What Features are Coming with New Java Editor Infrastructure?

During next few weeks new infrastructure for java editor will be merged into trunk. This will be a big step forward for NetBeans. I sometimes hear people saying that they really like all features NetBeans provides and they make them very productive (e.g. Matisse, profiler, Java EE 5, etc.) but they think the editor needs to be improved. So the good news is that NetBeans developers have been working for many months on branch and they'll soon merge these new editing productivity-related features into the trunk.

Java editor developers wrote a nice document which describes many of the new features. I highly recommend to check it out.

So the new java/editor infrastructure will appear in Milestone 5 (coming before the end of this year). Milestone 4 of NB 6.0 which is going to appear soon will contain full Java EE 5 functionality, merged from 5.5 branch.

At the beginning some modules will be deactivated before they are rewritten to the new infrastructure. This is quite a significant change, so it may take a while before things stabilize, so don't judge the editor according to what you'll see in the early daily builds.

I am very excited about this... I'll prepare some cool flash demo for the editor, too. I've heard my colleagues praising the new editor... and this is in the early state when it's not stabilized yet and not fully featured. So I can't wait for 6.0!

Cool. The truth is taht IDEA and Eclipse have better editors. But what I've been reading in the mentioned docs, not for long :)) I just hope that the code completion will be much faster and more extensible (including my own code completion for SQL, my own language, ...). I didn'0t go into detail, but what I've been reading about it the new infrastructure will be much more lightweight than the current one, right ?

Posted by Kovica on říjen 22, 2006 at 06:22 dop. CEST #

Yes, the infrastructure has fewer levels of abstraction and the APIs are easier to understand (compared to javamodel with MDR). Code completion is also faster, especially if it remembers the results, then it's instant. In general, all editor features appear to be faster, including hints (aka lightbulbs).

Posted by Roumen on říjen 22, 2006 at 06:33 dop. CEST #

Hi Roumen Ex-Sun staff here, as a NetBeans user since v4, there are couple of features that I would like see for the upcoming editor:

1. Integrate with Apache commons, to generate (configurable) toString() and hashCode() for my Java class.

2. "Go to project resources" - There is "Go to class" (Alt-Shift-O) function in netbean, that allows developer quickly open a class, without the need of branching src tree, which is cool. Could this function extended to support qucik open for other project resources such as JSP files, project properties, html, and others?

3. "Library Mapping/Tagging" - Code completion does not work well (Missing JavaDoc) with FreeForm Project. This is because Netbeans have problem associating with unknow freeform project library to configured global libraries.

Is that possible to Tag/Map configured Library from my free-form project libraries, so code completion work well?

What I mean is, say if I have configure global "SpringV2" as my one of my library using NetBeans Library Manager (with source and doc configured), I should apple to "tag/map" spring2.jar in my freeForm project library to "SpringV2", and wow lah..the code completion for Spring 2 is not supported. Cheers James Khoo

Posted by jameskhoo on říjen 22, 2006 at 11:08 odp. CEST #

Thanks for the suggestions. I believe there's some work being done on freeforms to simplify them... For 6.0 there is a plan to introduce a "Go to file" feature which will satisfy point 2. As for point 1, I've heard more requests for this, but I don'know if it's in the plan. I am not a freeform expert, but see: http://wiki.netbeans.info/wiki/view/FaqFreeformDocumentation http://www.netbeans.org/kb/41/freeform-config.html

Posted by Roumen on říjen 23, 2006 at 03:53 dop. CEST #

All I can say is I CANNOT wait for Milestone 5 for Netbeans. I truly believe the rate of development on the Netbeans IDE is absolutely staggering. Look at the number of packs, and various IDE versions that are being released! And not to forget the new features as well! It will be great to see more and more companies start adopting Netbeans 6.0 when it is released for JEE 5 as well as Swing development because honestly, Netbeans 6.0 is loking to be an amazing release and 5.5 is not even out yet!!! ;) Thanks guys!

Posted by Surya on říjen 23, 2006 at 08:42 dop. CEST #

How about lining up braces. I like using the whitesmiths style as explained at:
Will that be possible?

Posted by Sam Lalani on říjen 23, 2006 at 10:59 dop. CEST #

"... and the APIs are easier to understand (compared to javamodel with MDR) ..." -- Please, try to be more concrete in this area. Could you give us any example?

Posted by Pavel Flaska on říjen 24, 2006 at 04:06 dop. CEST #

Pavel, no I do not have concrete examples but this is what I was told about the new API. But for sure there will be less levels of abstractions which should simplify the usage of the API. And based on the comments I heard from the community MDR APIs are too hard to understand, e.g. the guy who wrote the findbugs plug-in spoke about it last week in Munich. So I am hoping they will be easier to use and some NetBeans developers told me this will be the case. Do you think it's not the case?

Posted by Roumen on říjen 24, 2006 at 04:16 dop. CEST #

How about lining up braces. I like using the whitesmiths style as explained at:
Will that be possible?

Posted by Sam Lalani on říjen 24, 2006 at 09:42 dop. CEST #

Is there an article or white paper available describing the editor infrastructure per-se? I think it would be a very interesting read from a software engineering perspective. Do the editor developers blog? Thanks.

Posted by Rafael on říjen 27, 2006 at 12:24 dop. CEST #

I've seen some of the infrastructure articles, but they're not public yet, because they're work-in-progress. I guess they'll make them public once the infrastructure is finalized. Jan Lahoda blogs: see his blog. But he's very busy now ;) Ask him about the docs... later when things are stable again.

Posted by Roumen on říjen 27, 2006 at 04:42 dop. CEST #

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