Thursday, March 29, 2007

NetBeans 6 m8 and Ruby: Get Yours Now

As of yesterday, NetBeans 6.0 milestone release m8 is out.

Having known NetBeans since its very early days, I'm surprised and excited that it seems to be a serious come-from-behind competitor in the contest of world-class IDEs.

Besides the core Java IDE elements, the platform is being pushed in a bunch of ways. My favorite at the moment is the Ruby support (which works with JRuby or the regular Ruby interpreter). The team has feverishly added a bunch of debugging features over the last few weeks, and the latest Ruby-support builds snap in nicely with the m8 release. (Some of the recent IDE builds didn't snap together quite so well.)

Here's a quick screenshot showing debugging stopped at a breakpoint, with all the goodies you'd expect -- stack trace, local variables, etc.

Fun stuff! At least for IDE junkies like me.

I had been watching to see where Ruby IDEs would come out... the "free Ruby IDEs" are, well, no offense, but they're awful compared to stuff like Eclipse and Visual Studio. Arachno Ruby is better, but I didn't love it when I tried it.

I've been using a trial of the SapphireSteel's Ruby In Steel, which is built on Visual Studio. Ruby In Steel is amazing, and I consider it the first really world class Ruby IDE. But it requires VS2005 Standard edition or above, which means money and a Windows box, both of which I believe will be impediments to longterm success. The money thing is sad, because the SapphireSteel guys seem wicked smart, and it's a bummer that we're living in an age where they probably can't/won't get away charging $200 or $300 per seat for this package. But with Eclipse, NetBeans, and Sun Java Studio Creator being free, and Microsoft's Empower prorgam giving away the farm (a.k.a. MSDN) for under $400 to legitimate startups, it's rough.

This NetBeans add-on is at the head of the pack. It's a really nice piece of work and clearly (read the changelogs) there's a ton of energy going into it. Nice work!

1 comment:

Jamie Flournoy said...

This looks really sweet. I'm just now getting my feet wet with Rails (after a 2 week hack fest in plain old Ruby) and I'm sure I'll get over my head and need some source navigation and debugging/breakpointing pretty soon. I'll definitely give this a try when that happens. Thanks for the heads up!