A Comparison Between The Java IDEs: Netbeans and Eclipse
Unlike other general-purpose programming languages, Java is used widely by developers
for building desktop, web, and mobile applications. But developers frequently look for smart
integrated development environments (IDEs), frameworks, and tools to write applications in
Java efficiently and rapidly. The developers can further write code quickly and efficiently
by using an array of Java IDEs. Both NetBeans and Eclipse are hugely popular Java IDEs.
Despite being open source, NetBeans is the official IDE for Java platform. The features
and tools provided by NetBeans enable developers to build a variety of desktop, web, and mobile
PHP and C/C++ - in addition to Java. The editors, analyzers and converters provided by NetBeans
further make it easier for programmers to upgrade their legacy applications to the latest version
Eclipse is written in Java, and designed with features to simplify Java application development.
The developers can further extend the IDE easily by using a variety of plug-ins. They can further
use specific plug-ins to develop applications by integrating Java with other popular programming
languages including Ruby, Perl, PHP, Scala and Groovy. Also, Eclipse is an open source IDE,
and supported by an active community. Hence, it becomes essential for developers to compare
NetBeans and Eclipse based on their key features and functionality.
Understanding Important Differences between NetBeans and Eclipse
Java 8 Support: The version 8 of Java comes with several new features and enhancements
Hence, many developers prefer writing applications in Java 8 to avail the new features in Java
8. NetBeans is the official Java IDE, and supports Java SE 8 fully. On the other hand, Eclipse
implements the new Java 8 language enhancements through Eclipse Compiler for Java (ECJ). The
developers have to follow a series of steps to take advantage of the new language features
provided by Java 8.
Java 8 Migration: Oracle recommends Java developers to use NetBeans. Hence, NetBeans
support the latest version of Java almost immediately after its release. Also, it provides
an array of tools to make it easier for developers to migrate their legacy applications to
the most recent version of Java. The developers can avail the code editors, analyzers, and
converters provided by NetBeans to move their applications to Java 8 quickly and smoothly.
But Eclipse does not provide any robust tools to simplify Java 8 migration.
Number of Plug-ins: Eclipse scores over NetBeans in the category of plug-ins.
Many developers opt for Eclipse to add functionalities to the application easily by availing
the plug-ins provided by it. However, the developers often have to use several third-party
plug-ins for Eclipse. The quality and performance of these third-party plug-ins differ. On
the other hand, NetBeans enables users to avail a set of stable and quality plug-ins.
User Interface: The user interface of NetBeans is designed based on, whereas the
user interface of Eclipse is designed based on SWT. Swift is a Java native lightweight toolkit,
whereas SWT is a Java for the underlying toolkit of the system. Many developers find the user
interface of NetBeans to simpler and friendlier than the user interface of Eclipse. The simple
user interface of NetBeans further makes it easier for beginners to learn and use the IDE without
putting extra time and effort. But the Java programmers have to put extra time and effort to
work with Eclipse efficiently.
Configuration: NetBeans comes with several built-in out-of-box functionalities.
The out-of-box functionality enables users to configure the IDE quickly, and accomplish basis
programming tasks without any delay. But Eclipse is not designed with many out-of-box functionalities.
The users have to install and configure Eclipse plug-ins to accomplish common tasks and build
applications efficiently. These plug-ins make it difficult for beginners to configure and use
the IDE within a short amount of time.
Working with Other Programming Languages: Both Java IDEs enable developers to
work with other popular technologies and programming languages. NetBeans supports HTML, CSS,
Java with a number of popular programming languages including Python, Perl, PHP, Groovy and
Scala. But NetBeans is designed as a tool-based IDE, and enables programmers to work with other
technologies through specific projects. Eclipse requires programmers to install and configure
specific plug-ins to work with individual technologies. Hence, Java developers find it easier
to work with other programming languages while using NetBeans.