11, or 14).

The Javadoc for 11.3 is available here.

Sarah Schlothauer

Sarah Schlothauer

All Posts by Sarah Schlothauer

Sarah Schlothauer is the editor for She received her Bachelor's degree from Monmouth University, West Long Branch, New Jersey. She currently lives in Frankfurt, Germany with her husband and cat where she enjoys reading, writing, and medieval reenactment. She is also the editor for Conditio Humana, an online magazine about ethics, AI, and technology.

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