Thursday, May 05, 2011

I will release an OSX-focused IDE distribution

I plan on releasing a NetBeans-based IDE distribution. Just as there are a whole bunch of Linux distributions, I believe there should be more IDE distributions.

What I intend to focus on is OSX support since, although a lot of people use NetBeans on OSX, it always looked to me like it needs more polish.

Native OSX integration is one of the reasons I wrote the plugin, which shows IDE notifications via Growl. And there are other areas where NetBeans needs to pay more attention to the way it does things in order to be in tune with OSX.

I have many features in mind, but I'll leave you with just two low-level ones:

  • Drag and drop installer

    The IDE should be available as a simple dmg which users just open and then drag and drop the application wherever they feel like it. You shouldn't need administrator rights just to install the application.
  • Using proper OSX folders

    The ~/.netbeans folder will go away entirely. There are some standard places to store caches, preferences and everything else on OSX, usually in the Library folder. The IDE should be a proper citizen and store data there so that users and helper tools know what it represents, which is important and which may be discarded if disk space is becoming an issue.

Of course, one of the high-level features would be Growl notifications for IDE events.

So much for the first post talking about my IDE distribution. As I get closer to a release I might mention some of the other features.

When is it going to be released? Well, sometime this year, but in order to be certain let's say you should expect it in your Christmas stockings.

Why am I announcing it so early? Because I want to get some initial feedback about what people feel it's missing in their NetBeans IDE, either overall or specifically on OSX.

Also, this is as a way to commit myself to a release. So, feel free to bother me as we approach the release date.


Ryan de Laplante said...

Is the purpose of storing the .netbeans folder in the current user's home directory so that each user logged into the system will have their own copy of settings, caches, etc.?

One thing I noticed missing from NetBeans IDE on OSX is full screen mode.

Emilian Bold said...

Yes, ~/.netbeans stores settings and cache in all the operating systems. On OSX though it's a bit of the odd duck since there are particular places already defined in the system for settings and cache and we are not using them.

Full screen mode would be nice for Lion, indeed.