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A new Darcula theme based upon the Darcula Look and Feel for IntelliJ has been released as a plugin for NetBeans.

This new plugin can be installed via the NetBeans Tools | Plugins option so there is no need to manually download the plugin to install it.

After installing the plugin, NetBeans needs to be restarted. Probably the first thing you notice after installation is that the editor window still retains the existing NetBeans colour scheme. The can be changed to a dark look and feel, for example, by using the Norway Today profile. After specifying this profile, you can customize the colours used within the editor window exactly how you like them, whilst retaining a full dark look and feel.

I really like this plugin. There are still some issues with it, for example the --fontsize NetBeans parameter doesn't work with it, however that doesn't detract from the use of the plugin which I now enable on all my NetBeans installations.

I’m proud that Packt Publishing have announced my latest book – NetBeans IDE 8 Cookbook.

We’re expecting that the book will be available in November this year, however you can now make pre-orders for the book in either print or e-book format.

The book is an easy-to-follow, recipe-based guide to using NetBeans for Java development. Each recipe is designed to help you maximize your producitvity while using NetBeans. Tips provide real-world advice in conjunction with the recipes’ explanations.

For more information on the book, check out Packt’s details page.

There’s a lot of debate at the moment on the merits of GUI builders, in particular Matisse – the new GUI builder for NetBeans.

I’ve heard people suggest that GUI builders shouldn’t be used and all user interfaces should be manually coded. I don’t really subscribe to this line of thought. I can’t imagine that any serious GUI is completely manually coded nowadays – thats the sort of think I used to do in the mid-90s developing Windows 3.1 software. Surely things have moved on a lot since then?

When you’re considering GUI builders, I believe you have to think about how the “other side” (i.e. Microsoft) do things. It's impossible to deny that Visual Studio allows users to create fantastic looking GUIs in a fraction of the time that it takes to develop a similar Swing GUI. I’m not saying that you can’t develop professional looking GUIs in Swing (just take a look at IntelliJ IDEA for example), but that they take a lot longer to develop in Swing. I for one, am looking forward to Matisse. I think that Java is lacking in GUI support as compared to Visual Studio and completely welcome products like Matisse.

NetBeans 4.1 has built in support for Sun App Server and Tomcat 5.5. There is also a Server Plugins project for NB that adds support for JBoss 4, WebLogic 9 and WebSphere 6. The server plugins project is currently classified as experimental.

Currently the only way to try these plugins is to build NB and the required plugins – you can only download the source for them at the moment. Downloading and building is a easy process, albeit rather lengthy. Full details are given on the server plugins home page, but basically to download from CVS and build on Windows you need to do the following.

rem Create a directory to store and build NB in.
mkdir netbeans
cd netbeans

rem Setup CVS
set CVSROOT=:pserver:anoncvs@cvs.netbeans.org:/cvs

rem login to CVS - no password required.
cvs login

rem download NB relase 4.1 source
cvs -z 6 co -r release41 -P stable

rem download server plugins source
cvs -z 6 co -P serverplugins

rem build NB
cd nbbuild
ant

rem build JBoss plugin
rem change into the weblogic9 or websphere6 directories
rem and run ant to build these plugins.
cd ../serverplugins/jboss4
ant

Once this is all done, there should be a netbeans/bin directory from which you can run the freshly build NB with the new server modules.

Starting up NB and selecting Tools – Server Manager allows you to now add a server instance for JBoss, WebLogic or WebSphere.

I tried building the JBoss 4 plugin and it integrated correctly with my JBoss 4.0.2 installation. I was able to create an enterprise app from within NB and deploy and run it successfully to JBoss 4 – all from within NB.

I’ve just installed the NetBeans module that allows me to access my Subversion repositories from within NB 4.1.

Installing is a painless process.

  1. Browse to the NetBeans Generic VCS Module page and download the relevant module (currently Subversion 1.1.5 and 1.1.6 available).
  2. Select “Update Center” from the “Tools” menu in NB.
  3. Choose to install a manually downloaded module rather than contact the update center
  4. Select the file you have just downloaded and complete the Wizard.

Once you have done this, NetBeans will install the module and you can start using Subversion. (NetBeans 4.0 seems to need a restart at this stage, but 4.1 doesn’t).

Once you’ve got support added, click on `Versioning -> Versioning Manager` and add a Subversion working directory to the list noting to specify the correct parameters for the Subversion repository.

You should now have support for the SVN commands from within the Projects tab in NB.