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Oracle is out with its first major open source IDE release of the year, updating NetBeans to version 7.1 The new NetBeans release builds on the Java SE 7 support first introduced in NetBeans 7.0 in April 2011.
A key focus of the NetBeans 7.1 release is enhanced support for developers building user interfaces with JavaFX 2.0, CSS 3 and Swing.
"For me, NetBeans 7.1 is all about the user's interface," Bill Pataky, vice president of Product Management for tools and frameworks, told InternetNews.com.
JavaFX 2.0 was released at the end of 2011, providing the first major update to Oracle's effort for building Rich Internet Applications with Java. JavaFX was initially announced by Sun back in 2007 and had been supported on NetBeans releases prior to version 7.0.
"NetBeans IDE 6.5 through 6.9.x included support for the JavaFX 1.x releases," Pataky said. "NetBeans IDE 7.0 did not include JavaFX support as it was the transition point for the IDE to embrace JavaFX 2.0."
On the CSS 3 side, Pataky said NetBeans now provides support for syntax coloring, and code completion.
"Basically it has everything you're going to need as a developer to write CSS 3 style sheets and implement web pages based on them," Pataky said.
For desktop development, Pataky noted that there have been enhancements made to the Matisse drag-and-drop component of NetBeans for Java Swing. Additionally, Pataky said there is a new debugger for both JavaFX and Swing.
"This is a debugger that allows folks to examine properties and do things that were difficult to do in the past," Pataky said. "It really makes debugging user interfaces much quicker and developer-friendly."
The NetBeans 7.1 release also supports recent Oracle server releases, including the WebLogic Server 12c that debuted in December of 2011. NetBeans is one of three Java IDEs that Oracle is committed too, including NetBeans, jDeveloper and the Oracle Enterprise Plugin for Eclipse. The NetBeans project was inherited by Oracle from Sun.
"The NetBeans mission is to ensure that there is world-class tooling available for the Java standard as quickly as possible," Pataky said. "It is for Java developers to support the Java standard."
Overall, Oracle is seeing an increase in adoption for NetBeans over the last two years from developers. Patkay said that the number of active NetBeans users now numbers over 1 million. "Oracle is completely committed to ensuring full support for NetBeans moving forward," Pataky said.