Five by five

The top 5 features of NetBeans IDE 8

Geertjan Wielenga

The Beta of NetBeans IDE 8 has now been released! Geertjan Wielenga spotlights some of the coolest bells and whistles.

The Beta of NetBeans IDE 8 has now been released. NetBeans IDE 8 is the culmination of a diverse development cycle that incorporates a range of popular technologies in one single development environment. Its primary driving force is the upcoming release of Java SE 8, Java SE Embedded 8, and Java ME 8. It’s of course no coincidence that its release number is also 8, since it provides the tooling for all these new Java technologies. Simultaneously, however, there are significant enhancements for the NetBeans IDE key features Maven, Java EE, and HTML5.

In short, the top 5 features of NetBeans IDE 8 are as follows:

1. Tools for Java 8 Technologies. Anyone interested in getting started with lambdas, method references, streams, and profiles in Java 8 can do so immediately by downloading NetBeans IDE 8. Java hints and code analyzers help you upgrade anonymous inner classes to lambdas, right across all your code bases, all in one go. Java hints in the Java editor let you quickly and intuitively switch from lambdas to method references, and back again. 

Moreover, Java SE Embedded support entails that you’re able to deploy, run, debug or profile Java SE applications on an embedded device, such as Raspberry PI, directly from NetBeans IDE. No new project type is needed for this, you can simply use the standard Java SE project type for this purpose.

2. Tools for Java EE Developers. The code generators for which NetBeans IDE is well known have been beefed up significantly. Where before you could create bits and pieces of code for various popular Java EE component libraries, you can now generate complete PrimeFaces applications, from scratch, including CRUD functionality and database connections.

Additionally, the key specifications of the Java EE 7 Platform now have new and enhanced tools, such as for working with JPA and CDI, as well as Facelets.

Let’s not forget to mention in this regard that Tomcat 8.0 and TomEE are now supported, too, with a new plugin for WildFly in the NetBeans Plugin Manager.

3. Tools for Maven. A key strength of NetBeans IDE, and a reason why many developers have started using it over the past years, is its out of the box support for Maven. No need to install a Maven plugin, since it’s a standard part of the IDE. No need to deal with IDE-specific files, since the POM provides the project structure.

And now, in NetBeans IDE 8.0, there are enhancements to the graph layouting, enabling you to visualize your POM in various ways, while also being able to graphically exclude dependencies from the POM file, without touching the XML.


Performance enhancements, as always, are part of the Maven improvements too.

4. Tools for JavaScript. Thanks to powerful new JavaScript libraries and frameworks over the years, JavaScript as a whole has become a lot more attractive for many developers. For some releases already, NetBeans IDE has been available as a pure frontend environment, that is, minus all the Java tools for which it is best known. This lightweight IDE, including Git versioning tools, provides a great environment for frontend devs. In particular, for users of AngularJS, Knockout, and Backbone, the IDE comes with deep editor tools, such as code completion and cross-artifact navigation.

In NetBeans IDE 8.0, there’s a very specific focus on AngularJS, since this is such a dominant JavaScript solution at the moment. From these controllers, you can navigate, via hyperlinks embedded in the JavaScript editor, to the related HTML views. And, as shown in this screenshot, you can use code completion inside the HTML editor to access controllers, and even the properties within the controllers, to help you accurately code the related artifacts in your AngularJS applications.

Also, remember that there’s no need to download the AngularJS Seed template, since it’s built into the NetBeans New Project wizard.

5. Tools for HTML5. JavaScript is a central component of the HTML5 Platform, a collective term for a range of tools and technologies used in frontend development. Popular supporting technologies are Grunt, a build tool, and Karma, a test runner framework. Both of these are now supported out of the box in NetBeans IDE 8.

Moreover, a plugin is available in the NetBeans Plugin Manager for Avatar.js, enabling you to create new Avatar.js projects and use the JavaScript editor and other tools for this newly open source JavaScript framework. The recently added support for PhoneGap/Cordova and deployment to Android has been upgraded, with new Android 4.4 WebKit debugging supported for Cordova 3.3+.

Whether you’re doing pure Java development, pure HTML5 development, or hybrid development across these two platforms, NetBeans IDE 8.0 has the latest tools for you to do so, together with a range of enhancements in its best of breed support for PHP and C/C++.

Try it out today! Simply click here:

Geertjan Wielenga
Geertjan is product manager of NetBeans IDE and lives in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. He blogs at

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