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Show HN: CoolBeans, an IDE distribution (coolbeans.xyz)
39 points by fierarul on Dec 25, 2018 | hide | past | favorite | 31 comments

I legit didn't know NetBeans still existed. I've been on IntelliJ for most of the last decade.

Any NetBeans users feel like explaining why they've stuck with it?

I use Netbeans for C/C++ development (shocking, I know). Originally I was using it as an Eclipse alternative at a Java gig. After moving into embedded dev I just decided to try and stick with it and see how it goes. It worked.


- Free, cross platform. Someday I'll shell out $300 for slick edit, but a free IDE is nice.

- Solid C++/Makefile code analysis. C++ has a notoriously difficult syntax, but Netbeans can handle it.

- support for git and svn to visualize diffs

- very configurable syntax coloring & highlighting, also a good dark theme (Darcula)

- many configurable keybindings

- not vim or emacs ;)


- can be a bit heavy/clunky

- there are some quirks that I've learned to work with, perhaps this could be said of any editor...

- on large codebases it will take some time to initially parse everything

- Java font rendering

- looks of disdain and confusion from other engineers

it's probably inertia that's kept me from moving to fancier editors, but overall Netbeans has been solid and I'm just as productive as the other guys & gals.

  > Cons:
  > [...]
  > - looks of disdain and confusion from other engineers
  > it's probably inertia that's kept me from moving to fancier editors, but overall Netbeans has been solid and I'm just as productive as the other guys & gals.

+1 this as a 'pro' rather.

Yes, of course, what's not to like about that confusion?

I couldn't find other IDEs that fulfill my need for remote C/C++ development (not just debugging). Maybe Eclipse has that feature as well, but the last time I tried it required me to install Java on the remote machine and start the server by myself, while in Netbeans everything works out of the box and it copies the server to the remote for you (using scp I think). Code analysis is superb, remote git/svn works, I get to browse the function call graph etc.

Then one time last year, VS Code was hyping, and I boarded the hype train. C/C++ seems to work... but not so well for my needs. There is no remote git, it uses your computer's compiler for parsing (I had it use WSL's gcc). Everytime I search for howtos of remote C for VS Code, all I see are answers where they ask you back, if you have git why aren't you developing on your computer? Well there's the in-house build system as well, which I don't think I can replicate well on my PC.

Too bad C/C++ is no longer an official shipped feature of Netbeans since Apache, but the installable plugin still works well so I have no complaints.

I worked at a place that had a large netbeans rich client platform app (phone reps used it to access customer data during calls, among other things), we used netbeans to develop it obviously.

I always liked netbeans, it was pretty solid, and a lot more performant than eclipse imo. Nowadays with everyone moving to "language server" support, the barrier to implementing the typical IDE stuff is a lot lower (code completion ie intellisense, error highlighting, etc) This is a good thing.

I like the simplicity of it.

It has strong Maven-support, does code completion, suggests changes to my code, accelerates my typing with snippets and supports many common refactorings. I don't know how the quality of those features stack up against other IDEs. Maybe I'm missing out but I do feel that they are pretty good.

I give IntelliJ and Eclipse a test-drive from time to time but usually uninstall them within the hour.

Having said that NetBeans does have some flaws. Recently I've really come to appreciate the terminal integration in Visual Studio Code and would like to see something similar in NetBeans. The author of the article seems interested in native OS integration so perhaps we can expect to see some improvements in this area? ;-)

It probably takes at least a week or two using another IDE to really get a feel for its strengths.

An hour is definitely not enough time to spend with IntelliJ. But use it for a couple weeks, and you’ll wonder why you ever used anything else.

Tip: print out the keymap and try out all the navigation features.

Love VSCode however had to start working with a Grails stack this year. Support for groovy and gsp not there but they are working on it... Rather, there seems to be movement in tackling the JVM based languages running along side each other. And by they I mean the various teams working on the extensions under the "Java Support" umbrella.

