How do you like balloon-like tooltip?

NetBeans IDE regularly checks for available updates of your IDE's installed plugins. Since NetBeans 6.0 IDE the NetBeans team delivering patches almost monthly and it makes alerting users about new updates more important than ever.

On this account Stan introduced balloon-like tooltip in NetBeans 6.1 IDE. The balloon will notify IDE users about available updates in the IDE status line if some updates found. Like this

The balloon is showing for 30 seconds when Plugin Manager found available updates. Or an user can invoke it like tooltip on mouse over the update icon .

Some users (most of IDE users I believe) like this balloon and some don't. I got some feedback on NetBeans 6.1 IDE and did a little change for NetBeans 6.5 IDE:

  • balloon acts more as tooltip. If it shows on mouse event, it will close quickly on mouse exit.
  • balloon is showing only when Plugin Manager connects Update Centers and not while working over caches
  • power users can customize appearance of balloon by new options: FaqPluginManagerCustomization
  • beside this Stan have also changed UI of balloon a bit.

What about you? How do you like the balloon stuff? Thank you for feedback


I think the balloon feature is great. Although I do think it's a bit confusing on how to get updates. As in there are 3 ways currently (that I know of).

1. At startup
2. Tools -> Plugins -> Updates
3. Help -> Check for Updates

Posted by Abraham Tehrani on June 03, 2008 at 10:32 AM CEST #

Provided they're not overused, I really like them.

In fact, after we deployed our application built on NetBeans Platform 6.0, users complained that it was not obvious enough that updates were available. I knew that this balloon-like tooltip feature was underway for 6.1, so I was able to satisfy the users by simply upgrading the platform. I didn't have to write a single line of code to provide them with what they wanted.

Nice work!

Posted by Tom Wheeler on June 03, 2008 at 10:32 AM CEST #

+1 I really like it.

The module name, e.g "Editor" could be displayed to emphasize what can be updated.

Is it based on the project?

Posted by Stanley Styszyński on June 03, 2008 at 12:25 PM CEST #

I do not like it.
Further more, on mac, if I move the IDE window, this ugly popup do not move, so it sticks in the middle of the output Nb topcomponent...

At best early access, not beta or fcs quality...
And then, showing up the update manager takes years in a modal way... so bad.

Posted by guest on June 03, 2008 at 06:24 PM CEST #

I personally like it but it should be configurable for those who find it obtrusive.

Posted by aden on June 03, 2008 at 09:05 PM CEST #

I dont like it either. It should be configurable so that I could totally disable it.

It reminds me of a similar feature available in Windows XP. When I get a new machine, the first thing I do is to disable it.

Posted by Addison on June 04, 2008 at 03:04 AM CEST #

>> And then, showing up the update manager takes years in a modal way... so bad.

Agree, that's really bad. Don't mind the balloon tip but its just what happens next thats annoying.

Posted by guest on June 04, 2008 at 05:11 AM CEST #

there should be at least 5pixel margin before the text starts.
Both versions have the same problem.

Just check how they solved it on ubuntu.. it looks very professional.

An other thing I noticed when I installed the last patch for 6.1 was that after restart I got the same balloon again with the same " X new updates available" message as before but after clicking at it, IDE refreshes the module catalogue and prints "no updates available".

Posted by mbien on June 04, 2008 at 07:58 AM CEST #

Thanks all for the feedback.
In detail, Abraham I know what you mean but thought Help -> Check for Updates is a little different, it forces inet connecting and refresh of all subscribed Update Centers contrary that Plugins->Updates works on local caches refreshed once a week.

Stanley, I'm not sure if it have based on I was not author this UI. Stan, a author, might know more.

The ones that would like to disable the balloon, since NetBeans 6.5 just run platform with command line option -J-Dplugin.manager.allow.showing.balloon=false

Well, I keep addressing performance issues to Plugin Manager/Autoupdate code. Stay tuned. Some of them was fixed in post NetBeans 6.1 IDE, some are already scheduled to NetBeans 6.5 fixing phase.

Posted by Jiri Rechtacek on June 04, 2008 at 08:23 AM CEST #

Michael, Stan with NetBeans UI team are tuning UI of balloon currently, some UI changes are coming to NetBeans 6.5 Milestone 1 (see for more details).

The problem the notification of updates could be shown twice (in some cases) was reported ( close to NetBeans 6.1 IDE Patch 1 and it's fixed and will be part of Patch 2. Sorry for that.

Posted by Jiri Rechtacek on June 04, 2008 at 08:34 AM CEST #

Great fix, the balloon tip and filebrowser are the two things that stand the most out in NetBeans as certainly not being native to the platform.

Posted by Casper Bang on June 05, 2008 at 09:03 AM CEST #

-1 on the balloon tip.

It's one of the reasons I recently moved away from Windows. I can't stand them. An icon in the notification area is enough.

If you do include it, please make it an option.


Posted by Tony on June 19, 2008 at 09:05 PM CEST #

Hi Tony,

do you mean adding a new option about Balloon into NetBeans Options? Couldn't be enough to use command line option
or add this option into etc/netbeans.conf file in your NetBeans 6.5 IDE installation?

Thanks for feedback

Posted by Jiri Rechtacek on June 20, 2008 at 07:18 AM CEST #

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