NetBeans IDE enhanced for teams, scripting

However, it remains to be seen if Oracle will back the technology once the Sun merger is complete

NetBeans, the open source IDE championed by Sun Microsystems, is being fitted with additional capabilities this week for development teams and scripting languages.

Similar to other projects, though, developers will have to wait and see what decision Oracle makes on the fate of NetBeans should its plan to buy Sun come to fruition. Oracle already has its JDeveloper IDE for Java and also has been a supporter of the Eclpse Foundation, whose Eclipse IDE is the chief open source rival to NetBeans.

[ Earlier this week, (See "Eclipse's Galileo release train, featuring technologies from 33 different open source project teams, was released. ]

"I really don't have any information," on what the integration between Sun and Oracle holds, said David Folk, engineering director for developer products at Sun. Asked if NetBeans might possibly continue on its own without backing from Oracle or Sun, Folk responded that there is an enthusiastic community around NetBeans.

Version 6.7 of NetBeans, due for release Monday, integrates with Project Kenai, which is a Sun collaborative hosting site for open source projects. Kenai integration lets NetBeans users navigate between Kenai.com, local code, bug reports, IM chats, and project wikis. Other team members can become part of a developer workflow, Sun said.

"It's really a next-generation site for source code management and project-hosting," Folk said.

NetBeans began as a Java IDE but has branched out into other languages, and in the scripting language vein, version 6.7 improves PHP capabilities, offering additional support for the language in code coverage and code testing, including support for the PHPUnit tool. Also featured is support for Selenium, a tool to test PHP Web applications.

Grails and Groovy backing is improved, with capabilities added for Grails 1.1. Minor improvements are offered for code completion in these two languages. Additionally, remote debugging is offered for Ruby code, with Ruby able to be executed on a separate machine.

Also featured in version 6.7 is backing for the Hudson build integration project. Support for Zembly, meanwhile, enables developers to build mashups for lightweight social applications. A NetBeans plugin is available for installing the Zembly client library, reducing the need to write code to invoke a service. Zembly lets developers uniformly consume data services from multiple vendors including Amazon, Yahoo and Twitter.

Support for JavaFX 1.2, the latest version of Sun's rich media application technology, will be added soon to version 6.7. Other features in NetBeans 6.7 include improved support for the GlassFish application server, with capabilities added for the Derby database, and integrated support for the Maven software project management tool.

A plugin is no longer needed for Maven. "It's more efficient than what we've done previously and it's directly within the IDE," Folk said.

NetBeans 6.7 is accessible at this Web page.

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