Sunday Oct 13, 2013

NetBeans for Pure HTML, JavaScript, and CSS Developers

Let's imagine all you care about is development of applications using HTML, JavaScript, and CSS. For example, you only want to create Knockout or Angular JS applications. How best to set up your IDE so that exactly those features, and no more, are included? You might want this very small minimalistic IDE if you're concerned about performance, startup time, and removing the clutter of all the buttons and menu items that don't relate to what you're doing.

The simplest solution is to go to the NetBeans Downloads page and get the PHP distribution. However, let's assume you don't need PHP, all you care about is HTML, JavaScript, and CSS. So, you can uninstall the PHP plugin and you're good to go. (Or, you could install the "All" distribution and include "Features on Demand" and then have things been enabled as needed. A problem with this approach is that you still get UI that you don't actually need, i.e., not a clean UI but one that has items in the New Project window that don't relate to what you're doing.)

The slightly harder solution is to do what I did. I downloaded the "All" distribution and, when I ran the installation wizard, selected only the two pieces that I'm interested in:

After installation, I went to Tools | Plugins and then removed everything that doesn't relate to working with the files I care about. As you can see, I don't even care about working with databases:

I restarted the IDE and went back to Tools | Plugins and all I saw was this:

I could go further and remove even more, e.g., maybe I don't care about "Local History" or one of the other features. Just uninstall them too.

I went back to Tools | Plugins and installed the "Dark Look and Feel Themes", resulting in a very light IDE that looks exactly as I want it to be. Click to enlarge the image, to get a better view:

Now, if I want anything else, e.g., database support, I can just go to Tools | Plugins again and install the related plugin. But the point is that right now no assumptions have been made and I have exactly the tools I need to work on the kinds of projects I'm interested in.

Also, startup and performance in general is blazingly fast.

To prove how purified my IDE now is, take a look at the New Project wizard:

It didn't take much work to get to this point, about 10 minutes in total, including the download and installation procedure.


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.


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