NetBeans and Eclipse

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Two short articles with similar topics appeared recently on Infoworld: Will Sun ever join Eclipse? and Eclipse director still eyes Sun. I'd love to know what people in the NetBeans community think about this. What would be the benefits for both Sun and NetBeans community if Sun would join Eclipse foundation? My personal opinion is that if Sun would do such step it would confuse many people and some developers would start to question Sun's commitment to NetBeans community. And that would be contraproductive, especially given recent success and growth of NetBeans.

Note that Sun is already contributing to Eclipse community by providing Eclipse plug-ins for Glassfish, jMaki and Java FX.

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Comments ( 24 )
  • Laxman B Wednesday, May 9, 2007
    I agree... especially since NetBeans is getting better by the day.
  • Emilian Bold Wednesday, May 9, 2007
    I already made a comment on the first link (on infoworld) but I didn't explain entirely:

    - It seems to me like Eclipse Foundation tries to be some sort of "Abstract IDE Foundation". But they do have the Eclipse IDE which means (imho) that joining the Eclipse Foundation by Sun means an implicit ackoledgement that they have, more or less, an inferior IDE. Next step: they have an inferior Platform ? Next step: why, gee, Sun admits that SWT is inferior to Swing. A lot of mixed messages would be sent with this move and it will drive new users away from the NetBeans IDE.

    I have nothing against Sun and the Eclipse Foundation to use the same IDE/Platform-related standards (like a common module system, some common APIs) but actually joining the Foundation is confusing.

    - So, given that NetBeans seems to be growing why don't the big guys provide NetBeans modules ? I would love a JBoss Netbeans-based IDE or something.

    - Why can't we use JCP for ide-related standards ? What's the point actually with the Eclipse Foundation ?
  • vnjug Wednesday, May 9, 2007
    Netbeans is technically better than Eclipse, in term of a Java (possibly JavaFx in future) and Ruby IDE. It is all what almost Java developer want.
    I believe that all of FUD around Eclipse help IBM sell Websphere well. That's all IBM want. But it does harm to Java community spirit. Just as SWT to Java portability.
    So I think that IBM and IBM-backed Eclipse Foundation should not separate Java world any longer. Join Eclipse Foundation for what? For IBM pocket? It is all PR crap.
    Again, Eclipse Foundation should join Netbeans for common Java's development/future, not for something like universal/generic/socialist IDE
    Eclipse is simply a political IDE.
  • Adam Myatt Wednesday, May 9, 2007
    Emilian, there is a JBoss+NetBeans bundle available. http://www.netbeans.info/downloads/index.php?rs=18&p=8
    I would agree with some of the others above in that it is not the smartest move Sun could make (joining Eclipse foundation). There is still plenty they can do to support Eclipse developers. NetBeans is far and away the best IDE out there and Sun proves it with each release.
  • Jerven Bolleman Wednesday, May 9, 2007
    I think that sun joining the eclipse foundation would be bad. However, I do think that the eclipse and netbeans communities should work together as much as possible. Both communities have done brilliant work enabling many developers to do excellent work.

    Why bad, you ask? As long as the goals of Sun as a company do not align with the other members of the foundation their commitment would not work out well in the long run. Don't join a club if you do not intend to put your heart in it. I think a different approach should be taken. One which stimulates collaboration. For example a IDE pavilion at JavaOne, where developers and users of IDE's meet and show each other their strengths and discuss their aims for the future.

    Secondly, the creation of multiple IDE's in the Java world is a strength not a weakness. I strongly believe that an optimal market tends towards optimal solutions. If there is no competition (even friendly) on the market innovation suffers. Thus if netbeans and eclipse merged a main force for improvement suffers.

    Secondly not every developer likes his tools identical. I prefer netbeans mostly because I like the clean interface which enables me to do my work well. However, some of my friends love eclipse because of the language support (python).

