Codegear released JBuilder 2007 and it is possible now to download a trial version. I gave it a try. I used to be a JBuilder fan for many years, so I wanted to see where the IDE is heading. I must say that JBuilder 2007 has nothing in common with the previous versions of JBuilder. It is rather Eclipse with a lot of plug-ins + visual and ALM tools from Codegear. There's nothing wrong with that, except for what's missing now in JBuilder 2007 is the main reason why I always liked Borland's tools - very good and intuitive UIs. And you will find some other surprises (read on).
If you are a JBuilder user you should consider NetBeans. Why? Because it is much closer to the original JBuilder (2005 or earlier) than JBuilder 2007. NetBeans is swing-based and provides similar wizards and actions as in JBuilder. We have a guide and project importer
to help you get started. Here are reasons why to consider NetBeans:
- Swing GUI builder - JBuilder 2007 doesn't have the old good Swing GUI builder from JBuilder, but it was replaced by Visual Editor. Visual Editor is not as good as the old GUI builder (give it a try too see why - that's why MyEclipse bundles NetBeans GUI builder - their community asked for it). NetBeans has one of the best GUI builders out there. You can check out the demo here.
- Swing vs. SWT - if you prefer Swing user interfaces, you'll have to get used to SWT. NetBeans is build on top of Swing.
- User interface - you will find out that NetBeans menus and wizards are more similar to old versions of JBuilder than JBuilder 2007 which adheres to Eclipse's standards. There's nothing wrong with that, except that you as a JBuilder user need to learn a completely new user interface.
- No support for JSF 1.2 - at least I couldn't find it. NetBeans supports JSF 1.2.
- No support for Visual JSF design - you can get it in NetBeans with Visual Web Pack.
- No support for Struts - at least I couldn't find it. NetBeans supports Struts in default installation.
- No mobility tools - NetBeans provides Mobility Pack which is provides the best mobility tools out there.
- Profiling based on TPTP - I suggest you to try NetBeans profiler which is very easy to use.
- Java EE support is a bit harder to use - JBuilder 2007 relies on project WTP so I recommend you to try to use NetBeans' Java EE support. You'll see that it's more like the features you are used to from old versions of JBuilder.
- For some features you need to use the old version of JBuilder - JBuilder 2005. In fact Codegear bundles JBuilder 2005 with JBuilder 2007, so they acknowledge this fact. With NetBeans you need to use only one version of the IDE - NetBeans 5.5.
- Pricing - are you ready to pay $2000 USD for the enterprise version of JBuilder 2007 (this is a price with seasonal discount, the usual price is higher)? Or $400 for the developer version? NetBeans and all the packs for NetBeans are available for free. You can also buy support for NetBeans if you want to have guarantee of assistence from Sun. From what I understand the prices from Codegear don't include support.
- Swing based platform - you can use NetBeans to build applications on top of it. As a JBuilder developer you probably have good Swing skills. However if you want to build plug-ins for Eclipse, you need to use SWT. You can write plug-ins for NetBeans using Swing and take advantage of Swing libraries.
- Growth - NetBeans community has been growing rapidly in last 2 years, so you can join a succesful community. I am not sure about JBuilder's bright future given the current pricing which does not seem to reflect the current market of Java IDE's.
- Community - you should also consider NetBeans because of the worldwide community of users, you can join the mailing lists and ask questions. In fact I've seen many JBuilder users joining NetBeans community and asking about the features on firstname.lastname@example.org. We will welcome you and help you get started with NetBeans.
There may be other reasons - as someone who made the step from JBuilder to NetBeans in the past I recommend you to give it a try, you may find out it's easier for you to migrate to NetBeans than to JBuilder 2007. If you have questions about NetBeans, it's features, plug-ins or anything else, feel free to contact me at roman dot strobl at sun dot com or join our mailing lists