JDeveloper or NetBeans - What are the numbers telling us?

There has been a lot of noise in the blogsphere lately about JDeveloper vs. NetBeans over the last week - especially after the last update to Oracle's Sun FAQ that added a paragraph about Netbeans.

As an Oracle Employee I can't comment about anything that relates to this deal, but I would like to comment about one of the points that some Netbean-bloggers have been raising - and this is their claim that the number of Netbeans users is way bigger than those using JDeveloper.

I'm still trying to figure out how they came to this conclusion.

Some of them claim they haven't encountered many people who use JDeveloper - I guess this all depends on where you are hanging out. I'm guessing the picture they see when hanging at Sun conferences, such as JavaOne, is a little skewed. after all at the Oracle conferences I attend - I seem to meet a lot more JDeveloper users :-).

Hunting down reliable third party statistics on the breakdown of the Java IDE market is no easy task, but here are some numbers that might cast a question mark on those claims:

One independent survey of the Java IDE market was the SD Times Survey which last ran in 2008. It showed NetBeans at 24.4%. and Oracle's JDeveloper at 20.4% usage.
I would hardly call this a huge difference in the size of the community.

Now lets look at some more up-to-date statistics
Indeed job search shows more demand for JDeveloper compared to NetBeans out there

Another way to check the health of a community is to look at the traffic on its forum
Looking at traffic on the Netbeans forums - it seems like they get around 10-15 new threads each day on their user forum and even less than that on the Java EE forum: http://forums.netbeans.org/javaee-users.html

JDeveloper gets around 80 new threads on our forum on an average day.

I won't draw any clear cut conclusions here - I'll let you do that for yourself now that you see some other numbers.

Comments:

Hopefully when the deal goes through, you guys can take the best of both and find a way to make something even better. Personally, since Jdeveloper is so specific I wouldn't put anything on the job posting metrics. I myself love netbeans, especially since 6.7, and only posted once on the user forum But have since figured it out on my own, this could just mean it just works better, Or maybe not, they are statistics after all. There are innovations in netbeans that I wish Every tool had, and in this case, I hope there is a future for it. There isn't much Of a need for 3rd party vendors around nb like there are in myeclipse just to Make things sensible.

Posted by Jin Chun on November 11, 2009 at 01:40 PM PST #

Hi Shay, I've asked this question on OTN/SOA Suite about Oracle's strategy regarding IDE's as well. In my case I'm interested in finding out whether Oracle's is going to remain committed to Eclipse to keep it 'on par' from a functionality perspective to JDeveloper. There are a lot of reasons why this would make sense - jobtrends is one... http://www.indeed.com/jobtrends?q=eclipse%2C+jdeveloper&l=&relative=1 What's your point of view on this? Thank you, Jan.

Posted by Jan Vissers on November 11, 2009 at 04:28 PM PST #

... but unfortunately, there still is no maven2 support in JDeveloper... :( K.

Posted by kawazu on November 11, 2009 at 05:49 PM PST #

You're aware that NetBeans is not just an IDE but also a framework? And not a platform in the JDeveloper sense of the term (i.e., a platform for IDEs), but a platform for any kind of application at all?

Posted by Tom on November 11, 2009 at 06:42 PM PST #

If you ask how one can come to the conclusion, that the number of NetBeans users is way bigger than the number of JDeveloper users, I would say: experience. As a Java-centric software developer in Germany I never met a single developer using JDeveloper on a daily basis. Eclipse is by far the most used IDE but the only other names you will likely hear in this context are IntelliJ IDEA and NetBeans. The same on every vendor-neutral forum: Eclipse is everywhere, then come IDEA and NetBeans. JDeveloper? I guess a majority of Java developers doesn't even know it exists. Personally, I do like NetBeans pretty much, especially when it comes to Swing-GUI-building, and I would definitely miss it, should it vanish. So Oracle has now investments into JDeveloper, NetBeans and even Eclipse. What if they had to drop one of these tools? What would I do? Well, sorry to say, but I would put all those Oracle-centric stuff from JDeveloper into NetBeans (or even Eclipse) and let JDeveloper die. There is defintely fewer people who would miss it. Michael