  • Chris Miller Wednesday, May 9, 2007
    Hey buddy! I happen to use Eclipse!
    I also use NetBeans. Using both gives me a unique insight as to both IDEs. Both are great tools. Both have their strengths and their weaknesses. NetBeans has a better plugin installation scheme and a massively better visual editor. Eclipse binds with local windowing systems (which makes it much faster) and provides better source-editing tools.
    I wouldn't like to see either one replace the other, however.
    I'd rather like to see the two fuse to become one IDE. I think that SWT is a very good thing and could probably replace Swing, and would bring much greater usability to Java and make Java interaction with the local system much better.
    Shame on you for slamming Eclipse. Use it and learn it. Then share your opinions about it. Also, Eclipse isn't any more IBM's than C++ is Microsoft's. Eclipse is publicly owned now. I thought you would have known that.
  • Roumen Wednesday, May 9, 2007
    Hi Chris, I agree that both NetBeans and Eclipse are great tools. I didn't slam Eclipse in my post (where did you see it?). I also know Eclipse because I have been using it for some time before I joined Sun (even on commercial projects). So what you're writing is not true. Please check your assumptions first :)

    One thing I can't agree is that SWT should replace Swing. Swing has come a long way and I don't see almost any reason for SWT at this moment.
  • Robert Thornton Wednesday, May 9, 2007
    What would Sun gain from joining the Eclipse foundation? I personally don't see much value in it. NetBeans more and more is being rated highly, while Eclipse more an more is being rated a disappointment. I personally feel Sun should capitalize on the current momentum behind NetBeans and encourage more vender participation. I don't see the competition between the two IDEs as a bad thing. Both IDEs have become better, and NetBeans phenomenally so.
  • Donald Smith Wednesday, May 9, 2007
    Oracle is a member of the Eclipse Foundation and they have a very successful Java IDE (JDeveloper) that competes with the Eclipse Java IDE project. Eclipse is so much more than a Java IDE, there are so many ways that Sun could be involved. For example, there is a JavaFX plugin for Eclipse -- why not make it an Eclipse Project? If Sun is serious about JavaFX, helping establish a tooling ecosystem in the Eclispe community would be a pretty good first step.
    - Don
  • Chris Miller Wednesday, May 9, 2007
    That's exactly what I'm saying! Both Eclipse and NetBeans have so much to offer! By combining them both into one IDE we could enhance Java with SWT, and create a new IDE with all the powerful source editing features of Eclipse and the unparalleled GUI builder of NetBeans. Don't look at me for a name for the new project, though. NetClipse? EclipsedBeans? EclipseNet?
  • Roumen Wednesday, May 9, 2007
    Donald, don't you think that Sun would be sending a confusing message by doing this? I know about a lot of people who in fact are confused about what Oracle is doing and why it contributes both to Eclipse and JDeveloper.

    Chris, it is really hard to combine two separate code bases into one IDE (not talking about all the political issues involved). Plus, monopoly in the IDE space could easily lead to stagnation. I personally think it would be great if we could build plug-ins for both IDEs. Unfortunately JSR 198 didn't take off so probably we need another attempt to achive plug-in compatibility.
  • Dave Staelens Wednesday, May 9, 2007
    I think the two should remain separate, I agree that it would just confuse the issues. Plus a good healthy competition has been good for Netbeans. I started using Netbeans back in the 3. days, left for a while to use JBuilder, and with the release of V4, haven't looked back since then.
  • Bharath R Wednesday, May 9, 2007
    I really don't see the need for Sun to join Eclipse. The world can do with 2 platforms/IDEs. Eclipse has anyways cajoled enough companies to join then. They should be more than happy with what they already have.
  • Ulriko Wednesday, May 9, 2007
    I'm not aware of companies cooperating with Sun on NetBeans. Does Google do that? Romain Guy just joined Google like all the good guys do :-) Will Romain work on Swing at Google? There may be some smaller projects and companies supporting NetBeans-technology but there is nothing approximately comparable to eclipse.org. Correct me if I'm wrong.

