Geertjan's Blog

  • September 4, 2011

What I Really Don't Like About NetBeans IDE

Geertjan Wielenga
Product Manager

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:


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Comments ( 15 )
  • guest Sunday, September 4, 2011

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

  • Steve Taylor Sunday, September 4, 2011

    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.

  • Geertjan Sunday, September 4, 2011

    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.

  • Steve Taylor Sunday, September 4, 2011

    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.

  • mbien Sunday, September 4, 2011

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

  • Geertjan Sunday, September 4, 2011

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

  • guest Sunday, September 4, 2011

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


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

  • Ven Gon Monday, September 5, 2011

    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.

  • guest Wednesday, September 7, 2011

    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


  • Bart Thursday, September 8, 2011

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

  • guest Saturday, January 21, 2012

    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?

  • Geertjan Sunday, January 22, 2012
  • guest Monday, January 23, 2012

    I just want them to make scanning not so crap.

  • Geertjan Monday, January 23, 2012
  • guest Monday, August 13, 2012

    netbeans rulz!

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