Not sure if any of those "Java Support" teams are really working on Apache Groovy support for VSCode -- they would be working on supporting growing JVM ecosystems (e.g. Java 11, Scala, Kotlin), not declining ones. Virtually every Grails stack out there is still using version 2, even though version 3 was released well over 3 years ago -- a sure sign of a declining ecosystem. Is the Grails stack you're working on any different?

It has been upgraded to Grails 3. I can't speak to the wider Groovy and Grails recent trends(I know they have been trending down in recent years), however Grails development seems to be picking up a bit and I'm certainly going to be dealing with it for the foreseeable future.

VS Code's Java support actually works really well now with a few rough edges based on a mostly Java project I was working with today. Unfortunately even when components are largely Java, a lot of testing and build scripting(Gradle) will be in Groovy. The terseness is nice for sure.. But it means leaving VS Code for IDEA.

> Recently I've really come to appreciate the terminal integration in Visual Studio Code and would like to see something similar in NetBeans.

What terminal integration would you like to see?

Visual Studio Code provides an actual terminal and allows the user to choose between different terminal implementations such as Bash and Powershell. It also comes with some well thought-out keybindings for switching focus between the integrated terminal and the editor.

On Windows NetBeans does not provide a working terminal out of the box, see https://stackoverflow.com/questions/32959347/netbeans-termin.... Also, while not strictly related to the terminal, the output window can not be used with System.console(), see https://stackoverflow.com/questions/26078106/system-console-....

Fixing either of these two issues would go a long way for improving the workflow when developing interactive command-line applications.

Edit: Oh, and also https://issues.apache.org/jira/browse/NETBEANS-1783. ;-)

We do have Window | IDE Tools | Terminal but since I'm always on macOS or Linux I never tested to see if this feature has issues on Windows.

I'll test this and see what's going on there.

Netbeans is free, stable, great integration with Maven, git, JavaSE and JavaEE. Why would you choose another IDE for Java development?

I spent a good part of my career in netbeans doing j2me.

These days I still use NB keybindings in pycharm.

This could really do with explaining what the changes and fixes are that it makes.

You mean like some release notes? Good idea.

At a former startup I had to work with a mix of Java, PHP, js and html/css. After looking around found NetBeans to be more suitable than InelliJ/Eclipse + something else.

I can't think of any reason anyone would want to switch to this IDE. Is it a natural choice for NetBeans users? Are there even NetBeans users left?

Over 1 million active NetBeans users.

NetBeans is moving to the Apache Foundation, and this is an attempt to allow "more flexibility with regard to plugins licensing."

Being able to bundle a JDK and have the app run from the get go is nice, no?

You mean the Apache Graveyard, where Google Wave now lies.

And Open Office. And Apache Groovy. 6 months ago, the Groovy project managers at the Apache Foundation removed version 3.0 preview support from version 2.6, and unofficially put version 3.0 into permanent alpha version. They're now milking Groovy and Grails for consulting fees and conferences like Gr8Conf and Greach, both of which are Groovy only in name because most of their talks are about other JVm technologies, not Groovy or Grails.

I loved NB, but moved away from it when Python support was first thrown out to a separate extension, then made more and more difficult to install. I wonder if this is something this distribution aims to solve? That said, I'm mostly happy with vscode and am not switching back anyway.

I believe non-Java communities would also like a good IDE.

PHP developers seem to be pretty dedicated once they start using NetBeans.

Python developers might also be the case. We also supported Ruby at some point.

I was surprised there is no link to the source for the "distribution." It seems like that would raise the hurdle for anyone wishing to submit bugfixes.

I believe submitting fixes to the upstream Apache NetBeans is the way to go: https://github.com/apache/incubator-netbeans

PS: Although reproducible builds are on the list...

I would expect that is true only if coolbeans makes no code changes, but my impression from reading the page is that it "fixes minor annoyances" which sounds like code changes to me. My mental model for this situation is the same as the Debian and Ubuntu relationship.

Don't get me wrong, AFAIK since NB is Apache Licensed then he doesn't have to publish any of the changes; I was just surprised.

Anyone know about Netbeans / CoolBeans' support for Angular / React and other front-end technologies?

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