First impressions of Netbeans 6

I know I’m very late with this post, but I just haven’t really had the time recently to try out Netbeans 6. Now that I’ve spent a few days with it, I have a few things to say about it:

1. Memory Usage

Wow! How? Netbeans 6 is operating inside the 30 – 40 Mb range instead of the 90 – 200 Mb range. I have no idea whats happened under the hood, since Netbeans 6 seems to be doing a lot more “intelligent” work than Netbeans 5.5 did, and that usually translates to more memory being used.

2. Code Completion

Okay… This is one of the big features in Netbeans 6, but what nobody seems to be saying is that is extends well beyond the range of the auto-completion drop-down. Netbeans 6 automatically suggests names, what arguments you’re likely to use, etc. For example:

List<Person> people;

public void addPerson(Person p) {

In the above example, the instant you open brackets for “people.add(“, Netbeans fills in “p);” and selects the “p”. This works not just with collections, but any method you care to name. It’s very impressive, because it chooses the parameters intelligently, based on the data-type.

And did I mention that the code-completion is about a million times faster than it used to be?!

3. Code Formatting

Finally, Netbeans gets decent code formatting. The new code formatting can conform to some of the most obscure styles I’ve ever seen, and the configuration is clean and easy to work with.

4. Surround With

The surround with functionality doesn’t sound like anything spectacular, until you see it work with a really tricky piece of code, and it does something unexpected… but amazingly elegant, like simply add another “catch” onto the end of and existing “try” block instead of writing a whole new “try/catch” in.

Like is mentioned on the site, Surround With is not just about “try/catch” anymore, it does any type of block you care to name, and like everything else in NB 6, it does it intelligently and elegantly.


Netbeans 6 still has a few niggly bugs (in beta 1 at least), but for me, none of them are show-stoppers. For my income producing work, I’m likely to wait until it’s released, but if you haven’t already downloaded it and tried it out, I strongly suggest you do. You may just fall in love.


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