Sunday, April 05, 2009

Netbeans 6.7 Milestone 3 released

It's been a while since I commented on either the Eclipse or Netbeans IDE. Depending on the project, I've been using both. As I've noted in the past both are of very good quality, so it's a matter of personal taste as well very specific requirements which one you select for a given job.

The Netbeans project is currently working on its next release, version 6.7. Milestone 3 was just released, and you should take a quick look at it's "New and Noteworthy" section (along with New and Noteworthy from milestones 1 and 2).

Of particular interest is the dependency graph in Maven support. I'm reminded of Doxygen and the graphical support in Together (now owned by Borland). Doxygen and Together are for software engineering as apposed to project management and control with Maven, but the core needs are the same. I could see myself working on extending UML support and round-trip engineering with dependency viewing just like in Doxygen (assuming it hasn't been done already; I've been wrapped up using Eclipse lately).

I'm also curious about the future of Netbeans. If IBM really does purchase Sun for $7 billion, then what will happen to Netbeans? Netbean's leap in features, usability, and overall quality is due in no small part to Sun's stewardship of the project. I don't see IBM backing Netbeans, and somehow I don't see a successful merging of Eclipse and Netbeans into something better, let along as successful as either. I know Eclipse is the leader, but that leadership is due in part to Eclipse's momentum, not necessarily technical merit. Both need the other to remain vital. To combine both or eliminate one over the other is to ignore the history at our peril of what happens with software monocultures. And I'm afraid that turning Netbeans loose as a purely community-supported project will doom it to a slow irrelevance over time.


Looks like IBM might not be buying Sun after all. According to the New Your Times, "I.B.M. withdrew its $7 billion bid for Sun Microsystems on Sunday, one day after Sun’s board balked at a reduced offer, according to three people close to the talks." After reading that article I really am beginning to wonder about the 'sanity' of the Sun board.

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