Posted by Michael on November 11, 2009 at 07:14 PM PST #

For what it's worth, I find the last quarter of data on indeed.com is somewhat random. In other words, you may find that if you look at the graph in 6 months from now, you won't see that drop off that shows there now post July'09. By the way, I track job postings at indeed.com, a technology specific job site and the data is consistent that JDeveloper is the #2 in economic activity behind eclipse. Netbeans is usually a distant third or fourth. If you're interested in that data shay, shoot me an email, it's pretty guessable... - Don

Posted by Donald Smith on November 11, 2009 at 09:17 PM PST #

How about comparing the number of downloads per day or week? I feel NetBeans has picked up well after version 6.0 release. I cannot comment on JDeveloper as I have not used it.

Posted by Karthikeyan C on November 11, 2009 at 11:11 PM PST #

kawazu, JDeveloper has support for Maven 2 - check out the new release, and see this: http://www.oracle.com/technology/products/jdev/howtos/maven/maven11g.html Shay

Posted by guest on November 11, 2009 at 11:54 PM PST #

Jan - There is no change right now in Oracle's commitment to Eclipse. We are adding new features to it on a regular basis with our Oracle Enterprise Pack for Eclipse. Note though that there is no intention of having an exact duplication of the JDeveloper functionality in Eclipse - JDeveloper is the strategic tool for the platform. Tom - Yes I know that Netbeans also offers a Swing based development platform - and that are some who use it - the question still persist though - what are the majority of Java developers doing today - and the answer is probably not building Swing based interfaces.

Posted by Shay on November 11, 2009 at 11:59 PM PST #

The flaw in these numbers is that a job doing Oracle development will almost certainly require JBuilder experience since knowing that one specific tool is essential to the task. Job postings for general Java development seldom require a specific IDE -- a competent developer could use NetBeans, Eclipse, IDEA or even vi to get the job done, so there's no practical reason to mention it. You could also search developer job listings for "must have own car" but for the same reasons, you wouldn't find much. Employers usually don't care how you get to work, only that you get there somehow and do the job well once you've arrived. Since you've already said that your Eclipse strategy won't change, I'd say the most important metric is to measure how many developers use JDeveloper and how many use NetBeans. I am a consultant and trainer, so I am in contact with hundreds of developers a year. While my experience may be anecdotal, it seems that NetBeans is very clearly in the lead here and growing fast. I'd also want to know whether it's easier to give JDeveloper all the features that NetBeans has or vice versa. I know a lot about NetBeans development so I can say with great certainty that it's mature, flexible and extensible. The IDE already supports Java, C, C++, Ruby, JavaScript, Python and PHP. The community has added support for Groovy, Scheme, Scala, Erlang, Clojure and others. And this doesn't even count all the organizations using the NetBeans Platform for non-IDE applications (see http://platform.netbeans.org/screenshots.html for some examples). Can JDeveloper do all that?

Posted by Tom Wheeler on November 12, 2009 at 12:29 AM PST #

Shay, Have you ever found anyone who is not associated with Oracle that uses JDeveloper? The only time I've ever seen anyone use JDeveloper is when Oracle consulting jammed it down a client's throat.

Posted by Dean Schulze on November 12, 2009 at 12:33 AM PST #

"Tom - Yes I know that Netbeans also offers a Swing based development platform - and that are some who use it - the question still persist though - what are the majority of Java developers doing today - and the answer is probably not building Swing based interfaces." Wow. If you follow THAT logic, you should stop working on JDeveloper because "what are the majority of Java developers doing today"? NOT using JDeveloper...

Posted by Harold Farnham on November 12, 2009 at 12:47 AM PST #

Popularity aside which one is the best and why? At the end of the day isn't the developer looking for functionality?

Posted by Meshack on November 12, 2009 at 12:50 AM PST #

I think that this Job Trend statistic is not very representative, everybody knows that the guys from human resources throw every known buzzword into the job description. When i browse through Java Job-offers, i see in nearly every description the word "eclipse". This is a standard in the java universe, but if you look inside the dev-teams, you will see a heterogeneous landscape of IDE's. Mostly a mixture of different Eclipse distributions with some NetBeans or IntelliJ IDEA IDE's. JDeveloper is a curiosity, never seen someone working with it.

