In fact, it is pretty obvious that the NetBeans Platform is a lot more inspiring than NetBeans IDE. That's because NetBeans IDE is a tool, while the NetBeans Platform is a framework. The latter is much more interesting, allowing for far more creativity, than the former. One indicator supporting this point is that several external users (i.e., outside of Sun Microsystems) have written books about the NetBeans Platform, without having been prompted or paid to do so... while none have done so for NetBeans IDE. Ask yourself—is it more interesting to write about a pen (which is a tool) or about poetry (which is a framework for expressing your feelings and thoughts)?
Here's one example. Pawel Boguszweski, one of the students from one of the Certified NetBeans Platform Trainings in Warsaw, who created the first NetBeans editor for Ruby for his Masters thesis (as reported here) is now working on OCaml support for NetBeans IDE. His OCaml support plugs into the NetBeans Platform which, when the modules that make up the rest of NetBeans IDE are plugged into it, together forms the tool that is NetBeans IDE.
He sent me the sources of his Beta release:
I ran it without much problems in NetBeans IDE 6.7:
Even some code completion is included:
The list of features Pawel lists in his e-mail:
The next steps are to finish the build system, to finish the project logical view (properties window etc.) and then focus on the editor (contextual code completion, code folding, errors highlighting, code formating).
It would be cool to see the sources of this plugin uploaded to Kenai.com so that others can contribute to this plugin too!