Which is to say, NetBeans 6.0 Beta 1 is out. Looks pretty good so far, they even revised the Borg Cube logo. I’ve got a couple tabs with .rb files open, and three more that end in .h and .c. I understand it can be used with Java too.

NetBeans 6.0 Beta1

It’s now got a Mac-style installer, instead of just a DMG with a .app in it. I’m trying to develop an opinion as to whether this is better or not.


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From: Marcus (Sep 19 2007, at 09:34)

In general, I see no real advantages with a installer over a dmg, in the cases where both options are possible. To me, a dmg is so much simpler and less intrusive than an installer. I prefer it heaps.


From: Brian Mitchell (Sep 19 2007, at 09:49)

Oh, that is too bad. I much preferred the simple disk image with a drag and drop application. The reason is simple: I know what I am adding to the system and I know I can easily remove (most) of it the same way.

The package installation system usually raises a red flag for me in addition to being more work to actually install. Also, it can be nice to have the option of just running a .app in place without installing it (or at least having a very simple way to decide where it will go).

Of course there are probably technical reasons it changed, but I would sure like to find out what those are.


From: what (Sep 19 2007, at 10:12)

at least the installer isn't the sh script that launched a misshapen java installer, like in the previous milestones. Those were fucking awful. But yeah, .app in a .dmg , do it.


From: Paul Brown (Sep 19 2007, at 10:16)

Worse! Copy a file, move a file, delete a file — no strings attached and no moving parts. With an installer, I'm left to wonder what changes it's making to my system and what unexpressed constraints are imposed on the installation location. (Moreover, no installer is the mode of distribution for other IDEs like IntelliJ and Eclipse and Aquamacs and...)


From: Patrick Mueller (Sep 19 2007, at 10:21)

Weren't the previous releases a shell script with an embedded zip file in it or something? And you're wondering if a dmg is better? Yes, please, do it the 'mac' way.

The rounded corners on the .app icon are a little nicer, and will still let me compare against Eclipse in a fun way: http://www.flickr.com/photos/pmuellr/1262311841/


From: Bernd (Sep 19 2007, at 12:01)

(a) Looks great, I'll have to look back to NB then.

(b) No, it's not better as a rule of thumb. Unless you have good reason - i.e., you have to install code in the OS areas, which Netbeans, if implemented properly, does not have to given the class of software it's in, period - you should deliver your software as an app bundle, preferably in a DMG, but ZIP etc is OK as well

(c) I love your captcha thingie with "which of..."


From: Clark Cox (Sep 19 2007, at 14:02)

I'd say that the drag-and-drop install, where possible, is *always* better than an installer program.


From: justin (Sep 19 2007, at 18:03)

Bork Cube? I read that as Borg Cube on the first pass, but it sure makes for a tasty Freudian Slip...


From: James Stansell (Sep 19 2007, at 18:41)

One thing the installer for unix/linux does is create a ~/.nbi/registry file that lets it know what else is installed and with what parameters. That way, for example, it knows it won't have to re-install glassfish v2 if you already have it. Or that glassfish v2-beta1 was already installed using a certain tcp port.

No real mac experience here, but I'm guessing that's the kind of behaviour that most responses here are saying they don't like in an installer?



From: Matt Chaput (Sep 19 2007, at 21:32)

Wow. Still incredibly ugly.


From: Graham Miln (Sep 19 2007, at 23:50)

With regard to an installer versus a simple application within a disk image, Apple's Software Delivery Guide is clear; where possible avoid installers.

"If your product is a self-contained application (one that doesn’t need to install components at different locations in the file system), you can distribute it as a single file or folder. Users then can drag the product from its container or delivery vehicle to a location of their choice in their file systems. This type of installation process is called manual install. This is the preferred method of delivering applications to Mac OS X users."


A good compromise has been crafted by Bare Bones Software with BBEdit.

BBEdit is a drag and drop install, with an optional installer launched on first run to configure command line tools.


From: Simon Peter Chappell (Sep 20 2007, at 09:21)

I just downloaded and installed the NB beta 1 and I do agree that while the current installer is better than the .command file it used to have, I would VERY MUCH PREFER to have it be more traditionally Mac-like and just drag the icon to the Application (or other ... I like /opt personally) folder.

I haven't tried NB for a couple of years, but I'm liking the look of it. I like the fact that it seems to work well with the wide-screen aspect of my MacBook/MacBook Pro. It also seems to startup more quickly than Eclipse.

Of course, I'm now trying to learn how to do things the non-Eclipse way. Time to dig through the NB documentation.


From: James (Sep 20 2007, at 11:51)

From a few weeks ago: http://lifeonrails.org/2007/8/30/netbeans-the-best-ruby-on-rails-ide


From: Hendy Irawan (Sep 21 2007, at 14:29)

"I understand it can be used with Java too."

Wow... That's the most beautiful quote I've ever seen... while talking about NetBeans, Priceless. :-)

Maybe one day you'll say...

"As you can see in my Firefox 4, there are open tabs for chatting, semantic information, collaboration with my friends, and its status while washing my dishes. I understand it can be used to browse web sites too."


From: Aristotle Pagaltzis (Sep 21 2007, at 23:58)

Hendy Irawan:

It’s just like Emacs, which includes a web browser, mail client, file manager, command line shell, and much more – even a psychotherapist. Oh, and some people say there’s a text editor in there too…


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