Posted by Siegfried on November 12, 2009 at 01:19 AM PST #

For the job trend argument - I do agree that most Jobs just list Java as the requirement - but this means that people can also do the Job with JDeveloper of course. So the number of job posts there could be neglected for this discussion - then you are still faced with the situation that there is more demand for JDeveloper than Netbeans out there. As far as "no one is using this unless Oracle consulting is forcing them to do that" argument - You might not be familiar with how consulting at Oracle work - we usually just use whatever is the standard at the company - many of our Java consultants are doing projects with Eclipse and other tools and in some cases even on non-Oracle application servers. There might be cases where Oracle consulting is suggesting to customers to use JDeveloper - but this practice is probably the same for all the IBM consulting people - a much larger operation than Oracle's by the way - that probably promote the use of IBM's RAD tools or Eclipse. And by the same logic I can claim that consultants who know NetBeans shove it down their customers throat. As for the "JDeveloper is a specialized tool for the Oracle application server" argument - again this is not correct. We certify JDeveloper with a collection of other databases and application server. See: http://www.oracle.com/technology/products/jdev/collateral/papers/11/certification/index.html I agree that the best tool integration for the Oracle Applications Server/Oracle WebLogic Server is JDeveloper - but given that we are now the number 1 application server out there - this might mean that JDeveloper will just become more popular :-)

Posted by guest on November 12, 2009 at 01:44 AM PST #

As a Java contractor in the UK I can't say that I've come across any developer in 8yrs who uses JDeveloper over here. It seems to be a mix of Eclipse and Netbeans. They are both free and both meet most needs and Netbeans in particular seems to be progressing at an impressive rate.

Posted by Steve Webb on November 12, 2009 at 01:48 AM PST #

There is so much here to question that I had to respond : http://cld.blog-city.com/

Posted by Charles Ditzel on November 12, 2009 at 01:54 AM PST #

The good of NetBeans : 1. Module system. 2. Virtual file system 3. NetBeans platform The good of JDeveloper 1. Good UI design, either the theme or the detail for very swing component. 2. More stable, NetBeans always report exception even in stable version. 3. Fast UI response, NetBeans UI is frozen for a long time at sometime.

Posted by hantsy on November 12, 2009 at 02:30 AM PST #

JDeveloper gives seamless integration tools such as OC4J, SQL Navigator, etc. but lacks in open-ended plugins management as compared to Netbeans. Netbeans can integrate and co-interact with some of coolest plugins, thanks to java.net

Posted by Shrihari on November 12, 2009 at 02:33 AM PST #

Shay, I know you've invested a lot in jdeveloper and switching to netbeans or eclipse or intellij is not an attractive option for you, but the truth is this: Oracle customers will use what Oracle gives to them. The real question is: Is it worth porting all those ADF tools to the netbeans platform? I don't know. It's up to you (Oracle) to decide. By reading comments on your blog and on the net it seems to me that majority of the people want to see oracle plugins on netbeans platform. IMHO Oracle made a wrong decision years ago: you should have switched to eclipse. I bet we wouldn't have this conversation now. ;-)

Posted by ILX on November 12, 2009 at 02:39 AM PST #

Compare to the previous version and NetBeans, jdeveloper 11 lack many features in enterprise development... 1. Spring, Hibernate 2. Struts2, Tapestry, Wicket and other web framework... 3. PHP 4, JRuby/Ruby 5. Python There are many plugins available in the NetBeans Plugin portal...but the JDev plugins are so limited to several. Ofcourse , Jdeveloper provide better database support.

Posted by hantsy on November 12, 2009 at 02:59 AM PST #

I think Oracle can introduce NetBeans good sides such as module system into JDev instead of the original plugin system... It is better to merge them into one product....

Posted by hantsy on November 12, 2009 at 03:04 AM PST #

@Shay: Thanks a bunch for pointing me to the maven support... gonna have a look and see where it gets me. :) K.

