Saturday Oct 20, 2012

Play Framework Plugin for NetBeans IDE (Part 1)

The start of minimal support for the Play Framework in NetBeans IDE 7.3 Beta would constitute (1) recognizing Play projects, (2) an action to run a Play project, and (3) classpath support.

Well, most of that I've created already, as can be seen, e.g., below you can see logical views in the Projects window for Play projects (i.e., I can open all the samples that come with the Play distribution). Right-clicking a Play project lets you run it and, if the embedded browser is selected in the Options window, you can see the result in the IDE. Make a change to your code and refresh the browser, which immediately shows you your changes:

What needs to be done, among other things:

  • A wizard for creating new Play projects, i.e., it would use the Play command line to create the application and then open it in the IDE.
  • Integration of everything available on the Play command line.
  • Maybe the logical view, i.e., what is shown in the Projects window, should be changed. Right now, only the folders "app" and "test" are shown there, with everything else accessible in the Files window, as can be seen in the screenshot above.
  • More work on the classpath, i.e., I've hardcoded a few things just to get things to work correctly.
  • Options window extension to register the Play executable, instead of the current hardcoded solution.
  • Scala integrations, i.e., investigate if/how the NetBeans Scala plugin is helpful and, if not, create different/additional solutions. E.g., the HTML templates are partly in Scala, i.e., need to embed Scala support into HTML.
  • Hyperlinking in the "routes" file, as well as special support for the "application.conf" file.

Anyone interested, especially if you're a Play fan (a "playboy"?), in joining me in working on this NetBeans plugin? I'll be uploading the sources to a repository soon. It will be here, once it has been made publicly accessible:

Kind of cool detail is that the NetBeans plugin is based on Maven, which means that you could use any Maven-supporting IDE to work on this plugin.


Geertjan Wielenga (@geertjanw) is a Principal Product Manager in the Oracle Developer Tools group living & working in Amsterdam. He is a Java technology enthusiast, evangelist, trainer, speaker, and writer. He blogs here daily.

The focus of this blog is mostly on NetBeans (a development tool primarily for Java programmers), with an occasional reference to NetBeans, and sometimes diverging to topics relating to NetBeans. And then there are days when NetBeans is mentioned, just for a change.


  • NetBeans IDE
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