Unlike other general-purpose programming languages, Java is widely used by developers to build desktop, web, and mobile applications. But developers often look for smart integrated development environments (IDEs), frameworks and tools to write applications in Java efficiently and rapidly. Using an array of Java IDEs, developers can write code quickly and efficiently. NetBeans and Eclipse are both very popular Java IDEs.
Eclipse is written in Java, and designed with features to simplify Java application development. Developers can easily extend the IDE using a variety of plug-ins. They can use specific plug-ins to develop applications by integrating Java with other popular programming languages, including Ruby, Perl, PHP, Scala, and Groovy. Furthermore, Eclipse is an open source IDE, and is supported by an active community. Hence, it becomes necessary for the developers to compare Netbeans and Eclipse on the basis of their key features and functionality.
Understanding the Key Differences Between NetBeans and Eclipse
java 8 migration: Oracle recommends Java developers to use NetBeans. Therefore, NetBeans supports the latest version of Java almost immediately after its release. Plus, it provides an array of tools to make it easier for developers to migrate their older applications to the latest version of Java. Developers can take advantage of the code editors, analyzers and converters provided by Netbeans to quickly and easily migrate their applications to Java 8. But Eclipse doesn’t provide any robust tool to make Java 8 migration easy.
number of plug-ins:Eclipse scores on NetBeans in the category of plug-ins. Many developers opt for Eclipse to easily add functionality to the application by taking advantage of the plug-ins it provides. However, developers often have to use several third-party plug-ins for Eclipse. The quality and performance of these third-party plug-ins vary. On the other hand, Netbeans enables users to have a set of stable and quality plug-ins.
user interface: The user interface of NetBeans is based on SWT, while the user interface of Eclipse is based on SWT. Swift is a Java native lightweight toolkit, while SWT is the Java to system’s built-in toolkit. Many developers find NetBeans’ user interface simpler and friendlier than Eclipse’s user interface. Netbeans’ simple user interface further makes it easy for beginners to learn and use the IDE without spending extra time and effort. But Java programmers have to put in extra time and effort to work with Eclipse efficacy.
configuration: NetBeans comes with several built-in out-of-box functionalities. The out-of-box functionality enables users to configure the IDE quickly, and complete programming based tasks without any delay. But Eclipse is not designed with many out-of-box functions. Users need to install and configure Eclipse plug-ins to perform common tasks and build applications efficiently. These plug-ins make it difficult for beginners to configure and use the IDE in a short amount of time.
support for maven: Both NetBeans and Eclipse support Maven – a widely used project management tool. The complete build lifecycle framework provided by Maven makes it easy for the programmer or automate the entire build infrastructure. But many programmers find it easier to work with Maven when using NetBeans. They can run Maven targets directly inside NetBeans. Similarly, they can use the console to view the output of Maven commands directly in NetBeans. NetBeans further makes it easy for users to update Maven dependencies, launch Maven builds, and create new Maven projects.
android app developmentThe Java programming language is widely used to develop mobile apps for Android – the mobile platform with the largest market share worldwide. Statistics posted on various websites show that most of the Android app developers prefer Eclipse to NetBeans. In addition to being simple and fast, Eclipse also provides a standard UI toolkit – Swing – that can be seamlessly integrated into Android applications. Furthermore, the variety of plug-ins provided by the Eclipse SDK make it easy for developers to build robust Android apps without spending extra time and effort. However, NetBeans also provides many features and tools to simplify Android app development.
source code formatting: Both Java IDEs have the ability to automatically format the source code of an application written in Java. But many programmers find the Java code formatter provided by Eclipse to be more efficient than the code formatting options provided by NetBeans. When using Eclipse, programmers can directly invoke the Java Code Formatter using the CSF shortcut. Therefore, they can format Java code in a flexible and efficient manner.
Overall, NetBeans and Eclipse are both open source and cross platform Java IDEs. But Eclipse is supported by IBM, while NetBeans is supported by Oracle. Each IDE provides many innovative features and tools to simplify and accelerate Java application development. But developers should evaluate the pros and cons of each Java IDE according to the specific needs of each project.