Posted by kawazu on November 12, 2009 at 03:12 AM PST #

Getting a handle on this is definitely tough - but I think it's safe to say Eclipse dominates the market. Personally, I'm a semi-satisified Eclipse user that has dabbled with NetBeans, barely even heard of JDeveloper. I would love to find something "better" than Eclipse (eclipse has become feature bloated, doesn't have native Maven support, etc) and I will say NetBeans has come a long way since the early days.... but still has too many glitches and is too sluggish for me. As far as the actual user bases, to be brutally honest job trends and forum thread are kinda worthless indicators. If you're looking for a good java developer who cares what IDE they prefer? Requiring a new employee to understand how a given IDE works may mean it's very complicated to use so don't want to waste company time teaching it to you. And as far as forum posts, having 80 isn't necessarily a good thing... maybe 75 or them are about JDeveloper problems or complaints.

Posted by Sean on November 12, 2009 at 06:00 AM PST #

I'm not sure those poll percentages are meaningful in this discussion. I haven't used JDeveloper but I imagine it integrates really well with Oracle products. So how many of those 20.4% JDeveloper users would switch if the same level of integration was available in NetBeans? If Oracle were looking to maintain IDE market share but had to pick between supporting JDeveloper or NetBeans, it seems safer to move the captive audience in JDeveloper over to NetBeans.

Posted by Todd on November 12, 2009 at 06:49 AM PST #

The comments on this blog speak for themselves. Hope you guys at Oracle are taking note of this...

Posted by Gaz on November 12, 2009 at 02:02 PM PST #

Hi, numbers or not numbers, JDeveloper or NetBeans ... it doesn't matter ... JDevoloper is wrong tool, the wrongest tool ever developed for developers, any other IDE is better then JDeveloper ... Yes, Oracle made a big mistake when decided to go forward with JDeveloper ... That is IDE, but ADF framework is much better I think ... it promises, I believe that ADF is good, but that is what I believe, not Oracle ... yes, Oracle doesn't believe in ADF framework, why? ... because for example, new Metalink (Oracle support web service) is not developed with ADF, it si developed with Adobe Flex :-( ... unbelievable :-( Imagine that Microsoft have some popular support site, or some other corporate site made in technology that is not .NET or Silverlight ... yes, you can not imagine that :-) Regards.

Posted by Marko on November 12, 2009 at 03:39 PM PST #

Hi Shay. You said "and the answer is probably not building Swing based interfaces. " - it's a bit surprising statement, as the very same poll by SD Times that you cited also said "However, the client isn’t forgotten, as 51.8% say they’ll push apps out to desktops and notebooks". If you think that all of them are using SWT (and anyway it's easy to proof that it's not true), then why have you kept JDeveloper on Swing?

Posted by Fabrizio Giudici on November 12, 2009 at 03:51 PM PST #

Does Jdevelopper support/has: - php development - mobile MIDP development (with visual builder) - has a swing gui builder - JYthon / Python support - mercurial support - c++ development even with QT .... OK Oracle stuff is surely supported but the rest...

Posted by anonymous on November 12, 2009 at 04:23 PM PST #

To Hantsy: "2. More stable, NetBeans always report exception even in stable version." Not necessarily true I would say. At least incorrect conclusion. It is not because there are more exceptions reported that a product is less stable. These reports, in NetBeans context, as far as I understand, are here to help NetBeans contributors to spot bugs causes easily. Those reports could probably be turned off, exceptions would still be caught and you wouldn't even realize that something happened. Call it transparency, a must in an open-source community oriented world. Transparency is something you don't really do in a customer-paid environment, where you try conceal what doesn't look good as much as possible. It's like this first ever splash screen in software, which consisted in showing a screenshot of the application UI while it was still loading... User couldn't do anything, but at least knew something was happening. There you were concealing the fact that the application takes ages to start-up ;)

Posted by anonymous on November 12, 2009 at 06:02 PM PST #

I think from the postings I've seen recently many people have pointed out the positive side of this current competition: Oracle/Sun can take the best parts of each of both products to create someting really great. The intention of a merger is to create synergies and add the parts that are missing in one company by parts from the other company. I think this also applies to IDEs. --Toni

Posted by Toni Epple on November 13, 2009 at 12:04 AM PST #

The JDeveloper forum has more entries because user find it more difficult to use, its a negative sign for JDeveloper.

