Eclipse vs. NetBeans

Linux For Christians - Sat, 03/21/2015 - 17:12

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything on any blog, and certainly a long time since my last entry here. My latest forays into coding, however, have left me somewhat disenchanted with even the most up-to-date distro’s offerings when it comes to IDE’s. Functionally, having the latest version isn’ explicitly necessary; but there are some programs that I use when I am in “Windows World” that I would love to use in “Linux Land,”, but the repository only has a much older version. Fortunately, being Linux, we are not restricted to using just what is in the repositories, but it does make things easier, and this is the trap that my mind often falls into. I want to be able to open up my package manager and tell it to install whatever program, and have the same version that I use under Windows.

So what does this have to do with NetBeans and Eclipse? Everything. Because I couldn’t get the most current version straight from the repository, my first instinct was to try other software, but no other IDE’s even came close to the flexibility and functionality available in Eclipse and NetBeans. As stated, both IDE’s are available through repositories on most distributions, but typically, the version available is about 2 iterations or more behind what you can download from the website. Fortunately, both have relatively uncomplicated setup procedures if you choose to do this, though Eclipse does require a little more manual labor to get it up and running, especially if you want a clickable shortcut in your menu. Despite the extra work, I still choose Eclipse over NetBeans.

NetBeans is a dream when coding in Java, and it has several plugins that allow it to adapt to other languages. The thing is, so does Eclipse. In fact, Eclipse actually has more. NetBeans has a built-in WYSIWYG GUI builder to help build Swing-based interfaces. So does Eclipse, and Eclipse’s builder works with other language modules as well. Eclipse also doesn’t keep you from manually editing any of the automatically generated code, whereas NetBeans produces portions of manually generated code that you can’t edit. Eclipse also integrates nicely with Android SDK, so you can write Android applications. To sum it up, Eclipse is every bit as functional as NetBeans and then some, so if you are going to take the time to go outside of your distro’s package manager to get a more up-to-date version of an IDE, Eclipse is definitely worth the trouble.