JSDT versus NetBeans

I’m spent a solid month evaluating JSDT.  The motivation for the investigation was to familiarize myself with Java Script as well as the state of the Java Script tools.  I also have some interest in building a product in the Java Script space.  Being a long-time Eclipse developer, I started with the JSDT.

Overall, the JSDT evaluation has been disappointing.  I may blog in detail about this at a later time.   Hopefully the next version will be more stable and useful.  There are links at the bottom pointing to the JSDT posts.

Some Java Script developers mentioned they had some success with NetBeans, so I decided to give NetBeans the same trial.

NetBeans: Resources

Download and Install

It wasn’t clear to me from the download page which NetBeans flavor I should download.  So I installed the ‘All’ flavor, chewing up nearly 1Gig of my hard drive!  That had everything I needed and much more.

Developing with Third Party Library

My use case for JSDT was 1. create a HTML/js project, 2. edit code, 3. leverage a third party library, 4. run the application.

NetBeans has a tutorial which does exactly that.  I followed this tutorial and had success with my use case.  No failures.  No exceptions.  No workarounds.  It just worked.  I won’t reproduce the steps of that tutorial here.  If you’re interested, try it out.  I’ll show some of the results.

Content Assist

NetBeans has knowledge of standard third party js libraries.  When I tried to use a jQuery function (after adding jQuery to my project), I get some useful content assist:

Very nice.  The Content Assist provided several useful things.

  • I showed the syntax of the method
  • Who is providing the method,
  • Which browsers I was targeting.
  • It told me which browsers this function does not work in.  (Which is why I think the method was crossed out in the CA window)
  • It included clear well-written documentation with detailed explanation and code example.

Running the Project

I right-clicked on the sample html, selected View, and the app ran in my FireFox browser.

Limitations

HTML5. Like JSDT, NetBeans doesn’t yet support HTML5.  This bug tracks it and states its slated for 6.10 (next) release in January 2011.

Java Script doesn’t seem to be a primary language of the IDE.  I had to dig deep into the menus– usually under some Other… option– to find Java Script tools.

Summary

I didn’t delve into more detailed use cases, such as debugging.  I may do that at a future time.

The use case I struggled to get running with the Helios version of JSDT worked right out of the box with NetBeans.  At some point, I would like to take myEclipse and Zend Studio– two commercial products– for a spin.

If my job was that of a JavaScript developer, I would take a long look at how NetBeans could make me more productive.

Links

Here are my blog posts related to my experiences using the JSDT:

And here are my posts regarding contributing to JSDT:

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4 comments so far

  1. Chris Aniszczyk on

    Have you looked at Aptana for JavaScript tooling?

    http://aptana.com/

    I’ve heard some people have had success with that. The sad thing is that Aptana doesn’t contribute things back as much as they should imho..

  2. Scott Kellicker on

    Thx Chris forgot to mention Aptana.

    From my web searches, there seemed to be some frustration with Aptana quality/functionality. But that’s secondhand and maybe the product is quite good.

    The reason I tried NetBeans after JSDT was that the most positive comments from js developers were regarding NetBeans. But it seems most js developers have settled on a vanilla text editor!

  3. Litrik De Roy on

    I try to avoid plain JavaScript as much as possible. Instead I’ve started using GWT (http://code.google.com/webtoolkit/) combined with GXT (http://www.sencha.com/products/gwt/). It allows you to write all your code in Java and it cross compiles all client code to JavaScript. You can debug your applications using the well known Eclipse debugger. Works like a charm.

  4. John Morales on

    Try WebStorm by jetbrains, it’s pretty strong for being fairly young, but it’s leveraging much from IntelliJ


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