Posted by Crossed on November 13, 2009 at 12:05 AM PST #

We use Netbeans and Eclipse, and we don't list those in our job postings. We have a small minority of people who have to integrate with oracle and use a few copies of JDeveloper, if we look at our own postings it would look like we're using JDeveloper more than Eclipse! Shay, I know you work for Oracle, but can you at least admit that obviously the JDeveloper number on that chart is skewed because it is an application (Oracle DB) specific tool? Also, Sun has a lot of numbers on actual usages of Netbeans since it hits their servers everything you fire up the IDE. I would assume you guys do the same with JDeveloper, why not compare those numbers? As for your Swing comment, yeah there's a lot of people still coding Swing apps, also JavaFX apps and the JFX integration in Netbeans is better than in Eclipse. I would hope that you guys catch up a bit more on what is going on with the company you are trying to buy.

Posted by Augusto on November 13, 2009 at 01:05 AM PST #

I must say I am surprised to hear that there are so many JDeveloper users out there. Here is why. I read lots of blogs about people who swear by NetBeans, or who can't live without Eclipse, or who think it is insane to use anything but IntelliJ, or who simply write "look at this nifty new feature in NetBeans, Eclipse, or IntelliJ". In the Microsoft world, people write about nifty features in Visual Studio. But blogs about JDeveloper are few and far between. Check it out--run the query http://www.dzone.com/links/search.html?query=X, where X is NetBeans, Eclipse, IntelliJ, Visual+Studio, or JDeveloper. The difference is striking. Of course, there could be many explanations. Maybe people who use JDeveloper are incredibly productive people who go home at 5 pm and spend time with their families instead of writing blogs. Or maybe they are so confused about its features that they wouldn't know how to blog about it--that would explain the forum traffic :-) I had another look at that forum traffic, and I truly am impressed how many messages there are. I noted that there are a few people--Oracle employees, I presume--who field huge numbers of questions. The Netbeans forum sadly doesn't have that level of dedicated support. That might skew the numbers quite a bit--people are more likely to come to a forum where they have a good chance of getting some handholding. Or maybe there really are lots more JDeveloper users. Then tell them to stop being the strong and silent types :-) They should start blogging and convince the rest of us why it's a better mousetrap.

Posted by Cay Horstmann on November 13, 2009 at 07:24 AM PST #

I don't exactly have time to address each of the feedbacks here but just a few corrections/observations Blogs - we do have a lot of JDeveloper bloggers out there - see this daily feed for example: http://www.connotea.org/rss/user/jdeveloper For some reason dzone has been ignoring JDeveloper bloggers - and event JDeveloper releases don't get on their news section. Swing, Struts, Spring, and Mobile development - are all supported on JDeveloper. In fact we had visual Swing development even before Netbeans had it - and we still have visual JSF/JSP editor - which I guess NetBeans lost now. C++ - no we never did this. But we did have extensions for PHP, Python and Groovy http://www.oracle.com/technology/products/jdev/htdocs/partners/addins/exchange/php/index.html http://www.oracle.com/technology/products/jdev/htdocs/partners/addins/exchange/jdpython/index.html http://groovy.codehaus.org/Oracle+JDeveloper+Plugin But in general we prefer to focus on Java features such as visual JSF editing, visual page flow diagram, EJB diagrams, Visual WSDL editor and much more that at least to me seem better than what Netbeans offers. As far as Oracle usage of ADF, I would say that Metalink is the exception for the rule - they decided to go with Flash for that - and it seems they got burned on that one, since they switched to use ADF for the back-office part that is used by all the Oracle support analysts. ADF is the strategic UI at Oracle, just look at our SOA suite, WebCenter, Enterprise Manager and of course the full line of Oracle Fusion Applications that Larry showed at OOW last month. Check out some pictures here: http://blogs.oracle.com/shay/2009/10/adf_faces_uis_popping_up_all_a.html Anyway - time to call it a week and go home. Take it easy everyone, and thanks for visiting. Shay

Posted by Shay on November 13, 2009 at 09:29 AM PST #

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