James Governor's Monkchips

Rocking To The Rhythm of a Groovy Beat

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I pointed to Tim Bray’s injection of dynamism into Sun last week. Well Tim certainly isn’t hanging around. Tthere are developers out there that would take another look at NetBeans if it offered decent support for dynamic languages. Well that is what’s happening:

Says Tim

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.

If anything is going to give NetBeans 4.0 a push its this kind of thinking. For the purposes of disclosure i must admit to some very negative comments on NetBeans in the past.

But i am increasingly wondering whether NetBeans focus on delivering value to small “get it done” developer teams will pay dividends. NetBeans doesn’t seem to have Borland or Rational envy, and may compete more effectively with Visual Studio.NET is some cases because its aimed more squarely at the same kind of developer. The kind of folks, say, that frequently change jobs and are still happily and quietly building Access-based applications for large financial services companies, rather than some Architect Uber Modeller.

Eclipse and VS.NET already offer some dynamic language support. Indeed Microsoft has been aggressive about hiring folks such as Jim Hugunin.

Not everyone has an IT cast of thousands though, and the best apps are usually built by smaller teams. You have to credit Sun for its stickiness in the face of major odds. Some other tech companies throw in their hands when the going gets tough. Not Sun. Out of stickiness success emerges. We all wrote off Netscape didn’t we? Now we’re seeing an “overnight success“. Could NetBeans become another one?

I still think Eclipse has its mojo in full effect, but i am going to keep a closer eye on NetBeans for the next few months.

One comment

  1. James,
    I’m the engineering director at Sun working on NetBeans. Sun has always fully supported NetBeans, but you’ll notice a renewed vigor in all of Sun’s tools with NetBeans as the base.
    We’re making great progress with NetBeans, with 4.0 just being released and our next release already in early access (with a focus on making J2EE development easier), you can see we’re being aggressive, it’s here: http://www.netbeans.org/community/releases/41/index.html
    I thought the proposal by Tim Bray was an excellent idea to engage a focused group of developers so we partnered with his group at Sun to make it happen. You’ll see more innovation coming into NetBeans over the next 4-9 months. Some of the things that
    are either being developed or under discussion include a dramatically improved GUI builder, which I’m particularly excited about, the profiler which has a lot of power not before available for free, and collaboration capability to name a few.
    If you’ve never tried writing an app for a mobile device, you have to check out the Mobility Pack with NetBeans. Gosling’s blog @ http://java.net/jag was not exaggerating. It’s incredible and it makes it much easier to develop apps.
    I know this is a longer post, but just wanted to let you (and others) know that the team is really excited about what we’re accomplishing and Sun is 100% behind us.


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