    Eclipse.org gets more and more contributions from outside. Deutsche Post AG will donate its entire inhouse SOA-framework to the foundation. That's a very very big deal because Deutsche Post AG is Europe's biggest postal service and spends big resources on software. Oracle donated TopLink and that's probably only the beginning.

    I can imagine companies like Google making a heavy comittment to eclipse.org. They need a standardized framework for their desktop-applications. Look at Google Earth, Picasa, SketchUp, Google Desktop, their new Java-based Marratech Video-conferencing-system that they recently bought. And off course GDrive, the long awaited Google-project which is based on Java/SWT. All those desktop-applications are standalone. Having a Google-workbench integrating all these technologies would be a great advantage for Google but not only for Google.

    Being part of Eclipse.org is a big technological advantage. I find by the way the contribution of Deutsche Post AG a very big deal for both OSS and the Eclipse-project. That's the way to go. Give away and share with others. You can only win. Sun would probably win much but...
  • Roumen Wednesday, May 9, 2007
    Ulriko, can you explain me how can Sun win from joining Eclipse foundation if code in NetBeans is not compatible with Eclipse on API or plug-in level? How can Sun benefit from Eclipse membership while keeping it's own tooling?

    As for companies cooperating on NetBeans, there are partners especially in the mobility area that cooperate in NetBeans. And as NetBeans community grows this starts to happen more often. I agree we need to build such ecosystem.

    Again, I don't see the benefit of Sun joining Eclipse foundation - at this moment it would lead to confusion. I just don't see the business sense of doing this.
  • Wayne Thursday, May 10, 2007

    As Donald stated, there's nothing that says that Sun has to drop NetBeans if they were to join Eclipse. I think you need to give folks a little more credit as well. I don't find the prospect of Sun joining Eclipse while maintaining its focus on NetBeans confusing, and I don't think that others will either.

    As for value, I think it's hard to disagree that Eclipse has done a heck of a lot for Java adoption. How many organizations do you think have selected Java because of Eclipse? I don't know the answer, but I'll bet there's tonnes.

    I think that Sun joining Eclipse would send a message to a much broader community that while we have our differences, there's cooperation. I think it would make Java more palatable to more organizations and could significantly increase the size of the pie we're sharing. Is that valuable?

    Eclipse proves every day that competitors can collaborate and in the process everybody wins.

  • Ian Skerrett Thursday, May 10, 2007
    If Sun just had NetBeans, then it makes no sense to participate in the Eclipse ecosystem. However, if Sun would like to get better penetration of Glassfish, JavaFX, jMaki, Solaris etc. in the Eclipse user community then it might make sense.
    To be honest, I don't think Sun will ever join the Eclipse Foundation. That is okay. As you say, Sun is already participating in the Eclipse community with support for things like Glassfish, JavaFx, and that is nice to see.
  • Iwan Thursday, May 10, 2007
    Something I like about Sun and NetBeans is that whenever you see Sun presenting some new technology, you know it will be made available to the developers through NetBeans, nicely integrated. And with the recent proceedings, it's all for free as well.

    The same goes for IBM and Eclipse (WSAD). Whenever IBM has something new, you know for sure they'll put it in WSAD and sooner or later (sooner when more market spread is required) they'll put it in Eclispe. Unfortunately WSAD is not really for free, but Eclipse is.

    For me there is no reason to switch to Eclipse, in fact I do a lot of JEE and JME development and for that NetBeans is excellent. Where I be doing a lot of WebSphere development, I would use most probably Eclipse. IBM just makes sure that it features what you need for solid development on WebSphere.

    I think that Sun should stick with NetBeans, and I would love to see the big 'vendors' (Oracle, Spring, JBoss, Apache, BEA, TIBCO etc) to provide not only plug-ins for Eclipse, but also for NetBeans and IntelliJ IDEA for that matter. It would be nice if NetBeans and Eclipse architects would sit together and come up with a common tool interface for plug-ins to support this multi-IDE development of plug-ins.

