Enter the NetBeans Matrix

Guest Author

With NetBeans 6.0 the download experience went through a major overhaul. We have now something we call internally The Matrix. In case you haven't seen it you can enter The Matrix here. The idea is that you can choose your preferred version of the IDE (e.g. if you are a Ruby developer you most probably don't want all the Java stuff, etc.). However we found out that about 3/4 of the people download the "ALL" version.


I would like to mention that this may not be the best option for everyone. If you choose the "ALL" option you can definitely expect a much slower startup, your IDE will take more space on your disk and your UI will contain menu items and actions you may never use. So before installing NetBeans I recommend to take a second and think which of the features you really need.

Why do we need The Matrix? We used to have four different IDEs at Sun - NetBeans, Java Studio Creator, Java Studio Enterprise and Sun Studio. We were able to strip the number down to two: NetBeans and Sun Studio (a lot of developers asked for this simplification actually). So now when you install the full bundle of NetBeans you basically get NetBeans + 2 other IDEs in one application + a part of Sun Studio! It's been an amazing engineering effort to bring all these IDEs together and provide them via NetBeans in an integrated experience - and the end result is in my opinion very good given the time there was to make this happen. The Matrix lets you make choices which of the features you really need and which you don't.

So it seems to me that NetBeans users are a bit greedy because they probably think "Well I'd better download and install everything just in case I need it. It's free anyway." Remember that once you make this decision it will also brings some disadvantages, like slower startup speed and UI which may be less optimized to what you do. A smaller bundle might be better for you. The choice is yours... take the red pill or the blue pill? :)

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Comments ( 14 )
  • Fabrizio Giudici Monday, November 12, 2007

    For me, I always download the smaller one "Java SE" and then add the other stuff by means of the Update Center. I like lightweight approaches.

  • Vladimir Sizikov Monday, November 12, 2007

    The thing is, I tend to use Java \*AND\* Ruby, and there is no such bundle, so I download the full NetBeans version. I'm not greedy, I just need two options that are not in the same bundle. :)

  • Martin Monday, November 12, 2007

    i'll take both ;)

  • Tom Wheeler Monday, November 12, 2007

    It's still not at all intuitive how I could download the 6.0 platform.

  • Ricardo Palomares Monday, November 12, 2007

    While I haven't downloaded NB 6.0 yet (honestly, I'm a bit worried because I feel that new features are not what I want, but it is clear that NB 5.5.1 is already EOLed), if I go to the matrix, I'd take the full version because I want to use Java SE with UML, and when I looked at it, I think the note below saying that individual modules can be added wasn't there.

  • Damian Carey Monday, November 12, 2007

    So Roumen, I want the base IDE, plus UML. Nothing else. So I download ALL, but only install base IDE/JavaSE plus UML. Is that efficient? Would I be better off just installing the base then adding UML from the update centre? I would have expected the same outcome either way. Thanks.

  • Roman Strobl Monday, November 12, 2007

    You're right Tom, it is not obvious. I believe the link will be added on bottom of the download page for final release and it will be available in the archive. Most people don't need to download the platform because it comes with the IDE.

  • Adnan Turic Monday, November 12, 2007

    Even I'm not in 3/4, I support this. A very nice solution for 'ALL' users.

  • Roman Strobl Monday, November 12, 2007

    In case of UML - I suggest to get the base IDE and then get UML from the update center...

  • Sebastian Stepien Monday, November 12, 2007

    If you choose 'ALL', can't you just select features you want installed in the installer? Will it still make it a slow startup?

  • Martin S. Tuesday, November 13, 2007

    Why not make it a list of checkboxes instead of a matrix? So I can customize my (initial) bundle. I want UML and SOA, no Mobility, but Tomcat ...

    Of course, this adds complexity to initially generating the downloadable files due to combinatoric rules, but the download experience seems to me intuitive.

  • Roman Strobl Tuesday, November 13, 2007

    Yes, you can choose ALL and then install only several pieces... this will not make a slow startup. It was just surprising that 3/4 of people download the biggest option.

    Martin we actually had the dynamic checkboxes on the web, however this turned out to be a real problem in terms of storage - because for every release we'd need to have all the combinations of the packs which turns out to be too much of data. Thus we are using this compromise now. Maybe we can switch to dynamic checkboxes once we get bigger storage :)

  • guest Thursday, November 15, 2007

    I used to download the Java SE version, but then I found that it didn't have the JAXB wizard. Hey, JAXB is part of Java SE, right?

    Anyway, I just get "All" now.

  • Igor Minar Sunday, November 18, 2007

    How about creating Web & JavaSE & Ruby bundle. Me and many other web developers would welcome such a bundle.

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