A short while ago I blogged about how Netbeans is an amazing tool for developing MIDP applications. Today I’m going to explain why any Open Source software developed in Java, C/C++ or Fortran should be developed in Netbeans. First off, Netbeans has support for C/C++ and Fortran through an excellent C/C++ Module which integrates it into GCC and Make, and all those sorts of tools. But that just says “it can do C/C++ and Fortran”, so why is it good for Open Source developers then?
The answer: the collaboration modules. Now the first time I heard about the Netbeans Collab modules, they sounded like nothing more than an IM client in you IDE. That would be useful by itself, but it wasn’t enough to make me download the modules. However, these modules do not just you chat in your IDE. Start a conversation with one (or a few) other people, then drag and drop one of your source-files into the Conversation Window and what happens? The Collab module shares the file between all the people in the conversation. Now this is not your ordinary sharing, this is letter-for-letter, line-by-line changes visible to anyone who opens the shared file.
So now I can edit a few files you shared with me online, you can watch what I type, as I type it. You can also type, and I see what you’re doing as well. Now for the cool part: Right click on the Project icon in the Shared Files box, and click “Run”. Yup, it builds and runs the project on the machine of the person who shared it, and everyone can see the output.
This is a truly brilliant tool for people who live and work in the world of Open Source development, where you are generally not in the same room (and often even the same country) as the rest of your team. Netbeans Collab modules give you a whole new level of team development.