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Geertjan's Blog

  • March 27, 2007

Which Keyboard Shortcuts are New/Changed in 6.0?

Geertjan Wielenga
Product Manager
The world is divided into two groups of people—those who use the mouse and those who use the keyboard. "Aren't you overlooking the very large group of people who don't use either one, because they don't have a computer in the first place?" Well, those people can also be divided into two groups—those who wish they were using a mouse and those who wish they were using a keyboard. OK? Let's not get side tracked.

The second group of people—those who either use a keyboard or who're wishing they were—know they are superior to the first. Keyboards are for hard core people, while mouses (mice?) are for children. No one can seriously contest this claim. So, anyway, without getting distracted by either of these groups of people, armed as they are with sharp edged keyboards and swinging mouses (mice?), let's pose this question, useful to the second group only: "How can one find out which of the keyboard shortcuts in NetBeans IDE 6.0 are new or changed?" Official answer: One can wait for the release of NetBeans IDE 6.0, which will include a new keyboard shortcut card in PDF format, under the Help menu (just like in NetBeans IDE 5.5 and before). "Yes, but this card will not show me the differences, will it? It will only show me those that are current in 6.0, not which ones are new/changed, compared to 5.5!" Good point, my overly precise, freakishly persistent, and strangely unnamed friend. Never fear, though, because there is help at hand, albeit completely unofficial.

In NetBeans IDE 5.0 Easter Egg for Christmas, I reported on an unmapped action called "Export Shortcuts to HTML", which lets you generate an HTML file containing all the actions (some with, some without mapped keyboard shortcuts), for all the profiles defined in the Options window. So, let's use that functionality to our advantage:

  1. Read NetBeans IDE 5.0 Easter Egg for Christmas, so you know what we're talking about.

  2. In NetBeans IDE 5.5, map that action to something, and use it.

  3. Get the latest NetBeans IDE 6.0 development build, map that action to something, and use it.

  4. Next, open both of the newly generated files in the Favorites window. They're generated to the NetBeans user directory's config folder. So as to not get confused, either rename them to different names, or open their parent folder rather than the bare file, so you can see which parent folder they belong to.

  5. Then right-click both, choose Tools and then choose Diff, as illustrated here:

  6. And now... you can use the Diff window to see all the new/changed/deleted actions. In other words, not just the actions that are mapped to keyboard shortcuts are shown, but all actions, for all profiles (you just need to know the order of the profiles, which you can see at the top of the Diff window). Here, for example, you see the first thing that you'll see when you follow this little procedure, i.e., the unmapped action for the new "re-run" feature in the Output window:


In other words, you can also use this little procedure as a roundabout way of discovering the new features in NetBeans IDE, because often a new feature is accompanied by some actions, which may or may not be mapped by default to a shortcut key, but all of which show up in the exported HTML file. Hurray for easter eggs.

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Comments ( 2 )
  • guest Tuesday, March 27, 2007
    A better way may be to load these files in a browser. copy paste them in a text editor loosing all the html formatting and then doing the diff :)
  • 礼仪公司 Monday, April 30, 2007
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