    In the meantime I think that NetBeans out of the box is excellent and becomes better and better. Something I'm also reading on various websites. Something I don't read about Eclipse. The diversity in plug-ins is its [Eclipse] strength but also its weakness. The fact that the big vendors monetize their efforts by selling their branded version of Eclipse makes this worse for those that can't or don't want to pay for the product.


  • Roumen Thursday, May 10, 2007
    Ian, Wayne, yes, it makes some sense that Sun \*could\* join the Eclipse foundation since Sun contributes by several projects to Eclipse. But as long as these are only several projects we would send a very confusing message. You say we would not confuse developers, but I can see I would be answering again and again "why did Sun join the Eclipse foundation and keeps working on NetBeans?". For many people this act has deeper meaning - people expect more cooperation if this happens. I know many developers who are confused by Oracle's strategy, because of the same reasons. So I don't think Sun should do the same thing - it is not good for NetBeans community.
  • Wayne Thursday, May 10, 2007

    >I know many developers who are confused by

    >Oracle's strategy, because of the same reasons.

    Name one. Everybody on this discussion who has stated that there would be confusion is talking about somebody else. Nobody is admitting to personal confusion. If you can't name the guy, describe him. Is he short? Does he have blonde hair? Balding on top?

    What does confusion even mean in this context? I have an image of developers sitting at their desks with darkened eyes wondering how they can possibly go on. I don't see that happening. Developers won't be confused. They may get concerned when/if they see Sun pulling back development resources from NetBeans. But until that day, I'm quite sure that Joe Developer will manage to get through the day and go home to play with his kids.

    >So I don't think Sun should do the same
    >thing - it is not good for NetBeans community.

    I disagree. As I tried to point out before, I think that Sun joining Eclipse would be good for Java. If it's good for Java, then I think that both camps win. Of course, I can't help but be disappointed that whenever we try to talk about Java, the conversation always seems to roll around to NetBeans. The way that Sun continually couples NetBeans to Java reaks of antitrust.

  • Roumen Thursday, May 10, 2007
    I had multiple conversations with various people from our Java user group - the question they have is if Oracle is commited to Eclipse, why do they continue to push JDeveloper? Is Oracle suggesting developers to use JDeveloper or Eclipse? That makes the story confusing and in case of Sun it would be of larger magnitude. I agree that Eclipse foundation did a lot of good things for Java. However under current circumstances if Sun would join Eclipse foundation, it would send very confusing message concerning it's future product strategy.
  • Roumen Thursday, May 10, 2007
    Btw, if coupling of Sun Java + NetBeans is bad, why is Eclipse foundation giving away CDs with Harmony + Eclipse here at Java One?
  • Wayne Thursday, May 10, 2007

    I just don't buy it. As long as Oracle continues to put development resources into JDeveloper, how is it confusing. BTW, you haven't offered any new information; you've just said "it's confusing" using different words and cited "various people" as your source. Unless you can back up the claim it's just FUD.

    Harmony + Eclipse is just an example of two different open source projects hosted by two different organizations working on cool software. You can go to the Eclipse download site and find no mention of Harmony. The Harmony site does mention Eclipse here and there, but it's all very loosely coupled. Nothing antitrust about that.

  • williamchen Saturday, May 12, 2007
    Why not consider it in another direction? Why does not eclipse join NetBeans? Eclipse foundation does not have to drop eclipse if they join netbeans. With eclipse foundation joining netbeans, it will also do good to java.
    NetBeans is getting better and better. It is now evolving much faster than eclipse. If netbeans is called to join eclipse foundation 2 to 3 years, it might make sense. However now, I don't see it makes any sense for Sun and netbeans to join eclipse. Don't ALWAYS say it in the name of Java. If it is for the sake java, why SWT existed to fragmentate java?
    Eclipse itself is good. But some people behind it wants use to do something nasty.
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