What I Really Don't Like About NetBeans IDE

Now that NetBeans IDE has "word wrap" (since NetBeans IDE 7.0), these are the things I really dislike and I wish they'd be fixed.

Firstly, I'm often in the situation where I have defined some fields, set their modifier to "public", but now I'd like to change all those modifiers to "private" instead:

I need to change each modifier separately, simply because I'm not able to do a "rectangular block" selection. Hey, but wait a minute, check this out:

Isn't that a rectangular block selection? In a development build of NetBeans IDE 7.1., I pressed "Alt-Shift-R", which toggles rectangular block selection and then I put the cursor left of the top left "p", held down the Shift key, and then selected the bottom right "c". And now I have the whole block selected. If I now start typing "private", I see that all three instances of "public" all become "private" at the same time.

Secondly, I really dislike the fact that when I change the name of a field, e.g., I want to change "name" below to "type", NetBeans IDE doesn't change the getters and setters!

But, check this out, using a development build of NetBeans IDE 7.1, I see "Rename Getters and Setters" is now available:

Hurray. Such a great improvement, will make my life a lot better in the future.

Thirdly, when I do "Ctrl-F" and "Ctrl-H", the Find/Search box is only temporarily present, when I switch focus away it's gone, and I also need to use a separate dialog, not an integrated bar at the bottom of... but... wait a minute... that's exactly what I get when I'm using the development build of NetBeans IDE 7.1:

Finally, something that bugs me is how hard it is to attach javadoc and sources. I do a Ctrl-Click on a Java reference, I want to jump into the source code, but I only see the class signatures instead. In recent blog entries I showed a slightly cumbersome approach to associating javadoc and sources on disk with a JAR. But it will be much simpler, using a development build of NetBeans IDE 7.1, as you can see below, via the new "Attach Sources" (and "Attach Javadoc") links:

Hmmm! Looks like NetBeans IDE 7.1 will be pretty great. I haven't even mentioned the bulk refactoring tools and the import statement organizer and many other features:


The release date? Here:



Quite handy features, what do you actually dislike about these? Or I didn't really get the title? :)

Posted by guest on September 04, 2011 at 12:38 AM PDT #

Good to see some focus shifting back to the code editor.

Do you know what I really hate and hasn't been addressed here?
1. When using the insert getters and setters functionality, the getters and setters are inserted in alphabetical order. I would much prefer they be inserted in the order I declared the underlying fields.
2. Not nearly enough code formatting options. For example, under Options > Formatting > Braces Placement, the only sections are Class Declaration, Method Declaration and Other. What about Array Initializer, Annotations, Try, Catch, Finally, If, Else, etc...? I would like to have most of those on a new line, but keep array initializer braces on the same line. Or perhaps there should be an option in all cases to respect existing code that has the opening brace on the same line as long as the closing brace is also on that line. And I'd like to keep space around the = operator when used for assignment, but not when used in annotations.

When it comes to Java code editing, IntelliJ has NetBeans beaten in most respects. Although NetBeans code completion is much more intuitive than IntelliJ.

Posted by Steve Taylor on September 04, 2011 at 02:19 AM PDT #

Steve Taylor, until you start filing bugs for features you're missing in NetBeans IDE, you'll find those features will continue to be missing. Anyway, here are the issues I created for your two missing features:
Please feel free to vote for the above two issues.

Posted by Geertjan on September 04, 2011 at 02:34 AM PDT #

Thanks Geertjan. Just after I posted that comment, I read your other post about filing issues to suggest IDE features. The comments in that post, however, seem to be a bit of a reality check. (200 issues closed arbitrarily; one-line fix submitted to significant bug with easy and obvious fix, but ignored; etc.)

Perhaps the easiest way to get things fixed/added is to whinge in your blog and let you raise the issues, given your relative clout. Only joking of course... I'll start raising issues myself.

Posted by Steve Taylor on September 04, 2011 at 03:19 AM PDT #

the unified search/replace feature was a RFE i filed. just saying :P

Posted by mbien on September 04, 2011 at 04:56 AM PDT #

Don't whinge in my blog. Whinge in your own. :-)

Posted by Geertjan on September 04, 2011 at 05:53 AM PDT #

Great, now getters and setters to be generated as described here

Then I'll buy you a beer/beverage of choice ;-)

Posted by guest on September 04, 2011 at 06:27 AM PDT #

One thing that misses is tabs. It would be nice to have multirow tabs for the opened files.
One last thing that is supported by Eclipse is to be able to copy a piece of code and when you paste it in a for loop or a loop in general to be able to see this piece of code aligned inside the loop.
For example...

We have this
System.out.println("Hi, this is Vena Goni");

We also have this
for (inti=0;i<2;i++){
System.out.println("Hi, this is Vena Goni");

I copied the above line of code and it was aligned correctly in the body of the for loop.

Posted by Ven Gon on September 04, 2011 at 11:58 PM PDT #

Finally, taking care of some little annoyances with editor. I've always loved having block selection in Visual Studio, so I welcome its arrival in Netbeans.

I have one suggestion with refactoring fields. How about being able to change the type and have it apply to getters and setters also? I find sometimes when fleshing things out the right type can be elusive.

And since I just learned what "whinge" means, I think there is a bug along those lines already at


Posted by guest on September 07, 2011 at 05:43 AM PDT #

In my days at Oracle, we bashed away in vi and Emacs. And we liked it!

Posted by Bart on September 07, 2011 at 11:32 PM PDT #

One simple thing about the new replace feature, whatever did happen to replace in selection?

Say you have a text file

My world is great
Hello world
Goodbye world

And I'd like to replace world with food for the two first lines only, is there a feature to do this other than clicking the replace for every occourance? In this simple case it's easy doing it by clicking twice, but say I want to replace something in a larger context?

Posted by guest on January 21, 2012 at 01:58 PM PST #

Yes, replace in selection works fine: http://blogs.oracle.com/geertjan/entry/hidden_netbeans_feature_search_in

Posted by Geertjan on January 22, 2012 at 01:28 AM PST #

I just want them to make scanning not so crap.

Posted by guest on January 23, 2012 at 03:11 PM PST #


Posted by Geertjan on January 23, 2012 at 03:35 PM PST #

netbeans rulz!

Posted by guest on August 13, 2012 at 11:56 AM PDT #

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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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