Last Wednesday, NetBeans 4.0 was released, and I have a little add-on announcement too. I’ve written before about NetBeans here, here, here, and here: it’s fast, it’s slick, it’s Ant-based, it does what I need. The only thing they’re excited about in 4.0 that I haven’t already talked up is the fact that J2ME/MIDP and Tomcat are built in; in fact, the NetBeans guys like to point out that you can do most things out of the box without having to hunt down and install plug-ins. In bad news, I have a significant gripe with NetBeans. In good news, we’re doing something about it.
My gripe with NetBeans is that it’s a good Java development environment, but one that really only understands the Java language. I’ve been banging the other-languages-on-the-JVM drum quite a bit recently, and this applies in spades to NetBeans. I’d like to be able to script NetBeans in a high-level language, and I’d like to write my JUnit tests in something less picky than Java, and I’d like to use NetBeans to write and debug and profile code that’s written in Jython or Groovy or whatever.
So, here’s what we’re doing: The NetBeans group and the Software CTO Office (where I work) have pulled together a project to fix the problem. We’re going to be paying David Strupl, a contractor who really knows NetBeans, to lead a java.net project to build dynamic-language infrastructure into NetBeans. Obviously it’ll be Open-Source and everyone who wants to can play.
Some parts of the target are still moving, the year-end has gotten in the way, but stay tuned, I’ll be posting updates. Big thanks to Tim Cramer, Trung Duc Tran, and Juraj Vrabko from NetBeans, and to Juan Carlos Soto who directs the Software CTO office.